World April 13, 2023 | 8:19 am

Consular Corps swears in new board of directors

The Consular Corps in the Dominican Republic (CC), consisting of representatives from countries with diplomatic relations in the country, recently held its annual and electoral assembly to select a new council. The newly elected council, headed by Fernando González Nicolás, the honorary consul of Malaysia in the Dominican Republic, will lead the organization from 2023 to 2025. At the ceremony held at the Consulate of the Czech Republic, Anacaona Avenue, González Nicolás acknowledged the pivotal role accredited consuls play in attracting investments and trade opportunities for their respective countries. He emphasized that consuls are instrumental in providing insights into the economic, political, social, and cultural aspects of their nations.

The newly appointed council members include Ricardo Koenig (Antigua and Barbuda), vice dean; Norman de Castro (South Africa), secretary; Gustavo Vega (Poland), vice-secretary; María José Turull (Thailand), treasurer, and Emilio Hasbún (Barbados), vice treasurer. Additionally, Juan Barceló Salas (Belarus), Arturo Villanueva (Romania), Tomás González (Kazakhstan), Collin Holdich (Canada), Raíza Rodríguez (Paraguay), Paulo Alves (Portugal), and Margarita de los Santos (Malta) are serving as members of the council. Joan González (Malta), Tácito Cordero (Brazil), and Sixto Inchaustegui (Montenegro) are also serving as liaisons and directors of international relations, respectively. Maireni Bournigal (Norway), Marcos Rivera (Bolívar), and Muriel Alfonseca (Sri Lanka) are advising the council.

Fernando González Nicolás has served as the consul of several countries, including Malaysia since 2015, India, and vice consul of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In 1996, he received the honor of Member of the British Empire (MBE) from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Head of the Commonwealth.

The CC was established on December 9, 1952, through a constitutive assembly by consuls or those in charge of consular affairs, including José Luis Cossio (Peru), Ramón Martínez Hernández (Norway), Alfredo Pérez Castillo (Venezuela), and Pedro Buñol Garrido (Nicaragua). The CC’s objective is to reinforce and strengthen the relationship between the government, its authorities, and the Consular Corps.

Consuls, as representatives of their countries, carry out various functions, including political duties, information dissemination, customs, notarial and political registry. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Relations, or Foreign Affairs typically instructs the consul to assist its citizens of the country of origin in various official tasks, including processing and legalization, guidance for judicial defenses, if necessary, powers, proof of life, certificates accrediting nationality, granting and renewal of passports, and processing national identity documents from their country. Some consular functions also include notarial tasks, and their signature is equivalent to that of a notary, and can even serve as a sworn translator. The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 governs the exercise of such functions.

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