Bahamas Prime Minister Travels To Atlanta Georgia to Open Consulate Office

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Office will service ten Southern states including Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee

The Atlanta-based Bahamas Consulate General Office is officially open for business. With the Right Honorable Hubert A. Ingraham and other diplomats and dignitaries, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the Clairmont Road offices in Dekalb County, Georgia August 20. Later that evening the Bahamas Government hosted a private reception at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce's JB Fuqua Rooftop Pavilion that was co-sponsored by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Vulcan Materials Company and Delta Air Lines. A performance in Centennial Olympic Park by the world-famous Royal Bahamas Police Force Marching Band and Grand Bahama Youth Choir highlighted the festivities.

Serving his second non consecutive term in office as Prime Minister of the Bahamas, The Right Honorable Hubert Alexander Ingraham and other dignitaries who traveled from the Bahamas and the new Consul General in Atlanta Katherine Smith, made it official that the new office established here June1 is open for business.

Greg Pridgeon, Chief of Staff, City of Atlanta brought greetings on behalf of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin; Matt Arbuckle, General Manager, Freeport Aggregate representing Vulcan Materials Company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama represented his group. Jorge Fernandez, vice president of global commerce for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce gave remarks on behalf of Chamber president Sam Williams.

The reception program was moderated by Cornelius A. Smith, The Bahamas Ambassador to the United States who is based in Washington, D.C. Also in attendance was Carl Smith, Bahamas Consul General New York, Gladys Sands, Bahamas Consul General Miami, Bahamas Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes, former Bahamas Honorary Consul General Michael Young and Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, along with members of the diplomatic corp serving in the state of Georgia and representatives from various businesses in the Atlanta Metro area.

Atlanta was selected for a Consulate office in response to the growing demand for services by Bahamian residents in the greater Atlanta area and by businesses in the southeastern United States with interests in expanding trade and investment in the Bahamas.

Ten southern states will come within the jurisdiction of the Atlanta office including Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

"I am very pleased to join you to mark the official opening of our first Bahamian career Consulate General in Atlanta, the capital city of Georgia and a major business, cultural and education center for the southeastern United States," said Prime Minister Ingraham. "The relationship between the Bahamas and the United States is long-standing and wide, touching on virtually every aspect of life-familial, education, business, trade and culture," he added.

He noted that Atlanta is home to a number of colleges and technical schools that have attracted Bahamians over the years and home to the largest Fortune 500 and Fortune 1,000 companies in the southeast saying, "This is a vibrant, growing economic center with tremendous potential for us to develop significant and mutually rewarding relationships,"

The Prime Minister said although tourism is the Bahamas's principal business with 8 out of 10 visitors coming from the U.S. and Atlanta based Delta Air Lines has been flying there for the past 35 years, he said trade business is also an attraction as the island is also home to harbors, modern, efficient container transshipment ports and a major ship care and repair facility. "Opportunities for expanded trade and investment with this consular jurisdiction are ripe for exploration," he said

Prior to her appointment as Consul General, Katherine B. Smith served as Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and as a member of the Senate. She is supported in the Atlanta office by Consul Sandra Carey, a career foreign service officer who has served in the Consulate General in New York, and Miami. There is a staff of six at the Atlanta office.

"This office will focus our attention in a very tangible way on business and economic development" said Consul General Smith.

The office will also provide consular services; passport and visas and other services to Bahamians in the jurisdiction. The Consulate will also begin a very aggressive program to encourage Bahamian residents in Atlanta and other jurisdictions as well as students attending colleges and universities to register with the Consulate office.

The Bahamas Consulate General Atlanta Office is located at 2970 Clairmont Rd, NE, Suite 690, Park Central Building, Atlanta, GA 30329. 404 214-0492.

Media Contact: Diane Larche', Larche' Communications LLC, 404 273-3227, diane(at)larchecommunications.com

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