Jamaica’s Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) and Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, was today, for the fourth time, sworn in as Chair of the Permanent Council of the OAS.
She succeeds the outgoing Chair of the Permanent Council, Ambassador Washington Abdala, Permanent Representative of Uruguay.
Ambassador Marks accepted the ceremonial gavel of authority at an installation ceremony held in the Hall of the Americas at the OAS headquarters in Washington DC which was attended by His Excellencies Louis Almagro and Nestor Mendez, Secretary General and Assistant Secretary of the OAS and a large gathering of members of the Permanent Council.
The Jamaican Ambassador said she was “assuming the Chair of the Permanent Council at a time when we are still on the path to economic recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time, adjusting to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the security and humanitarian crisis in Haiti and the persistent threat of Climate Change and inadequate access to climate financing.”
Ambassador Marks pointed out that “as Developing Countries and particularly the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), our region remains extremely vulnerable to external shocks. “Our countries continue to grapple with food and energy insecurity, non-communicable diseases, challenges to democratic governance and our development agendas, which are constantly undermined by crime and violence, propelled by the flow of guns to our region,” she stated.
Ambassador Marks further pointed out that peace and security remained a top priority for the Latin American and Caribbean region. In this regard, “we must continue our joint efforts in support of our sister CARICOM country Haiti in the context of a Haitian-led solution to return normalcy to the country.
She emphasized that it was essential to uphold the principles of democracy and human rights, which were key principles enshrined in the OAS Charter. “It is imperative that we remain steadfast in our efforts towards greater economic and social inclusion of marginalized communities, digital transformation of all sectors, and increased access to digital technologies,” she noted.
“Our engagement at the recently concluded 53rd Regular Session of the OAS reminded us of the inextricable links between human rights, democracy and sustainable development. Let us also remain cognizant of the importance of engagement of our youth across the various sectors of our society to allow them the space to grow and develop and to foster their creativity.
Ambassador Marks was accompanied to the installation by her newly appointed Alternate Representative to the Organization of American States, Delita McCallum.