Media Center

Press Release


  May 25, 2005

Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin, the Surinamese diplomat seeking to be Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), asserted today that if elected, he would actively pursue strategies to better equip the organization to help member states. He cited democracy and good governance, human rights, and promotion of social justice and equality and reduction of poverty among urgent priorities.

Outlining his vision to an OAS Permanent Council meeting, chaired by Peru’s Ambassador Alberto Borea, Ramdin argued that OAS modernization, restructuring and revitalization as top priority requires creativity, political judgment and managerial skill on the part of the new administrative leadership. While commending the OAS for its many important initiatives that benefit the citizens of the Americas, Ramdin said that the organization must continue to vigorously combat drug trafficking and trans-border crime, promote transparency and fight corruption; tackle gender issues and HIV/AIDS; and take pre-emptive action to mitigate the impact of natural disasters. He suggested that reviewing the membership quota system and finding new financing from other OAS participants could be explored as options that could help address the budget problem.

And, addressing questions from member state ambassadors, Ramdin observed that the Haiti situation calls for strong commitment from the international community over the long term. He urged continued OAS and United Nations engagement, noting the importance of elections scheduled for later this year in Haiti.

On the central role of democracy, Ambassador Ramdin cited the Inter-American Democratic Charter, stating that “the relationship between democracy, development and security is a critical one.” He also stressed that every effort must be made to “leave no state behind.” He said this would create stronger partnerships among the member states. “It is only when countries can find themselves in a collective and constructive engagement on topics of common interest that the Organization can flourish and demonstrate its relevance and effectiveness in the service of its members.”

Saying he shares the vision and agenda articulated by the incoming Secretary General, Chilean Interior Minister José Miguel Insulza, Ambassador Ramdin pledged he would work closely with Insulza, who will be formally installed Thursday. Ramdin also commended Ambassador Luigi Einaudi for his leadership as Acting Secretary General for a number of months.

An ambassador-at-large for Suriname and that government’s advisor on Western Hemisphere affairs, Ramdin is a former ambassador to the OAS and former Assistant Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Nicaragua’s former Foreign Affairs Minister Ernesto Leal is the other candidate vying for the post of OAS Assistant Secretary General, for which elections will be held at the OAS General Assembly in Fort Lauderdale in early June.

Reference: E-101/05