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Vince Henderson
Vince Henderson

In the game of diplomatic musical chairs, Dominica's point man at the United Nations in New York is moving to Washington.

Following last week's confirmation by Hubert Charles, the ambassador to the United States and permanent representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), that his tour of duty will expire at the end of this month, one person closely linked to the ministry of foreign affairs has told The Sun that the permanent representative to the United Nations Vince Henderson will make the approximately 230 mile journey from New York to become Charles' replacement.

"I can confirm to you that he [Henderson] is leaving [and will be] in Washington," the official said.

Henderson, a former minister of foreign affairs, refused to comment when he was contacted by The Sun last week, however, his transfer was all but confirmed when The Sun was told he was "in a holding pattern".

One foreign affairs expert told The Sun posting Henderson in the United States capital makes sense since he brings to the position his experience as a minister of foreign affairs and the representative to the UN.

However, the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of his current position, said the move will be beneficial to Dominica only if the ambassador adopts a new work ethic.

"The question is, will he do any work because he did not do (much) work in New York. The guy's voting record was abysmal," the expert told The Sun. "That was a travesty that he did not own up to the responsibility of being the full-time ambassador to the United Nations. I hope he goes to work for the Dominican people this time. They are the ones paying his salary. He must be mindful of that."

According to the person who has been intimately involved in the ministry of foreign affairs for many years, Henderson will be proud of the work he has done as the chairman of SIDS DOCK, a sustainable energy initiative for 31 small island developing states. However, he said Dominica has little to nothing to show for this effort and he recommended that Henderson takes advantage of the opportunities that Washington presents, including the United States government's interest in funding renewable energy projects in the Caribbean.

"In Washington it's more complex and different from the UN. You now have access to the 50 states of the union. You are in a position to be a broker for business investment and partnerships, building a relationship on Capitol Hill, and then building relationships with key congress leaders.

"The US wants to support renewable energy in the Caribbean and that is one area he can work hard to get the support of the US [for Dominica's geothermal] project."

Asked whether transferring Henderson from the global organization to which he has been the permanent representative since March 2010 to Washington was a demotion, the foreign affairs expert did not think so.

"No. I think it's actually a promotion. It is actually more prestigious because you are ambassador to the most powerful country in the world," he said.

"Plus he has the second arm as the OAS so he can continue his international work. So I think it is a plump job."


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