The Brooklyn-based Independent United Order of Mechanics (IUOM), Friendly Society of North, Central & South America, Islands of the Seas and the Entire Western Hemisphere, Inc. recently bid farewell to outgoing St. Vincent and the Grenadines Consul General to the United States, Howie Prince.
“I would like to extend our deepest gratitude to you for the outstanding relationship exhibited with your office and our organization during your tenure as Consul General,” IUOM’s Executive Grand Deputy Master, Glenver Jones, speaking on behalf of Most Worshipful Grand Master Errol G. Collins, told a reception for Prince at IUOM’s headquarters on 65-67 Putnam Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
“Now that you are about to take your departure from the office, we wish you God’s grace, and hope you will communicate to your replacement the relationship your office and our organization has, so that it can continue,” Jones added. “We pray that our Heavenly Father will continue to bless you with good health, so that you will enjoy your new endeavor.”
Among other members of the Executive Committee of IUOM’s Grand Council who attended the reception were: Executive Grand Secretary Cecilio Leacock; Executive Grand Treasurer Casper Edwards; Executive Grand Trustee Ricardo Hazlewood; Executive Grand Tyler Francisco Bethune, Sr.; and Community Liaison, Hyacinth Robinson-Goldson.
Vincentian-born Edwards presented a plaque to Prince on behalf Most Worshipful Grand Master Collins.
Prince expressed profound gratitude to the IUOM, stating that the relationship they developed, over the years, was “a pleasant one.”
“I enjoyed your friendship, your camaraderie, your genuineness, and the fact that you see fit to put on this dinner just in my honor speaks volume,” he told the reception. “I’m very appreciative, and I’m not going to forget you. As I go into the twilight, so to speak, I’ll remember you.”
Prince’s relationship with the IUOM dates back to 2018, when he was invited by then Most Worshipful Grand Master, Walter L. Benjamin to be the guest speaker at the annual luncheon at Sereco’s Catering Hall in Brooklyn.
“Your motto speaks of friendship, truth and love to all mankind. So, as outsiders, we can appreciate that, above all, you strive to be your brothers’ keeper,” said Prince at the time, speaking on the topic, “The Impact of Fraternities on Society.”
“Prudence, benevolence and a sense of fair play demand that you extend yourself in a more visible and efficacious way to others around you in the society in which you live,” he added.
“Far too often, we look far and wide to do good and to receive good, when, what we should be doing is to interface and interact, and be Good Samaritans to the people in our neighborhoods and country,” Prince continued. “W.E.B. Dubois is saying to us all, smartly so, to ‘set our buckets down where we are.’”
In 2019, IUOM’s leadership changed at the International Triennial Convention in Panama, when Collins replaced Benjamin.
“However, the relationship forged between the (St. Vincent and the Grenadines New York) Consulate and the organization continued to remain strong,” Robinson-Goldson told Caribbean Life, noting that IUOM contributed monetarily to St. Vincent and the Grenadines volcanic relief, by handing over a check to Prince, after the explosive eruptions of La Soufriere Volcano in 2020.
Robinson-Goldson described Prince as a “people person”, adding: “This has been a pleasant encounter, and I wish him well in his retirement.”
Prince recently confirmed his recall to Kingstown, the Vincentian capital, in an official letter circulated to “colleagues”.
He, subsequently, told Caribbean Life that the Government of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves did not give him any reason or reasons for his return to Kingstown.
“I was not given any reason for my recall,” said Prince, who served almost six years as Consul General to the US. “Cabinet has the authority to appoint and recall.”
He disclosed that he was on an annual contract that was renewed at the end of May and that, this year, the government sent him a notice in late May that he will be on a “month-by-month until further notice.”
“On 24th June, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent notice that the government will recall me, and Jul. 31 will be my last day,” Prince said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve. Retirement is what I proceed to do. I turned 60 on May 21. Time to move on.”
In his official letter, circulated widely to “colleagues” in the Diaspora and also dispatched to Caribbean Life, Prince said that the administration has replaced him with popular soca artiste Rodney “Luta” McIntosh, who has no apparent diplomatic or civil service experience.
“The word is out, so let me confirm that the Government of SVG (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) has recalled my appointment as St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Consul General to the USA and has appointed Mr. Rodney ‘Luta’ McIntosh as my replacement as Consul General,” said Prince, stating that his last day in office is Jul. 31.
“This essentially signals my full retirement from the Public Service after 44 years of unbroken service, except for two and a half years (2010 – 2012 on secondment), working for the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) in Trinidad and Tobago as Disaster Risk Reduction Specialist for Latin America and the Caribbean,” he added.