Jamaica's Ambassador to Washington, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, has assumed the chairmanship of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Permanent Council, the organisation’s second highest decision-making body.
He received the gavel from the out-going chairman, Bolivia’s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Diego Pary, during a brief ceremony held Thursday July 19 in the Hall of Heroes at the OAS Headquarters in Washington, DC.
Professor Vasciannie said he looked forward to working with the members of the OAS Secretariat and with the representatives of all the member states, “to ensure that we have peace and security within our region."
The Ambassador, who presented his credentials as Jamaica’s Permanent Representative to the OAS on Wednesday (July 18), said that "although the learning will be very steep”, he hopes, during his three-month term as chairman, to assist in the promotion of peace and security, the rule of law, and all of the other core principles of the OAS.
He noted that the appointment comes at a propitious time, when the nation is celebrating its 50th anniversary of Independence and “it’s a time for us to renew our commitments in the international arena, even as we celebrate locally, the achievements of the country."
The Permanent Council is composed of one representative of each of the 34-member states of the OAS, especially appointed by their respective governments, with the rank of ambassador. The Permanent Council reports directly to the General Assembly, the highest forum, which brings together the member states’ Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
The office of chair of the Permanent Council is held by each of the representatives, in turn, following the alphabetical order in Spanish, the names of their respective countries. Each term runs for three months.
Ambassador Vasciannie was accompanied to the function by Jamaica’s Alternate Representative to the OAS, Marsha Coore-Lobban, and Minister-Counsellor for Trade at the Jamaican Embassy, Franz Hall.
By Derrick Scott, JIS Reporter