CASTRIES, St. Lucia, May 10, CMC – Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Director General Dr. Len Ishmael has praised Brazil for its “strong and continued commitment” to strengthening cooperation, as the South American nation formally presented its second ambassador to the nine-nation grouping on Wednesday.
Ambassador Joaquim Augusto Whitaker Salles, presented his credentials to the director general to become Brazil’s second Ambassador/Resident Representative to the OECS. Whitaker Salles was preceded by João Batista Cruz who ended his tour of duty earlier this year.
“Relations between Brazil and the OECS and indeed the wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have been improving over the years, at the hemispheric, regional and bilateral levels, and the many initiatives that have been undertaken thus far signal that our relations have deepended,” she said.
Ishmael listed current cooperation initiatives between Brazil and the OECS, praising Brazilian generosity as a major partner in the regionally administered programme that provides antiretroviral medicines to over 700 people living with HIV/AIDS across the region.
She thanked Brazil for extending its commitment to the region’s fight to decrease the death and illness rates among people with HIV/AIDS.
“I specifically expressed my gratitude on behalf of the governments and peoples of region to the Brazillian authorities for agreeing to extend this cooperation agreement over another two years in order to allow for uninterrupted supply of ARVs to patients until 2013,” the director general said.
She also mentioned the collaboration in training diplomats between the OECS Secretariat and Brazil’s diplomatic school, the Rio Branco Institute of the Ministry of External Relations.
That arrangement commits both parties to cooperate on exchange of information and experiences through research, study and cultural exchanges aimed at fostering greater understanding and awareness between their peoples.
The director general said: “This partnership has resulted in the provision by the Rio Branco Institute in 2011, of a one-year scholarship worth over 100,000 Brazilian reals (51,151 US dollars) to one OECS candidate to pursue training at its diplomatic academy.”
Ishmael said the future of relations with Brazil holds much promise.
Whitaker Salles reassured the OECS chief of Brazil’s full commitment, under the leadership of new president Dilma Rouseff, to the processes of regional integration and South-South cooperation.
“Brazil’s commitment to both processes is amply demonstrated by its leadership in establishing the new Community of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC), a hemispheric organization that aims to foster cooperation and collaboration between its Members on issues of mutual concern,” the diplomat said.
Brazil established relations with the OECS Secretariat on September 23 2009 and has established embassies in all six independent member states of the OECS.