In a stirring farewell to Antigua and Barbudaå‘s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Lionel Hurst, diplomatic colleagues in the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States (OAS) today lavished praise on Hurst for his important contributions to the hemispheric agenda, notably his advocacy on environmental issues as well as security as a multidimensional concern.
Permanent Council Chairman Ambassador Raymond Valcin of Haiti lauded the passion, insight and expertise that Ambassador Hurst brought to the OAS, which has benefited significantly from his erudition and diplomatic skills during his seven the years accredited to the Organisation.
OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi referred to his legacy as including an indefatigable pursuit of causes that benefit Antigua and Barbuda as well as small island developing nations as a whole. He said it was through Hurst’s strong efforts that the topic of the social and economic impact of global warming has achieved pride of place on the General Assembly’s agenda.
Describing Hurst as a kind of “environmental evangelist,” Guyana’s Ambassador, Odeen Ishmael, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations, said the Antiguan diplomat was the first to raise the issue of protecting the ice-sheets on the continent of Antarctica, noting how time has proven those concerns to be well-founded.
Several other diplomats offered glowing tributes to Ambassador Hurst and his work to advance the hemispheric agenda, highlighting his advocacy on issues relating to women of the Americas and hemispheric security, among other issues: Ambassador Lisa Shoman of Belize spoke on behalf of the Central American Group of countries; Ambassador Uruguay’s Ambassador Juan Enrique Fischer, represented the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) countries; Alternate Representative Gwyn Kutz spoke on Canada’s behalf; and Ambassador John Maisto represented the perspective of the United States delegation.
Responding, Ambassador Hurst underscored the effective diplomacy waged by small states such as his, arguing that, “In less than twenty-two short years, Antigua and Barbuda has conducted its inter-American affairs with the maturity and farsightedness that is the equal of any member states seated at this table.” He argued that small size and the particular history of states can serve and have served as a superior moral platform from which global issues can be pursued with great effect.
Among other important agenda issues taken up today, the Permanent Council members praised the Haitian Permanent Representative for his leadership of the hemispheric body over the past three months. This is the last regular session over which Ambassador Raymond Valcin presides as Council Chairman before he hands over the rotating chairmanship at month end.
The Council also conveyed sympathies and solidarity to the Dominican Republic, in the wake of yesterday’s massive earthquake that has left casualties and massive material and infrastructure damage.
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