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oasThe first meeting of the Permanent council for 2016 for the Organization of American States (OAS) was held last week at the OAS headquarters in Washington DC.

According to Caribbean 360, a news webpage, at the meeting the new chairman of the Council, Sir Ronald Sanders said that the institution is facing a serious existential threat with its funds almost empty.

The Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador, who was chairing the meeting, expressed his concern at this major problem by saying Quote “we are deeply concerned about the financial health of the organization profoundly anxious about its capacity to continue to operate and to serve the interests of the people of our 34 member states”. End Quote

Sir Donald also told the ambassadors present at the meeting that the organization began the year with a deficit of almost US$19.7 million, and that the organization has no reserve funds because it was utilized to keep the organization functioning.

Sir Ronald pointed out that while non-payment of fees by a few member states contributed seriously to the bankruptcy of the OAS, failure to deal with systemic problems over the last seven years is the primary cause of the present crisis.

In an attempt to resolve this issue Sir Ronald proposed a holistic approach to combat the situation. He appointed three Committees of the Council, one of which he will chair himself to deal with arrears of membership dues; a second to be chaired by the Ambassador of Canada, Jennifer Lowten on the management and financial future of the OAS; and a third chaired by the Ambassador of Barbados, John Beale, to produce a realistic budget for the institution.

The newly formed committees are to report to the Permanent Council which is the body for governance of the organization.

Sir Ronald also mentioned that he was very pleased with the productive approach of all Ambassadors at the meeting and their declared willingness to cure the problems.

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