H.E. Sidney Collie Delivers Maiden Address to Organization of American States
Washington, D.C. – H.E. Sidney Collie, Ambassador of The Bahamas to the United States of America and Permanent Representative of The Bahamas to the Organization of American States (OAS), delivered his maiden address to the Permanent Council of the OAS on 13 December 2017.
In his remarks to the Organization, Ambassador Collie affirmed The Bahamas commitment to “multilateralism and to active engagement with the OAS to address matters of mutual interest for sustainable development, enhanced citizen security, protection of human rights and preservation of democracy.”
Ambassador Collie emphasized the need for the OAS to increase its scope of work to better address the “real challenges facing The Bahamas and other countries of the region that threaten our ability to deliver for our citizens and to meet the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
“We believe the time for talk has passed and we count on the OAS to enhance its work in this space and its advocacy globally for more robust action on climate change”, Collie said.
Ambassador Collie added “we believe, as our forbearers did when crafting the Charter of this Organization, that the OAS has an indispensable role to play in supporting national and regional integral development. However, there is more that the OAS must do to meet the real needs of countries of the hemisphere, particularly with respect to sustainable development needs of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like The Bahamas.
The Bahamian envoy highlighted the need for a reform of international financial standards in order to “ensure a more level playing field for all countries and guarantee necessary inclusion in the global economy.”
“The Bahamas and the Caribbean region continue to grapple with unintended negative consequences of well-meaning financial services norms which threaten our access to the global economy through de-risking and the consequent severing of correspondent banking relations with international financial institutions. We also call for our development bank partners to evolve to meet the needs of this new century. We believe this fundamentally requires a reassessment and evolution of the criteria for aid and concessional lending that have historically been used to determine development needs and level but now are antiquated. We see a role for the OAS for technical support and advocacy on these issues which threaten financial inclusion and undermine prospects for sustainable development of our region and the wider hemisphere,” Collie said.
In conclusion, the Ambassador described the Bahamian ethos as “one of community, of striving for excellence, of unity in pursuit of a common, loftier goal. We as Bahamians believe that, as a people, our highest destiny can only be realized when we move “forward, upward and onward together”.”
Established in 1948, the OAS is composed of 34 countries and is the premier regional forum for political discussion, policy analysis and decision-making in Western Hemisphere affairs.