The following is the text of remarks
delivered by Nicole A. Avant, the 13th United States' ambassador to The
Bahamas, on presenting her Letters of Credence to Governor General His
Excellency Arthur D. Hanna at Government House on Thursday, October 22,
Your Excellency, I am honoured to come before you today as the 13th
Ambassador of the United States of America to the Commonwealth of The
Bahamas. I thank you, Your Excellency, and I thank the Government of
the Commonwealth of The Bahamas for accepting my credentials as
My family has a long connection to The Bahamas and I bring to my
service as Ambassador a lifetime of experience in philanthropy,
politics and culture. I intend to draw on this expertise to promote new
opportunities between our countries. I am honoured and humbled to stand
Your Excellency, the United States and The Bahamas enjoy a close and
productive bilateral partnership rooted in the many direct ties between
our people. The Bahamian and American people share a commitment to the
values of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. It
is these values, together with our common interests and geographic
proximity that make The Bahamas one of our closest partners in the
During my tenure as Ambassador, I will work closely with the Government of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas to:
* Protect our borders through programs designed to combat the
transshipment of illicit drugs and the smuggling of illegal migrants
* Enhance our joint efforts against terrorism.
* Build prosperity and economic security for our peoples.
* Defend and promote human rights and democratic ideals.
I will work to ensure that Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos, which
is one of the most successful counter-drug operations in the world,
receives our full support and resources.
My Embassy will also continue to support the partnership between the
Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the U.S. Coast Guard to deter illegal
migration; a significant concern to both of our countries.
Our mutual cooperation is vital to preventing weapons proliferation
and to defeating terrorists that threaten our way of life. The United
States and The Bahamas took important steps in the past by establishing
the Megaports and Container Security Initiative programs in Freeport. I
commend The Bahamas on its recent signing of the Proliferation Security
Initiative, which facilitates our global cooperation to search any
vessel on the high seas suspected of carrying components or weapons of
mass destruction – an important issue given that The Bahamas has the
world's third largest ship registry. I look forward to supporting these
programs and partnering on similar successful programs during my
In these challenging economic times, I believe that one of the most
effective ways to ensure security and stability for our people is to
partner on programs that promote economic prosperity, development and
Our economic partnerships are, of course, rooted in the extensive
tourism and business travel that occurs each year between The Bahamas
and the United States. To support this flow of people and ideas, I will
ensure that my Embassy's Consular Section provides first-rate visa
services for Bahamians and vital assistance to U.S. Citizens.
To ensure economic security, we must also lay the groundwork to
protect the environment. The Bahamas is well situated to take advantage
of its abundant renewable energy sources; sun, wind, and ocean
currents; and to provide for its own energy needs while developing new
technologies and industries to export to the Caribbean region. As
Ambassador, I will support sustainable energy and other programs
designed to raise environmental awareness and create new economic
The United States and The Bahamas share a love of freedom,
longstanding democratic traditions, and respect for human rights. While
it is each government's responsibility to protect these rights for its
own citizens, we also share a larger responsibility to stand up for
these rights wherever they are threatened. And, where freedom and
democracy are taking root, we must work together to nurture and to
protect these sacred principles. In President Obama's recent address to
the United Nations General Assembly, he noted that governments of the
people and by the people are more likely to act in the broader
interests of their own people, rather than narrow interests of those in
Therefore, while we join forces to build a better world, I also look
forward to working here in The Bahamas to build a better future for the
Bahamian people. We have a strong record of doing so.
Over the years, our Embassy has been a strong supporter of issues
ranging from women's health to child literacy, HIV awareness and the
challenges of the disabled through our support of the Special Olympics.
We have also partnered to sponsor numerous training programs and
workshops in the areas of law enforcement, intellectual property,
energy, business development and freedom of the press.
Our embassy staff and family members have volunteered their personal
time to mentor troubled youth, assist victims of domestic violence and
to participate in environmental clean-up campaigns. My family and I
look forward to continuing this outstanding record of support.
Finally, our embassy will also continue to offer on-going support
for private, U.S-based investment and development in the Bahamas.
As exemplified by these many civic programs, the United States
Embassy is more than just a bridge between our two governments. It is
also a bridge between our people and our societies. I intend to use my
time in your beautiful and blessed country to build many new bridges
between our governments and our people.
I believe that this is why President Obama asked me to represent him
and the American people in The Bahamas. He understands that our
relationship with The Bahamas is essential to our national security.
But the President and Secretary Clinton also believe that we can
achieve even more together and I look forward to doing so.
Your Excellency, in beginning my tenure as the 13th Ambassador of
the United States of America to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, I
commit myself to deepening this extraordinary partnership of shared
purpose and common values.