By Robert A. Emmanuel
Prime Minister Gaston Browne has openly criticised the current Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, over his highly divisive tenure.
Browne’s comments followed the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM’s) rejection of Almagro’s unilateral decision to recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.
Almagro, a Uruguayan lawyer, diplomat and politician, was elected Secretary General of the OAS in March 2015 and has been one of the most critical international voices against the Nicolas Maduro regime.
In April 2019, Almagro called for the increase in sanctions against what he called the “Venezuelan dictators”, said that the Cuban government was responsible for what is happening in Venezuela, and that the use of force in the Venezuelan crisis should not be ruled out.
Speaking at the dedication ceremony of the local United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) Science and Innovation Park, Prime Minister Browne told attendees that the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Maria Fernanda Espinosa, would be a better leader at the helm of the regional institution.
“Presently, we have a problem within the OAS; we have a Secretary-General who is an authority unto himself,” he said.
“He’s destroying all the rules of the OAS, undermining all of the values of the OAS, and I want to signal to all the countries in this hemisphere that perhaps the best person to hold that office at this time is none other than Maria Espinosa.”
Browne also praised the UNGA president for her “global leadership on this issue of plastic pollution and eliminating the use of plastics, especially single-use plastics”.
“I want to commend you on behalf of all of us, especially those of us here in the Caribbean who are dependent on our oceans for tourism in particular,” he said, adding that Espinosa has been an inspiration for many women in the hemisphere.
The Prime Minister said that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda will be eager to nominate Espinosa, once it receives support from the government of Ecuador, of which she is a citizen.
“Madam President, I know that your tenure as the President of the General Assembly will come to an end and I hope you will consider the offer of Antigua and Barbuda to nominate you jointly with the government of Ecuador to serve as the next Secretary-General of the OAS,” Browne said.
“That’s not an idle request. On the basis that your government would have agreed, Antigua and Barbuda will join you, and make a recommendation to get somebody sensible with the skills, with the emotional intelligence and someone who is obviously uniting in her discourse to bring the entire hemisphere together rather than having the present divisive situation that exists at the OAS,” he declared.