Ambassador Raymond Valcin, Haiti’s Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States, today assumed the chair of the Permanent Council, the OAS’ second highest decision-making body.
Accepting the gavel from his predecessor, Ambassador Odeen Ishmael of Guyana, during a brief ceremony in Washington the Haitian envoy stressed the importance his country attaches to once again assuming the leadership of the member state representatives’ forum. “Haiti will assume the presidency in a spirit of inclusiveness and openness,” he said of the intention to solicit the views, suggestions and advice of everyone. “There is no doubt about the continuing success of our institution with such an approach.”
Ambassador Valcin also pledged he would continue the special focus on such priority issues as security, combating poverty and the Cuba and Haiti issues. He noted the importance of special OAS events like the hemispheric security conference slated for Cuba next October and, making mention of the role of the OAS Special Mission for the Strengthening of Democracy in Haiti, also underscored the appreciation for OAS assistance to Haiti, a founding member of the Western Hemisphere body.
Meanwhile, reviewing highlights of his three-month tenure, the outgoing Permanent Council Chairman suggested the OAS begin to develop “some sort of engagement to deal with the Cuban issue.” Ishmael pointed out that Cuba has remained actively involved in certain aspects of the inter-American process, including the Pan American Health Organisation and the Treaty of Tlatelolco [that bans nuclear weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean].