Categorized | Business

CA Smith Demits Office In Washington

By K Quincy Parker

Former Permanent Representative of the Bahamas to the Organization of American States Cornelius A Smith suggested, in his parting remarks as he demitted office, that the regional body return to its core mandate of promoting democracy, defending human rights, ensuring a multidimensional approach to security and fostering integral development and prosperity.
Smith demitted office after five years representing The Bahamas at the OAS, which The Bahamas joined in 1982.

“For those who question the validity and relevancy of this organisation, take comfort in the fact that so many member states turn to this organisation for guidance, advice and dispute resolutions,” Smith said.

“I go away with the knowledge that even with its shortcomings and its occasional missteps, the only hope for maintaining, strengthening and promoting the democratic process and for the peaceful resolution of disputes, the stability and prosperity for the hemisphere lays with the OAS.”

“If we allow the OAS to fail, or worse, if we contribute to its failure, we do so at our own peril and that of future generations,” he added.
Smith said member states should never forget that those who have been fortunate enough to serve the people of the hemisphere in OAS have an “awesome” responsibility to assist in shaping the kind of societies in which all live.

The departing diplomat recalled some of the challenges The Bahamas was involved in during his tenure, like coups-d’état and border disputes and violations of sovereign air and land space. He also noted that there had been an unusual number of natural disasters including floods, hurricanes, earthquakes; but the region found ways to mitigate the consequences of these natural disasters.

“Today the hemisphere is confronted with the issues of criminal gangs, drug trafficking, human smuggling, terrorism, transnational criminality, HIV/AIDS, environmental destruction, abject poverty and the list goes on but by adopting the principle of shared responsibility we continue to search for acceptable solutions to the vexing problems,” he said.

The Permanent Council also paid tribute to Mr. Smith; the OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza expressing appreciation for the contribution he made during his five-year tenure. Other Caribbean representatives at the OAS from Dominica, Uruguay, Nicaragua, United States, Venezuela, Canada, Paraguay, Belize, Grenada, and Haiti, amongst others, also expressed such sentiments.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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