The role and function of the High Commission
The Bahamas High Commission, London is a multifunctional diplomatic mission, with numerous concurrent bilateral and multilateral accreditations. The Mission functions as High Commission of The Bahamas in the United Kingdom as well as Embassy of The Bahamas to Belgium, France, Germany and Italy, in the absence of a resident diplomatic presence for The Bahamas in mainland Europe. The Mission therefore has responsibility for representing The Bahamas in its bilateral relations with each of these countries. The Mission's role and functions are exercised in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, respectively.
The Mission is also accredited to the European Union, headquartered in Brussels; the Commonwealth Secretariat, headquartered in London; and the Bureau of International Expositions, headquartered in Paris. The Mission also serves as focal point for matters relating to the World Trade Organisation headquartered in Geneva; and the International Organisation for Migration, headquartered in Geneva. The High Commission is also charged with maintaining a watching brief on the activities of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] and the Financial Action Task Force [FATF], particularly with reference to their activities on so-called 'harmful tax competition', and other activities that could have an impact on the financial services sector in The Bahamas.
The Mission also functions as Permanent Mission of The Bahamas to the International Maritime Organisation. In this capacity, the High Commissioner/Permanent Representative coordinates the representation of The Bahamas at all IMO meetings, including the Assembly, the Council and the various substantive and technical committees that carry out the IMO's work. The Permanent Representative has also coordinated The Bahamas' successful election campaigns for continuing membership on the IMO Council since 1999. The Bahamas has taken a lead role at the IMO in recent discussions with respect to possible reforms to ensure the proper distribution both of major maritime stakeholders and geographical regions in the Council.
The Mission also performs a number of consular functions, including the processing of visa applications for persons resident in the United Kingdom and Europe wishing to visit The Bahamas; passport issuances and renewals; notarial services; and issues relating to the welfare of Bahamian nationals resident, visiting or studying in the United Kingdom or Europe.
A list of all Bahamian Overseas Missions may be downloaded here.
Related sites include:
Permanent Mission of the Bahamas to the United Nations, New York
Embassy of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Beijing, China
Bahamas High Commission, Ottawa, Canada
Bahamas Consulate General, Atlanta