Julia Brown appointed 1st Honorary Consul for Jamaica in St. Maarten

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Honorary Consul for Jamaica in St. Maarten Julia Brown.

 

Source: The Daily Herald

PHILIPSBURG — Jamaican nationals living in St. Maarten can now submit their applications for certain documents from their homeland without having to board a plane and get documents such as emergency travel documents and visas right here in the country thanks to the appointment of the first Honorary Consul for Jamaica in St. Maarten.

Julia Brown, the Managing Director of Rapid Caribe Links and former TV Carib news reporter, anchor and producer, was appointed as the first consul on January 8.

As Consul, Brown will be responsible for processing consular documents such as issuing emergency travel documents and visas, certifying and transmitting applications for passports and supporting documentation as well as authenticating and legalizing documents.

Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Brown came to St. Maarten in 1997 and officially settled in 1999 right after completing her university studies. 

Asked by “The Daily Herald” how she came about securing this position, Brown explained that she was asked if she was interested in the Honorary Consul post since 2013 by the First Secretary at the Jamaica High Commission in Trinidad. This was as a result of her assisting persons to obtain and renew passports and citizenship for Jamaica. “I was toying with the gesture for a while, since I was just starting a new business (Rapid Caribe Links) and was working at the local TV Station (WTN) at that time. I had forgotten about it, until about September 2019, I had submitted my application for the position and this was a very time-consuming process, as the Netherlands and Jamaica had to do various background checks on me. The process even took longer due to the COVID pandemic, during that year 2020, I had to do an interview with the Foreign Affairs Department in Jamaica via an online platform,” Brown said.

She accepted the position to be able to help her people amongst other things. “I accepted the position finally because I was fully aware of doing most of the documents needed by the Jamaican authorities and also I had more time to commit myself fully to the responsibilities of being an Honorary Consul and most importantly I wanted to assist where possible, in ensuring that the Jamaican Diaspora is being properly served and their voices are heard,” she said.

Asked what being the first Honorary Consul in St. Maarten means for the Jamaican population in St. Maarten, she said: “This will mean that the Jamaican Diaspora on St. Maarten will have access to the Jamaican authorities through the local Jamaican Consulate for advice, death of a loved one that has to have their remains sent to Jamaica. Emergency passport to be processed within a reasonable time frame. Children born on St. Maarten can have their Citizenship and passport done at the Consulate, these are just some of the services that would make the life of the Jamaican Diaspora more accessible and convenient.

Other services that will be provided by the Consul will include promoting commercial, economic, cultural, scientific and tourism opportunities for Jamaica in St. Maarten; liaise with official/state entities in St. Maarten on behalf of Jamaica, in facilitating meetings for Jamaican officials with key decision makers and influencers in St. Maarten; providing support and advice to Jamaican Nationals in case of accident, serious illness or death or in the event of natural disasters or emergencies arising from man-made acts; provide support and extend courtesies, including airport courtesies to official delegations from Jamaica or Head of Mission on official business; represent the interest of the Government of Jamaica as required in St. Maarten such as at official state events and advising the Superintendent of The Jamaica High Commission of important political, economic or social development in St. Maarten that are of interest to Jamaica, amongst others.

Asked about her plans to improve the position of the Jamaican Diaspora in St. Maarten as the first Honorary Consul on St. Maarten, Brown said: “Firstly, I would like to establish a proper legal Jamaican Foundation on St. Maarten with strong minded and hard-working Jamaicans on the board to execute various functions, such as our Independence Day celebration which is in August and other local events and parades on St. Maarten.”

She continued: “I would love to have a proper database of all Jamaicans on the island, as well as having Jamaican businesses register on the portal, so we can also use the various services that Jamaicans provide. Establish key relationships with local authorities to ensure that Jamaican are fairly treated. These are just some of the projects that are in the pipeline as Honorary Consul.”

She is currently planning to have an official opening of the Jamaican Consulate on July 11, when the flag and sign will be established.

The Consul is presently located at 33 Welgelegen Road, Unit D, Cay Hill, next to Dr. Swanson’s clinic and Cool Tec Air Conditioning. The Consul can be reached at phone: +1721-542-1139 and email: jamaicaconsulsxm@gmail.com