Organization of American States ..............................News Release


January 12, 1998

A seasoned private sector executive is Trinidad and Tobago's new envoy to the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS).

Ambassador Michael A. Arneaud presented credentials on Monday morning to the organization's assistant secretary general, Ambassador Christopher R. Thomas, who hailed the new diplomat's qualifications and experience as a plus for the hemispheric forum that is now more focussed than ever on "the very serious economic matters" of deepest concern to the nations of the region.

The newly-arrived diplomat, who is also ambassador to the United States, spoke about his government's commitment to the organization's work, and remarked that he looked forward to collaborating especially in the efforts to improve "the lives of all the people of the Hemisphere."

Mr. Arneaud, who succeeded Ambassador Corinne McKnight, made particular reference to the "New Vision" under which the hemispheric body has been pursuing institutional renewal and refocus to address the needs of the group's nations.

"The year 1998 will be crucial in the life of the Organization," said the ambassador, citing preparations for the third regular meeting of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) and the second Summit of the Americas as significant matters for the OAS and the member countries.

After accepting the credentials, Ambassador Thomas, himself from Trinidad and Tobago as well, said he looked forward to working with the new envoy from the twin-island Caribbean republic. He asserted that Ambassador Arneaud's track-record and experience in the private sector would be "heavily called upon."

Directorships at the giant Neal and Massey and other corporations are among Mr. Arneaud's key positions in his country. He has also led prominent trade and investment delegations abroad and, until last year, was president of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

Ambassador Arneaud also paid a courtesy visit on the chairman of the Permanent Council, Suriname's envoy, Ambassador Albert Ramdin. He was accompanied to the OAS by his wife Sharon and senior members of the Trinidad and Tobago mission in Washington.

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