Following remarks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Mary M. Ourisman shares her thoughts on U.S. relations with Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.AMBASSADOR OURISMAN: Well, we have very, very good and strong relationships with all of the countries to where I’m assigned. We share a great deal. And the fact that we are all English-speaking nations, we’re all democracies; however, some are newer democracies than others. Many of them are developing countries. But overall, I would say we have a very good relationship with all of the countries to where I’m assigned.
I did make the commitment to the President when I became ambassador that I would be ambassador to all seven nations. And although our Embassy is in Bridgetown, Barbados where our employees and State Department employees are, as well as locally employed people, we run most of our programs out of the Embassy.
And we use other facilities, and -- when we travel to host events, and particularly, we have ship visits that come from the Southern Command. We recently had our Fourth of July in St. Lucia, which is one of the countries of the OECS. And we did that aboard American ship. And so we constantly are doing those types of things. For election night, for instance, although the primary party for election night was in Barbados at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence, we also had parties in all other six countries.
We reach out as often as we can with the other countries. And that night particularly, we had television coverage, local television coverage from our embassy that was carried live in 22 countries around the Caribbean.
The election was really overwhelming for locals. People stayed till 2:30 in the morning, and they were not there just to party, they were there to listen to McCain’s speech, which I thought was very gracious, and then to hear Obama make his speech. And it was very silent at that part of the night. People were really paying attention, there were tears in the eyes. So I think this election has been a very good thing, particularly for our region.
Read more about U.S. diplomacy throughout the Americas in Common Values, Shared Interests: The United States and Its Promise in the Western Hemisphere.