It is with great pleasure that I receive this letter from Secretary of State Colin Powell, designating you as Plenipotentiary Representative of the United States of America to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
As noted in Secretary Powell’s letter, you Ambassador Bullen, are a career member of the Foreign Service of the USA and assumed duties in Guyana in August of last year, having served previously in diplomatic missions in other Caribbean countries, Central and South America and in Africa. I congratulate you on this additional appointment. In doing so, I must also pay tribute to your predecessor, His Excellency Ronald Godard who I know worked towards making the accreditation of a Plenipotentiary Representative of the USA to CARICOM the reality it is today.
Excellency, since your appointment as Ambassador of the United States to Guyana, we have engaged in discussions on the enhancement of US-Caribbean relations – a relationship to which we attach the greatest importance. I am aware that like Secretary Powell, you are rooted in the Caribbean, having been born in Grenada. You are therefore acutely aware of the norms and values that underpin the day-to-day lives of the people of this Region. This advantage should serve you in good stead in the pursuit of this objective during your tour of duty here.
You will recall, Excellency, that when the Leaders of the Caribbean and of the United States met in Monterrey on 12 January 2004, they issued a Joint Statement in which they recognized the interdependence between the USA and the Caribbean region and the importance of close cooperation to combat new and emerging transnational threats that endanger the fabric of our respective societies. They therefore underlined the need and committed themselves, to work together in support of initiatives that create a deeper awareness and broader mutual understanding of the Caribbean and the USA.
As Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community to which you are now being accredited, I will make it my duty to ensure that the information you may require in pursuit of the undertakings by our Leaders, will be forthcoming as part of the engagement between CARICOM and the USA. I pledge to do so in free, fair and open dialogue and communication as mandated by the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in the Region’s relations with its partners in the international community.
Excellency, just last week in St Kitts and Nevis, I participated in a video-conference involving senior officials of the US Government and Ministers of CARICOM. During those discussions, US officials stressed the need to ensure that a full agenda is developed and maintained between the USA and CARICOM. They welcomed in particular, the timing of your presentation of this letter as well as the upcoming meetings in pursuance of the Third Border Initiative, in particular that with the Secretary for Homeland Security, Mr. Tom Ridge. We are equally pleased that in addition, CARICOM and US senior officials will soon be meeting under the CARICOM-US Joint Committee on Development, Finance and Environmental issues.
A number of initiatives will form part of the full agenda designed to enhance cooperation between the USA and the Caribbean Community in the diplomatic, security, economic, environmental, health and education arenas. In the area of Health, already we note with pleasure your personal involvement in the HIV/AIDS programme in Guyana and by extension the work of the Regional Initiative spearheaded by the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS coordinated by the CARICOM Secretariat. In this regard, we anticipate collaborating with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Senator Tommy Thompson in a Second CARICOM/US Consultation on HIV/AIDS. It is my hope that this Consultation would lead to concrete results such as getting the ARV Drugs to the people living with HIV/AIDS. From your pronouncement and action, we know that CARICOM has an ally in this venture.
Excellency, my staff at the Secretariat and I therefore stand ready to ensure that the arrangements which have been finalized by your presentation of this letter today, will redound to the lasting benefit of the Caribbean Community and of the United States.
Against this background, it is therefore my pleasure, Excellency, to accept your letter accrediting you as Plenipotentiary Representative of the United States of America to the Caribbean Community.