Remarks: Consular Appreciation Reception

Good evening.  Protocol having been established, it is a pleasure to be with you this evening.  I would like to take just a minute to say a few words on why we have invited each of you here tonight.

The primary mission of any U.S. Embassy around the world is to promote the safety and welfare of U.S. citizens.  We also are here to facilitate the legitimate travel of foreign nationals to the United States, and to represent the best of America by providing prompt, courteous, and professional service to all customers.

With over five million U.S. visitors to The Bahamas each year and visa applicants from over 100 different countries, that mission is of even greater intensity here and requires the Embassy to dedicate significant resources.  While the Embassy devotes a large amount of time and effort to both U.S. citizen and visa services, our efforts would be in vain without the support of all of you here tonight.  I want to thank you for your hard work and cooperation with the U.S. Embassy.

Our consular services depend directly on the assistance of key partners.  Without your support, we could not help sick and injured Americans receive urgent medical care and return home safely.  We could not assist vulnerable victims of crime so that they feel safe and have the opportunity to seek justice.  We could not efficiently adjudicate visas and help facilitate the travel of Bahamians to the United States.  As we strive every day to improve our services to both American citizens and to each visa applicant who comes to the embassy, we remain grateful for our partnership and the assistance all of you continue to provide.

I am proud of the work our Consular Section does each day.  They are the public face of American diplomacy and they work hard to provide a high level of service to all customers, from Americans citizens in emergency situations to Bahamian visa applicants.  That high level of service is in large part due to the hard work and dedication of all of you here tonight.  We cannot thank you enough.

There are two individuals in particular we want to recognize this year for their strong dedication to assisting American citizens.

This year, we want to recognize Dr. Christina Thompson for the efforts she extends to immigrant visa applicants who come to her for their medical exam.  Dr. Thompson, could you please come forward?

Dr. Thompson regularly goes the extra mile to make sure that immigrant visa applicants go through the medical exam process as smoothly as possible, even calling applicants to remind them to follow through on necessary requirements so that they do not delay the process.  Her continued diligence helps the consular section process immigrant visa applicants in a timely manner.

On behalf of the U.S. Embassy, I present this Certificate of Appreciation to Dr. Christina Thompson.

Our second certificate of appreciation is for Mr. Kendal Rahming, a Deportation Officer at The Bahamas Department of Immigration, who, unfortunately, could not be with us here tonight

Mr. Rahming has provided excellent service to detained U.S. citizens, ensuring that they can access funds sent by their family and friends in the United States so that they can pay their court fines.  He has also assisted in transporting these citizens to the airport for timely departure.

Please join me in another round of applause for our two honorees.

Thank you again for joining us as we celebrate our partnership with each one of you.

Please enjoy the rest of the evening.