Antigua & Barbuda’s Ambassador Sir Ronald Sanders has assumed office as the President of the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States (OAS).
In a ceremony at the OAS headquarters in Washington DC, Sir Ronald was welcomed to the office by Secretary-General, Luis Almargo Lemes and Ambassadors from the Organisation’s 35 member states.
Sir Ronald will preside over the activities of the OAS until April this year with a packed agenda which includes issues involving general elections in Haiti as well as problem areas in some member countries.
Under his stewardship, the Permanent Council will also advance preparations for the General Assembly, the highest decision-making organ of the OAS. The General Assembly will be held in the Dominican Republic in June.
Indicating the focus of his Chairmanship, Sir Ronald expressed concern about the financial health of the OAS saying that its “financial state is dire and urgently needs to be addressed if the Organisation is to continue to fulfil its obligations to the development needs of the people of its member states”.
Sir Ronald’s first act as Chairman of the OAS Permanent Council was to receive the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia, Juan Carlos Tejeda, to discuss Climate Change and initiatives that could be taken to ensure that undertakings given at the Climate meeting in Paris last December actually deliver results.
Sir Ronald has been an advocate of the interests of small states in the global warming debate. He is expected to advance discussion of this issue, as well as threats to the financial services sector of the Caribbean during his Chairmanship.