Media Center

Press Release


  May 7, 2007

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin today expressed condolences on the passing of Ambassador Val McComie, a longtime Barbadian diplomat and former OAS Assistant Secretary General. McComie, who retired after two five-year terms at the OAS, died last Friday.

In a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Dame Billie Miller, Insulza referred to McComie as “a distinguished international civil servant” and “a source of pride for the government and people of Barbados.” The Secretary General noted that McComie’s memory would be honored this Wednesday at a meeting of the OAS Permanent Council.

Assistant Secretary General Ramdin also conveyed his condolences to McComie’s wife Elia and family. Ambassador Ramdin recalled the important and historic role that McComie played at the OAS, particularly in building stronger relations between the countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. McComie served as Assistant Secretary General from 1980 to 1990—an era characterized by global change and democratization throughout the Americas.

“Ambassador McComie will forever be remembered as a dedicated, sincere and loyal son of the Americas—a genuine Americanist, who will be greatly missed,” the Surinamese Ramdin said of Valerie Theodore McComie, the first Caribbean national to become an elected official in the OAS. “We salute his groundbreaking work in that respect, as he was able to win the confidence of the Latin American region in supporting him.”

Ambassador Ramdin went on to note that the Organization owes the late Ambassador McComie a great debt of gratitude because, among many reasons, as an institution it has benefited immensely from the remarkable talent, insights and leadership of this first-class diplomat who had lent his unswerving vocation to hemispheric ideals of strength through unity. Observing that too often accolades are reserved for individuals only after they die, Ramdin stressed how he was more than gratified that the Organization paid a fitting tribute to this distinguished former Assistant Secretary General in his lifetime, during the General Assembly session hosted in June 2002 in Barbados, the country McComie had represented with utmost distinction at the OAS.

“Val McComie’s diplomatic achievements were not only in the arena of representing his country as Ambassador to the OAS, the United Nations and to governments, including the United States, Brazil and Venezuela, but he was also in fact responsible for negotiating the entry of Barbados into the OAS,” Ambassador Ramdin recalled.

Reference: E-120/07