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SVG assumes chair of OAS Permanent Council

SVG assumes chair of OAS Permanent Council

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The Permanent Representative of St Vincent and the Grenadines to the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador La Celia A Prince, on Wednesday, October 1 assumed the Chair of the Permanent Council for the next three months, a period during which the Council will discuss{{more}} issues related to the budget of the organization, the election process for the new Secretary General, and the new agenda of the institution.

During the event, attended by the Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, the Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin, and several representatives of Member States, the outgoing Chair and Permanent Representative of St Lucia, Sonia Johnny, reviewed her tenure and mentioned some of the challenges that were “successfully faced” during the quarter. Among them she cited the two special sessions of the General Assembly of September 12 on the “Strategic Vision” and September 19 on drug policy; the protocolary visits of the Presidents of Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras; the issue of migrant children from Central America; and the elections in Haiti, among others. In passing the gavel, Ambassador Johnny highlighted the merits of the representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and her extensive knowledge of the region and the institution.

Upon receiving the gavel that represents the authority of the Council, Ambassador Prince said that she accepts this responsibility with “tremendous honour and pride.” “We are happy to be entrusted with this role and we are fully cognizant of the current challenges and opportunities that lay ahead of us,” she said, and expressed her desire to do a job in which there is a balance of the needs and interests of all member states. She further added that assuming the Chair of the Council “symbolizes the role that all states have to play in this Organization, where, no matter the size or the financial wealth of a country, we all have an equal opportunity and ability to influence and shape the progress and the work of this Organization.”

Ambassador Prince took the opportunity to discuss some of the priority issues that will occupy the agenda of the Council, including the continuation of discussions on the redefinition of the priorities for the OAS, called the “Strategic Vision.” In this regard, she said that the recent adoption of the document on the guidelines and objectives by the General Assembly is considered “a seminal accomplishment” of recent times, and considered that this is an opportunity to “recalibrate, re-energize and rejuvenate” the compass that guides the OAS. Finally, she offered words of thanks and appreciation to Ambassador Johnny for her role, saying that in the last year, “the Council has benefited from excellent leadership from CARICOM countries.”

The Permanent Council’s statutes establish that the chair be exercised by each of the Permanent Representatives in turn, following the alphabetic order in Spanish of the names of their respective countries, and the office of vice-chair, by identical standards, following reverse alphabetical order. For the next three months, the vice-chair of the Council will be the Permanent Representative of Suriname, Ambassador Niermala Badrising.

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