Antigua and Barbuda to back Ecuador national for position of OAS Secretary General


The Antigua and Barbuda government says it will support the Ecuadorean Foreign Minister and President of the United Nations General Assembly (PGA), Maria Fernanda Espinosa, for the position of Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS).

“Madam President, I know that your tenure as the PGA will come to an end and I hope you will consider the offer of Antigua and Barbuda to nominate you jointly with the government of Ecuador to serve as the next Secretary-General of the OAS,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said at the dedication of the United nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) Science and Innovation Park where Espinosa was one of the speakers.

“That’s not an idle request. On the basis that your government would have agreed, Antigua and Barbuda will join you jointly and make a recommendation to get somebody sensible with the skills, with the emotional intelligence and someone who is obviously uniting in her discourse to bring the entire hemisphere together rather than having the present divisive situation that exists at the OAS”, Browne told the ceremony.

Antigua and Barbuda and several other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have been critical of the present OAS Secretary General, Luis Leonardo Almagro, whom Browne said was undermining the rules and values of the hemispheric organisation.

Browne said while Espinosa has been an inspiration to many the same could not be said of Almargo, who came to office in 2015.

“Presently we have a problem with the OAS. We have a Secretary General is an authority on to himself. He is destroying all of the rules of the OAS, undermining all the values of the OAS and I want to signal to all other countries in this hemisphere that perhaps the best person to hold that office at this time is none other than Maria Espinosa”.

In February, the 15-member CARICOM grouping said it remained “deeply concerned” by the actions and statements of Almagro, which it argued “are outside the bounds of his remit as the head of an international organisation”.

CARICOM chairman and the Prime Minister of St Kitts-Nevis, Dr Timothy Harris said that Almargo’s latest “manifestation of his inappropriate behaviour” followed his statement made regarding free and fair elections in Dominica.

The region has also blasted the OAS official over his positions taken with regard to the unfolding political and economic situation in Venezuela where United States is leading a number of western and other countries in the removal of President Nicolas Maduro from office.

A former Trinidad and Tobago diplomat, Reginald Dumas, has already urged CARICOM to consider nominating a candidate to oppose Almagro, who has indicated a willingness to seek a second consecutive term.

Writing in a newspaper article, Dumas, a former ambassador to the OAS, wrote that “another five years in the post will only make things worse and further weaken the organisation”.