Jamaica Hands Over Chairmanship of OAS


Jamaica's Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Stephen Vasciannie, has concluded his three-month chairmanship of the OAS Permanent Council.

At a ceremony held on Monday (Oct. 1) at the OAS headquarters in Washington DC., the Jamaican envoy handed over chairmanship to Ambassador Joel Antonio Hernández García of Mexico.

Ambassador Vasciannie described his term at the helm of the hemispheric organisation's second highest decision-making body as “an interesting but challenging time."

He said that during the period, which began upon his arrival in Washington in July, the Permanent Council had to grapple with very challenging issues such as the events in Paraguay and Ecuador.

"But, we have confirmed that the OAS is a united body that is ready to tackle its difficulties with the interests of the hemisphere in mind,” he stated.

Professor Vasciannie, who is also Ambassador to the United States, said that during the period, member states also examined measures to bolster the inter-American human rights system, as well as the OAS budget.

The incoming Council Chairman, for his part, praised the Jamaican envoy’s stewardship, noting how well he had done, having assumed the chairmanship just a few days after arriving in Washington.

Among those at the handing over ceremony were OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza; Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin; and representatives from member states.

Jamaica's Alternate Representative to the OAS, Marsha Coore-Lobban, and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Jamaican Embassy in Washington, Cherryl Gordon, accompanied Ambassador Vasciannie to the ceremony.

Chairmanship of the OAS Permanent Council is held by each of the Permanent Representatives in turn, following the alphabetic order in Spanish, the names of their respective countries. The vice-chairmanship runs concurrently with the chairmanship, but is determined according to the reverse alphabetical order.

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