The Bahamas welcomes 13th US Ambassador

NASSAU, Bahamas – The Bahamas welcomed the 13th Ambassador of the United States of America on the mutual understanding of continuing to strengthen relations that exist between both countries.

His Excellency Arthur Hanna, Governor General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas accepted Letters of Credence by Her Excellency Nicole Avant, 41, Ambassador of the United States to The Bahamas, during a ceremony at Government House, Thursday October 22. The Governor General also accepted Letters of Recall of Ambassador Ned Seigel.

Ambassador Avant also paid a courtesy call on the Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon Brent Symonette.

The Bahamas and United States established relations on September 17, 1973 and both countries share the historical experience as former British colonies.

“The success of Bahamas/United States bi-lateral relations is augmented by our cooperation and shared interest in a number of key issues of significance for the hemispheric and international agenda as a whole.

“It is because of these shared and common concerns that our countries have been on one accord when such issues are addressed in regional and international for a such as the Organisation of American States and the United Nations. These include, among others, drug trafficking, terrorism, human rights, the environment and disarmament,” the Governor General said.

He said he welcomed Ambassador Avant’s commitment to continue work on key priority issues of benefit to both countries. These being protection of borders through programmes designed to combat the transhipment of illicit drugs and the smuggling of illegal migrants and illicit light weapons; enhanced joint efforts against terrorism; the building of prosperity and economic security and defence and promotion of human rights and democratic ideals.

The Government also fully appreciates the ambassador’s recommitment to ensuring that OPBAT continues to receive the full support and resources needed to carry out its mandate.

“This partnership is in its 21st year and is considered the hallmark of Bahamas/United States efforts in counter-drug operations, and a model for such third state cooperation,” the Governor General said.

The threat posed by nuclear weapons proliferation and other weapons of mass destruction is also a major concern, he said, adding that The Bahamas looks forward to the continued collaboration to stem the flow of such weapons in the hemisphere.

He also mentioned the impact the global recession is having on Small Island developing nations particularly in the area of tourism.

As 70 per cent of tourists come from North America, he said it is important that the partnership between both countries be further strengthened and deepened.

The Bahamas looks forward to enhanced assistance by the US Embassy’s Consular Section in facilitating first-rate visa services for Bahamians, and the pursuit of civic and cultural interaction between both countries, the Governor General said.

Ambassador Avant said that she was honoured to have been appointed to The Bahamas, having been appointed by President Barack Obama on June 16, 2009 and September 13, 2009.

She mentioned that her family has a long connection to The Bahamas and brings to service a lifetime of experience in philanthropy, politics and culture.

Her Excellency Nicole Avant, Ambassador of the United States to The Bahamas, left, accepts a gift from His Excellency Arthur Hanna, Governor General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, right, during a ceremony at Government House on Thursday October 22. Pictured far right is Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix Corporation, husband of Ambassador Avant. (BIS Photo/Derek Smith)

Ambassador Avant also pledged to work closely with The Bahamas Government on such issues as protection of borders against drug trafficking and illegal migrants, terrorism, building prosperity and economic security, defend and promote human rights and democratic ideals, and support sustainable energy and other programmed designed to raise environmental awareness and create new economic opportunities.

Nicole Avant was born on March 6, 1968 to music executive Clarence Avant, a former chairman of Motown Records and Jacqueline Avant. She spearheads several multi-national, multi-agency operations to combat international drug trafficking and illicit weapons shipments.

Ambassador Avant is married to Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix Corporation, and they have two children Sarah and Tony.

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