Her Excellency, Sonia M. Johnny, Ambassador of Saint Lucia to the United States of America presented her credentials to the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama at the Oval Office of the White House on September 19, 2012.
Although a momentous occasion which brought together the first African American President of the United States and the first female Ambassador of Saint Lucia , the experience was a not a first for the senior diplomat, who had served her country in this capacity from 1997-2006. Ambassador Johnny had last presented credentials as St Lucia’s Ambassador to the United States to President William Clinton in 1997.
In her statement, Ambassador Johnny conveyed the warm wishes of the Government and People of Saint Lucia and their expressed desire to continue the excellent relationship shared between the two nations. She also emphasized the importance of cooperation among states and the need to work together in partnership to meet common challenges.
In this regard, St Lucia was encouraged by the US/Caribbean initiative adopted two years ago, in its fight to eliminate illegal trafficking, transnational criminal organizations; as well as its attempts to drastically reduce the effect which transnational crime has on citizen security. Ambassador Johnny further assured the President of Saint Lucia’s commitment to working closely with the United States to root out and eradicate criminal activities.
President Barack Obama stressed his firm commitment to the continued friendly relationship enjoyed between Saint Lucia and the United States as well as working with Her Excellency in advancing their common agenda. He acknowledged that she had taken up the post at an opportune time, following the 2012 Summit of the Americas, where the nations of the Western Hemisphere pledged to work together, and that her long experience as a diplomat and working with the OAS will stand her in good stead with the regional development agenda particularly the Caribbean Basin Security initiative with its focus on a collaborative approach to ensure citizen security.
During the visit at the White House the President also remarked that he was aware of Ambassador Johnny’s excellent service to her country during her previous tenure and was confident that despite the challenges she might encounter, this period would produce even greater advancements for her country.