**H.E. Cornelius A. Smith**

Bahamian Ambassador Cornelius A. Smith has assumed the three-month rotating chairmanship of the Organisation of American States (OAS) Permanent Council.

On the occasion of taking office, Amb. Smith reaffirmed The Bahamas’ *”steadfast commitment to the Organization’s vital role in the preservation and strengthening of democracy in the Caribbean and the Americas.”* He said that during its leadership of the Permanent Council The Bahamas would further emphasize the core OAS principles of *”supporting and promoting good governance, democratic values, respect for law and order and the protection of human rights.”*

Welcoming the new Permanent Council Chairman, Assistant Secretary General Ramdin said the OAS Secretariat is very pleased and looks forward to a “strong, productive relationship.” He cited the keen interest demonstrated by The Bahamas in the affairs of the hemisphere, beyond its immediate national agenda, as very important. *”We look forward to The Bahamas” leadership in discussing budgetary methods as well as leadership in terms of strengthening the development agenda of the OAS,”* stated Ramdin.

The Permanent Council of the Organization reports directly to the General Assembly and has the powers assigned to it by the Charter and the other inter-American instruments and the functions entrusted to it by the General Assembly and the Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs. It s composed of one representative of each member state, especially appointed by the respective government, with the rank of Ambassador.

Bahamas Governor General His Excellency Arthur Hanna presented Cornelius A. Smith with his Letters of Credence in October 2007, officially appointing him Ambassador to The Bahamas Embassy in Washington, D.C.