This past week, Governor General Arthur Hanna accepted Letters of Credence from **Christiaan Mark Johan Kroner**, non-Resident **Ambassador of The Netherlands** to The Bahamas.

The Governor General pointed out this nation’s interest in embracing opportunities to fortify relations with the Netherlands, particularly in the areas of tourism and financial services – of significance to both. Both countries also, he said, share a fundamental belief in democratic values, international cooperation, and in upholding and advancing the rule of international law. *“In this regard, The Bahamas looks forward to the continued partnering with the Kingdom of The Netherlands in promoting the common goals of peace, goodwill, sovereign equality and security,”* the Governor General said.

Referencing The Netherlands’ membership in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Union (EU), the Ambassador was told that The Bahamas will count on the Kingdom of The Netherlands to ensure the OECD’s regulations on financial services are fair, just and equitable for all. Additionally, it is the hope of The Bahamas that The Netherlands will play an important role in ensuring that European Union investment in The Bahamas is sustained, indeed increased, and the transfer of advanced management skills and new technologies emphasised. He also said The Netherlands’ support for a successful completion of the waiver negotiations for the Schengen Visa would be of “special importance” to The Bahamas.

During the Ceremony, the Governor General took the opportunity to acknowledge the Netherlands for its leading role in supporting international agreements that seek to curb and eradicate the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The Bahamas government has approved, in principle, the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention, a United Nations treaty that bans the development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of chemical weapons, and stipulates its timely destruction.

The Bahamas attaches highest priority to the adherence to such agreements, and its signing of the Chemical Weapons Convention underlines its historic commitment to non-proliferation. It looks forward to depositing its Instrument of Ratification with The Netherlands on the conclusion of consultations with relevant national stakeholders.

In conclusion, the Governor General told Ambassador Kroner, *“Your political and security experience, and acknowledgement of the extended friendship between our two countries, make you a valuable partner for the challenges of today.”*

In response, Ambassador Kroner said The Bahamas has enjoyed friendly ties with the Kingdom of The Netherlands since the Dutch first sailed the Caribbean waters. He said the ties between both countries are not confined to the economy, and used the occasion to ask for The Bahamas’ support as it seeks a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council. *“The promotion and respect of human rights is one of the main priorities in our foreign policy. Your support in this regard is needed and truly appreciated.”*

*(Photo Courtesy of BIS)*