NASSAU, Bahamas – The Bahamas Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States His Excellency C A Smith, has been welcomed to the Permanent Council of that prestigious body of the Americas.
Ambassador Smith presented his Credentials to the OAS Secretary-General His Excellency Jose Miguel Insulza during a ceremony at the OAS Headquarters in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, November 13.
The Bahamas joined the OAS in 1982, as the 31st member, on the premise that, collectively, they could address issues of common concern. Hence, a seat on the Permanent Council serves as an avenue for such matters.
“We in The Bahamas recognize that increased hemispheric solidarity with countries whom we share history, culture and economic, social and political challenges was an undeniable benefit of membership,” Ambassador Smith said. “The Bahamas is committed to ensuring that the fundamental principles and democratic values of this organization remain strong.”
At The Bahamas’ 25th Anniversary in the OAS, in March this year, Secretary General Insulza recognised the country for “standing shoulder-to-shoulder as a committed partner in the pursuit of democratic and development ideals.”
Ambassador Smith said that The Bahamas appreciates that its participation in the OAS allows Bahamians opportunities to advance national and international interests and to strengthen their engagement with the Americas.
“Just as important, we believe that the OAS is the foremost organization for addressing the concerns of the hemisphere,” he said.
The ambassador then congratulated the OAS for its leadership on a myriad of important issues such as the promotion of democracy and human rights, hemispheric security, sustainable development, health and gender issues.
Since 2002, the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism has provided invaluable technical assistance and capacity building programmes to assist OAS Member States to prevent, combat and eliminate terrorism.
“The establishment of civil registries, unknown in some countries, has become a reality in our hemisphere, giving our peoples a sense of belonging ands self-worth,” Ambassador Smith said.
He noted that the pledged the support to The Bahamas, Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the wake of Tropical Storm Noel is another testimony to the solidarity, which exists among the members of the OAS.
Ambassador Smith said that The Bahamas has decided to continue its contributions to the various peace initiatives, including those in Colombia and Haiti, and encouraged other countries to consider pledging to those noteworthy activities aimed at securing peace in the region.
He further noted that The Bahamas, like it CARICOM members, attaches “great importance” to the OAS scholarship program, as hundreds of Bahamian students and Government officials have benefited from the OAS technical cooperation program.
“The Bahamas is committed to partnership with this hemispheric group of nations to meet the challenges which beset us in this area,” Ambassador Smith said.