La Celia A. Prince was appointed ambassador to the U.S. from The small (population 120,000) Caribbean nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on May 30, 2008. She is the youngest ambassador to the United States from any nation.
Born in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in 1977, Prince grew up in the rural town of Mesopotamia before moving to the Kingstown suburb of Belvedere. She earned a law degree (LLB) with honors in1999 from the University of the West Indies in Barbados and obtained her legal education certificate from the Sir Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad, qualifying as a lawyer in 2001. Later that year, she enrolled as a barrister-at-law and solicitor at the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and at the Supreme Court of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
Prince practiced law for about a year in St. Vincent and the Grenadines before starting her Masters Studies in Law at Cambridge University in 2002. In 2003, pursuant to a fellowship in multilateral trade negotiations, Prince was assigned to the CARICOM delegation at the Secretariat of the Free Trade Area of the Americas in Puebla, Mexico, followed by a brief stint at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. After this assignment she worked at the Secretariat of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States in Brussels, Belgium, on matters pertaining to multilateral trade and development, and then as a consultant with the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery, where she focused exclusively on CARICOM-EU trade and development partnership.
Ironically for someone who has become the youngest ambassador in the Washington diplomatic corps, Prince at first turned down her country’s offer of a diplomatic posting in Washington because she was “neither keen on working in diplomacy nor going [to] the US,” although she did accept the assignment on the condition her that tour would be limited to two years. Thus Prince arrived in Washington, DC, in September 2005, to serve as deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and alternate representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), working on bilateral agreements between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and partners in Latin America, as well as actively participating as a delegate of her government in various multilateral trade forums. She was promoted to permanent representative to the OAS in May 2008.
Prince even resisted appointment as ambassador in 2008, and took the assignment only when Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves convinced her it would be “unpatriotic” not to serve as ambassador. She believes one of her primary roles as ambassador is to promote investment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
In addition to English, Prince speaks French and Spanish.