Stay tuned, there may be more to this story. . . . like Mr. — excuse, Counsel General — Axelrod really donated the manse to St. Kitts-Nevis . . . well, stay tuned, anyway. . . .
—– Forwarded Message —-Sent: Sun, June 27, 2010 5:40:09 AM
Subject: COUSIN IN VANCOUVER SENT ME THIS NEW INFO / The SKN Federation is broke and they spend 28 million on this!Successful businessman enjoys position with St. Kitts and NevisBy Grania Litwin, Canwest News Service
Christopher Columbus discovered the sunny Caribbean islands of St. Kitts and Nevis in 1493. Todd Axelrod first laid eyes on them five centuries later and immediately fell in love. He has returned about 40 times since 1992, and became a citizen of the country when offered the post of consul-general and special envoy to the prime minister in 2008. “I went on holiday, met some wonderful people and it was instant chemistry,” said the New York-born businessman, who moved to Victoria 10 years ago.
Axelrod, who now spends part of the year in Victoria and part in the Caribbean, is the most senior diplomat on Vancouver Island. While many nations have consulates in larger cities, the consulate of St. Kitts and Nevis is the only such institution in Victoria. St. Kitts and Nevis is a two-island nation in the Caribbean, about 2,500 kilometres from Miami and due east of Jamaica. Previously a British protectorate, it became a sovereign nation 26 years ago and has a population of 50,000.
Axelrod, 60, uses his own home in Uplands as the nation’s consulate. “I’m a dollar-a-year man and very privileged to represent this country,” said the businessman, who made his fortune on Wall Street before moving to Canada. His role as consul-general is to help raise the profile of St. Kitts and Nevis in Canada, particularly in the western half of the country. Although the islands’ tropical climate and rich history are relatively well-known in central Canada, they are lower on the radar in the west.
Axelrod, a lifelong entrepreneur, will also play a role in stimulating business between Canada and St. Kitts and Nevis. “My function is to help evaluate business plans, see if they have merit, find out how we can fast-track ideas, open doors. I might see a need and identify a person in Canada who can bring something to the country,” he said. “Most of all I analyze opportunities. I think Victoria and St. Kitts and Nevis should become sister resort destinations — and they’re all islands.”
Axelrod has been asked by the government of St. Kitts and Nevis to help develop a historical tourism plan. Small wonder, considering he is a renowned antiquarian, with the largest private collection of historical documents, autographs and manuscripts for sale in the world. His company, Gallery of History Inc., carries an inventory of about 190,000 documents, signed by everyone from U.S. presidents and Nobel Prize winners to explorers and other famous figures — including Beethoven, Jesse James and Einstein.
Axelrod is passionate about history. “And we have a rich history in St. Kitts and Nevis. Everybody took a shot at owning us, including many pirates,” said Axelrod, who was on the board of the National Museum of American History, part of the Smithsonian Institution, for eight years. “I’m trying to create a critical mass for historical tourism. We already have great forts and some great museums, but we have to give people more reasons to visit, especially if they are going to take three or four days just coming and going from the West Coast.”
He said the islands are an easy jaunt from Toronto, but a long trek from Victoria.
It’s worth the journey, he says, citing the islands’ natural beauty and lively arts scene, which features such contemporary artists as Kate Spencer, Robert Humphreys and Marvin Chapman. “[The islands are] full of charm — like the Caribbean was 100 years ago, with wonderful arts and crafts.” The golfing is also excellent, he said, and the Four Seasons Hotel, considered among the top two or three resorts in the world, reopens in December after being closed for two years after hurricane Omar hit the islands.
Axelrod is so enamoured with the small nation he relinquished his U.S. citizenship to become consul-general. “I’m not a longtime diplomat, so I’m still learning. But this is a chance to make a difference.” He said he is inspired by the country’s prime minister, Denzil Llewellyn Douglas, who is also minister of finance, information, technology and sustainable development, sports and culture.= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =