“We need embassies in those countries and we need them now,” Engel said last month referring to Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“It makes no sense for us to continue to conduct diplomacy on these islands from our embassy in Barbados.
“They say you cannot conduct diplomacy from a bunker; it’s also true that you can’t conduct diplomacy from hundreds of miles away,” he added.
“How do our diplomats get to know the key officials? How can they judge what’s happening on the ground? The answer is: We need to have an embassy or consulate in each country.”
“And on the issue of funding, I am not talking about multimillion dollar embassy compounds,” Engel said.
“I recognize the need to ensure the United States gets the most bang for our buck in establishing new embassies in the Caribbean.
“So do you know that even Venezuela and Cuba have embassies on each of these five islands, and yet the United States has no presence? And to me, that’s deeply disturbing.
“… Our glaring absence in the Eastern Caribbean does a real disservice to our country and to our friends in the region.”
Engel said he plans to continue to push the U.S. State Department to expand America’s diplomatic presence in the Eastern Caribbean as soon as possible.