TRINIDAD – Ambassador Marina Valere of Trinidad and Tobago assumed office this week as chair of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Permanent Council, over which she will preside for the next three months. Saint Lucia’s Ambassador Sonia Johnny assumed as Vice Chair, meanwhile.
During a ceremony at which she accepted the gavel from outgoing Chairman Ambassador Henry Illes of Suriname, Ambassador Valere identified a comprehensive approach to hemispheric development as a major issue she intends to give focus in exercising the responsibility of leading the Council, “in the interest of our advancement as a united hemisphere.” This, she says, is in line with the emphasis her Prime Minister, Patrick Manning, included in his address to the OAS Permanent Council last week.
Ambassador Marina Valere
Acknowledging the tremendous confidence being reposed in her and in her country to occupy the rotating Council chairmanship, the Trinidad and Tobago diplomat pledged to give due regard to consultation with all regional groups and delegations within the OAS. Such cooperation will be essential, “if we are to arrive at a happy medium and maintain a tradition of consensus in charting the Organization’s forward course,” asserted Valere. She also lauded Ambassador Illes as well as the outgoing Vice Chairman, Ambassador Ellsworth John of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, for their dedication in conducting the work of the Council.
The outgoing chairman reviewed highlights of his tenure in the chair of the Permanent Council, which changes every three months in alphabetical order of the member states. He noted the important development agenda of the Organization as a primary focus. Illes also thanked the OAS General Secretariat staff, as well as the member state representatives for their collaboration.
Trinidad and Tobago’s chairmanship represents the last in an 18-month succession of Caribbean countries at the helm of the hemispheric Permanent Council, the OAS’ second highest decision-making body that comprises the member states’ ambassadors.