Port of Spain, Trinidad To Host Summit Meeting
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
April 09, 2009 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas will lead the Federal delegation to the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
The other members of the delegation to the April 17th to 19th Summitt are Premier of Nevis, the Hon. Joseph Parry; Chief Secretary, Mr. Joseph Edmeade; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Astona Browne and St. Kitts and Nevis Permanent Representative to the OAS, His Excellency Dr. Izben Williams.
Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), His Excellency Ambassador Albert Ramdin, said the international institution will come out stronger from the Fifth Summit in Trinidad.
Ambassador Ramdin highlighted that the OAS, as the organisation comprising all countries in the Americas, will be even “more relevant” after the dialogue among Heads of State and Government in Port-of-Spain.
“If we want to deal with the many challenges the Americas face, countries need to work together,” he said. Ramdin said it was “critically important” for regional leaders “to meet and talk” about the issues in their countries.
Ambassador Ramdin took part in a conference organized by the American University’s Council on Latin America, in Washington, DC, where he also highlighted that the Summit in Trinidad y Tobago will take place at a particularly significant time, because “the foundations upon which this continent are based are changing.”
The Assistant Secretary General mentioned that all 34 leaders attending the Summit represent democratically elected governments, societies in the continent have room for different voices, and the region recently enjoyed unprecedented economic growth. “While we have made a lot of progress, a lot of challenges remain,” he added.
Ramdin explained that the Summit of the Americas is critically important particularly in four aspects and will reflect a number of important developments in the region: It is the first Americas Summit to be held in a Caribbean country and represents a reaffirmation of the region’s hemispheric commitment; the political landscape in the region has changed with new types of leadership developing and fully two thirds of the leaders will be attending their first joint Summit; significant hemispheric and global challenges such as energy, food and environmental crises, as well as the economic crisis, require urgent attention; and US President Barack Obama will attend his first Summit of Western Hemisphere Heads of State and Government.
The Conference also featured Ambassadors John Maisto, former US Permanent Representative to the OAS, Venezuela and Nicaragua, and Anthony Quainton, who led US Embassies in Nicaragua, Kuwait and Peru.
Maisto, who was also White House coordinator for the Summit of the Americas in Monterrey, Mexico, 2004, and Mar del Plata, Argentina, 2005, said the financial crisis should be “the number one issue” in Trinidad and Tobago. Leaders should find solutions to challenges such as the need for economic stimulus in the region while maintaining social programs, avoiding protectionism and reinforcing the role of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Quainton also highlighted that President Obama will attend his first Summit of the Americas without the “heavy baggage” from past tensions between the US and other countries in the region. Ambassador Quainton said the offer of dialogue from the US Administration “is real” and it will be presented in Trinidad and Tobago. Therefore, he added, the governments in Latin America and the Caribbean should be ready “to say yes.”