Media Center

Press Release


  March 17, 2006

The Organization of American States (OAS) is “reengineering” its strategic agenda to emphasize the vital link between democracy on the one hand, and human rights, integral development and multidimensional security on the other. That is the assurance from Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin, who argues that while economic integration and trade liberalization hold great promise for the Americas, “growth without distribution, which benefits only the few, is not sustainable, and will ultimately undermine democracy and governability.”

Among pragmatic strategies, Ambassador Ramdin called for simultaneously addressing political and developmental priorities while focusing on the promotion of a mutually enforcing agenda. “We need to provide consistent, stable, enforced and transparent rules for the private sector to invest and generate productive employment. We need a healthy and well-educated work force that can live in peace and achieve prosperity. We need a social safely net to care for the neediest in our societies to fulfill our commitment to community.”

Delivering the keynote address this week at the Inter-American Luncheon Series, jointly sponsored by Caribbean Central American Action, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Inter-American Council, Ambassador Ramdin restated the urgent need for collective responsibility to build and maintain environments that support domestic and hemispheric objectives of peace and security, justice, social equity, development and good governance. “This is our challenge and our responsibility to provide hope and opportunity for all the citizens of the Americas,” he told the luncheon guests in Washington, stressing that a political space that is more inclusive of all groups in society is essential for moving forward a comprehensive socio-economic and development agenda.

Noting that although democracy is generally entrenched in the Americas, Ramdin lamented rising unemployment, poverty, crime and social and political unrest in several countries. Added to that, he said many countries, especially the vulnerable economies in the Caribbean and Central America, “annually face the threat of hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters that can devastate the economy and place a burden on recovery and reconstruction for years.”

Acknowledging that no government or organization has a magic bullet or a quick fix for the multiple challenges of improving democracy and delivering the development, Ramdin argued for broad-based dialogue and collective action, to make an impact in the daily lives of all the citizens of the Americas.
Ramdin also underscored positive developments, including women rising to the pinnacle of government in the Americas. He congratulated the newly installed Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, and Prime Minister-Designate in Jamaica, Portia Simpson Miller. “It is a significant step forward and a positive development for democratic governance when citizens vote their interests, priorities and concerns, regardless of gender,” Ramdin stated.

Reference: E-064/06