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July 1, 1999



Sir Arlington Griffith Butler, the Ambassador of the Bahamas to the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, took over on Thursday as Chairman of the Organization’s Permanent Council.

Chairmanship of the Council, the second most powerful OAS forum, which the Bahamian Ambassador will steer for the next three months, follows the alphabetical order of the member countries of the hemispheric institution.

On accepting the gavel, Ambassador Butler said he would put among his first priorities getting the various committees constituted to move ahead on the hemispheric agenda, particularly mandates arising from the recent General Assembly. He said as the next to the last Chairman before the new millenium, he hoped to collaborate to the fullest with the member governments’ representatives and the secretariat to realize this effort.

Ambassador Flavio Darío Espinal of the Dominican Republic, who was Vice Chairman for the last three-month stint, handed over on behalf of the Chairman, Argentina’s Ambassador Julio César Araoz, who could not attend.

Sir Arlington has been his country’s Permanent Representative to the OAS for the past three years. Before coming to Washington, he was a government minister holding various portfolios and was also Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Secretary General César Gaviria and Assistant Secretary General Ambassador Christopher R. Thomas were among the dignitaries witnessing the changing of the guard at the Permanent Council.