AID Bank Chairman Charles, Manager Corbett and other officials at the GM
AID Bank Chairman Charles, Manager Corbett and other officials at the GM

Insurance agency manager Martin Charles has been appointed Resident Ambassador to the People's Republic of China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced.

In a press release issued last week the ministry said the Government has appointed Charles "in its quest to fully establish a diplomatic presence in China and further develop the excellent bilateral relations that exist between the two countries".

In August 2017, the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) called on Government to appoint a Dominican resident to the post of ambassador to China. The call followed a visit to Chana by members of the opposition.

"We urge the government to immediately appoint a suitably qualified and competent Dominican national who did not purchase his/her citizenship, to serve as Dominica's Resident Ambassador to China and thereby restore the integrity of government's faith in the importance of diplomatic relations with Beijing," said Leader of the Opposition Lennox Linton at a press conference held at the Prevo Cinemol on 21st August 2017.

The last Dominican resident ambassador to China, David Hsiu, left office in 2009; Hsiu was appointed ambassador in 2004 after Dominica established diplomatic relations with China following the Skerrit Administration's adoption of Beijing's One China Policy. Since Hsiu left almost a decade ago, government has not replaced him despite excellent relations between China and Dominica.

Linton said at the press conference that he believes having a "Resident Ambassador to China" can be seen as the "right thing to do."

"Going forward in terms of our students' representation up there, our country, the agreement that we have with China, it would be very critical for us to have an ambassador up there…We have in excess of a hundred students up there, if they have any concerns, who are they going to turn to?…," added Hector Spags John, the parliamentary Representative for Salisbury and a member of the UWP.

The release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Chinese government has agreed to Charles' appointment and "he will formally commence his duties as Ambassador of Dominica following the presentation of his credentials to the Head of State of the People's Republic of China".

The release added: "From 2004 the two countries have enjoyed a meaningful partnership promoting mutual cooperation, at the level of both bilateral and multilateral relations. This has been significantly beneficial to the Commonwealth of Dominica in a variety of sectors including human resource development, health, agriculture, disaster relief and development of infrastructure.

"A number of technical and economic cooperation projects funded by the Government of the People's Republic of China have been implemented or are ongoing in Dominica since the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Charles is a qualified Life Underwriter and presently the Agency Manager for CLICO Life Insurance Company; he is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Agricultural Industrial Bank (AID Bank) of Dominica and Trade Investment Commissioner for Dominica.