by Linda Straker
- Honorary Consuls or Trade Consuls do not have same level of immunity as ambassadors
- Honorary Consuls conduct diplomacy free of cost to Government of Grenada
- Grenada is not violating any section of the Vienna Convention on Trade and Diplomacy
Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter David, has explained that Grenada as a small developing state is not engaging in any international misconduct when it appoints citizens to be honorary consuls or trade consuls to represent the island in places where there are no embassies.
Explaining that it’s difficult for the country to operate embassies throughout the world, David in an interview on Friday, said that there are two kinds of diplomat, and those who are appointed as Honorary Consul or Trade Consul do not have the same level of immunity as ambassadors.
“We will appoint someone as Honorary Consul where it does not cost anything to the Government of Grenada and what they do is conduct diplomacy free of cost to us, but in order to conduct that diplomacy they must have a diplomatic passport and some diplomatic position, but that does not guarantee immunity,” David said, pointing out that the Honorary Consul does not get immunity.
“So the issuance of diplomatic passports to honorary consuls, to trade consuls, to all of these persons has nothing to do with the Citizenship By Investment programme (CBI) and it has nothing to do with the government’s sale of anything. It is a matter of them conducting our diplomacy in a way that allows us access to as many countries in the world as possible.” The minister pointed out that a person who gained citizenship through the CBI can be considered for a diplomatic post. “That appointment is not on the base of the CBI programme but on the fact that the person is a citizen of this country and is willing to represent us,” he said, explaining that all persons who become a citizen through the various means available, can represent the country following the necessary due diligence.
A person can gain citizenship through the naturalisation process of up to second and third generations in accordance with the Immigration Act, or purchase it through the CBI programme. The CBI programme provides for an approved applicant to invest in real estate in a country or make the required contribution to the National Transformation Fund.
“So, we have representatives in these countries who are Grenadian citizens regardless of how they acquired the citizenship, but there is no link between CBI and diplomacy,” he said. Minister David is of the belief after research, that the country is not violating any section of the Vienna Convention on Trade and Diplomacy. “We do not believe that we are violating any Vienna convention. Our research does not suggest that the Vienna convention is violated.”
The Vienna Convention on Trade says that consular officers and consular employees have “functional immunity” but do not enjoy the broader “personal immunity” accorded to diplomats as provided for in the Vienna Convention on Diplomacy.