Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, is introduced to the Advisor to the OAS Secretary General, Paul Spencer, by OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza (centre). Looking on at left is Chief of Protocol, Hughland Allman, and at right is Director of the OAS in Barbados, Francis McBarnette.

Government will continue to offer its support to the Organisation of American States (OAS) as it pursues its goals of strengthening democratic governance and enhancing the development of people in the region.

This pledge was made by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, during a press conference yesterday with Secretary General of the OAS, Jos?? Miguel Insulza, at her Culloden Road Office.

Minister McClean revealed that during the talks held earlier in the day, a wide range of issues of import to Barbados and the OAS had been discussed, including the situation in Honduras, the OAS technical cooperation programme, and scholarships and training.??

"We also highlighted ways in which we can partner with the OAS to respond to the priority needs of Caribbean member states. In addition, we recalled the valuable contribution that Barbados and other Caribbean democracies have made to the political, economic and social development of the hemisphere and explored ways in which our experience in these areas can continue to be tapped for mutual benefit," she said.

Ms. McClean also mentioned some of the sectors from which this country had derived benefits, since joining the OAS in 1967 and being an active participant in its work. These include education, agriculture, tourism and the environment.

She also stated that the Secretary General’s visit had provided a useful opportunity to review and seek ways to enhance the existing partnership.

In his contribution, Mr. Insulza agreed that Barbados had played an active role in the organisation and said the OAS looked forward to this island’s continued cooperation in the many areas outlined.??

"We discussed the programmes that we are having together – scholarships, tertiary education, tourism and trade. We have a Masters programme on Trade with the University here and that is a very successful programme which we want to keep…????

"We are extending cooperation to several countries in the improvement of their electoral systems on matters of governance. This country has a lot to give; not only to receive cooperation, but rather to help us work in this region and other regions of the world," the Secretary General disclosed.??

Mr. Insulza was on a two-day visit to Barbados. While here, he met with Governor General, Sir Clifford Husbands; Prime Minister, David Thompson; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean; and government officials from the Ministries of Agriculture, Tourism, Education, and Economic Affairs. He also held talks with President of the Caribbean Development Bank, Dr. Compton Bourne; and officials from the University of the West Indies.

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