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JAMAICA| Jamaica assumes Chair of OAS Permanent Council; Marks says fight against COVID-19 is priority

Featured Jamaica’s Permanent representative to the Organization of American States Ambassador Audrey Marks, delivers opening remarks as she assumes the Chair of the OAS Permanent Council at a virtual handing over ceremony this morning.  (Photo Derrick Scott) Jamaica’s Permanent representative to the Organization of American States Ambassador Audrey Marks, delivers opening remarks as she assumes the Chair of the OAS Permanent Council at a virtual handing over ceremony this morning. (Photo Derrick Scott)
WASHINGTON DC, October 2, 2020 –  Jamaica this week was elevated to the  Chair of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Permanent Council in Washington DC, following a virtual handing over ceremony which saw Jamaica’s Permanent representative to the Organization of American States H.E Ambassador Audrey Marks assuming leadership of the Organization for the next three months.

In her remarks, Ambassador Marks who is being placed in the leadership of the hemispheric Council for the second time, stated that while we await a vaccine, we must ensure affordable quality departure testing to minimize imported cases  of COVID-19 to our countries and encourage surveillance testing to manage the community transmission ravishing so many families at this time.

She said it was her desire during her chairmanship  to work with the experts in the Secretariat and delegations, “to advance the dialogue on issues such as : accelerating equitable access to  vaccines against COVID-19;

Ambassador Marks said it was  important that “we continue to explore increased access to concessional and non-concessional financing; and,  greater cooperation leading to increased access to the internet.

The new Chair of the OAS Permanent Council pointed out that she was “also keenly aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has served to magnify the inter-connectedness of our countries, big or small, rich or poor, and the need for us to work together, even more so now than ever, to overcome the challenges before us.”

Noting that this year Jamaica commemorates the 50th anniversary of its membership in the OAS, Ambassador Marks said, “the symbolism of this achievement is not lost on us.” She said she looked forward to working with all delegations over the next three months, and especially as we prepare for the upcoming 50th Regular Session of the General Assembly, to be held October 20 to 21, “in a spirit of dialogue… as we seek to manage the threats posed by the pandemic and to emerge even stronger post COVID-19. This will only be achieved through our collective efforts, in a sustained and organized way. 

The Jamaican Ambassador thanked her predecessor Louis Cordero, for his work steering the OAS Council during very challenging times as well as the team from the OAS secretariat, led by Assistant Secretary General Nestor Mendez.

Jamaica assumes the OAS chair at a time when tensions are high in the region  with the withdrawal of Venezuela from the organization, and Trump Administration’s  pressure on regional countries to support regime change in Venezuela by removing President  Nicholas Maduro and installing  the US backed Juan Guaido as president.

In June, the members of the Organization of American States (OAS) voted  to recognize Juan Guaido's ambassador as the country's official representative to the organization.

Venezuela's foreign ministry condemned the vote, saying the bloc was supporting a coup against Maduro.

"Venezuela has been a part of the OAS as a founding member since 1948. But in recent years, ties to the regional group became strained as the US ramped up sanctions on Venezuela, and criticized the  government over what it said were  human rights abuses in the South American country.

Two weeks ago, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, visited the four countries that border Venezuela, and during a press conference in Guyana, reaffirmed the US Government’s position that the Venezuelan leader needs to demit office.

“We know that the Maduro regime has decimated the people of Venezuela and Maduro himself is an indicted narcotics trafficker and this means he has to leave. For the people in Venezuela to have the democracy that they need, the Cuban security forces must go and Maduro must leave”, Pompeo told reporters in Georgetown at a joint press conference with Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali.

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  • Countries: Jamaica

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