Prime Minister Freundel Stuart poses with the Caribbean Ambassadors to the OAS, at the OAS headquarters, Washington, D.C. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

The Organisation of American States (OAS) has been hailed for its significant role in promoting democracy in the Americas.

The accolades have come from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as he addressed the Protocolary Meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States yesterday in Washington, D.C.

He pointed out that Barbados had enjoyed a rich heritage with the OAS that dated back to the 1960s. He said: "We were buoyed by our belief in its principles and the recognition that our different ethnic, cultural, and historic experiences could only enrich the already vibrant culture of this organisation."??

Mr. Stuart was of the view that micro island states such as Barbados had a constructive role to play, however modest, to the inter-American system, especially in the OAS, where "small size and lack of power have never been barriers to either aspiration or achievement".????

He pointed out that the OAS’ commitment, in the framework of multilateralism, "to promote, by cooperative action, the economic, social, and cultural development" of its members and "to eradicate extreme poverty, which constitutes an obstacle to the full democratic development of the peoples of the hemisphere" was, indeed, laudable.??

Recounting that the centuries of colonialism in the region "had created a chasm of sorts, at the institutional and governmental levels, between Latin America and the English-speaking Caribbean," he noted that and it was believed that membership in this Organisation would assist in breaking down the barriers that separated the two regions and would allow for the "cross-fertilisation of ideas and the growth of mutually enriching bonds of friendship".??

During his address, the Prime Minister also paid homage to the several Barbadian and Caribbean nationals who had "poured their time and talents into the transformation of the OAS and the wider Inter-American System" over the years. He singled out the late Valerie T. McComie, (who served as the first Assistant Secretary General elected from an English speaking state), and Christopher Thomas, of Trinidad and Tobago; the late Oliver Hamlet Jackman, (who served on the Inter-American Commission and then as a judge on the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); and the Honourable Maizie Barker- Welch, who was President of the Inter American Commission of Women.

He also mentioned " the sterling service performed by Sir George Alleyne and Dr. Chelston Brathwaite, who both worked for two consecutive terms as the heads of the PAHO and IICA, respectively".?? He emphasised that the contributions of these international civil servants, and many others in diverse fields, as well as past and?? present staff members, who have served the Inter American community in varied capacities, demonstrated the breadth and depth of Barbados’ and?? indeed, "the Caribbean’s?? commitment to the holistic development of the people of our Hemisphere".

He told the gathering that CARICOM has been working closely with the OAS, wherever possible, and the nations of the region treasured the relationship between the two bodies.


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