NASSAU, Bahamas – The Bahamas said farewell to United States Ambassador to The Bahamas His Excellency Ned Siegel Wednesday, thanking him for his work in bilateral agreements, HIV/AIDS and breast cancer initiatives.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Brent Symonette acknowledged the accomplishments of the outgoing ambassador at a farewell reception at the British Colonial Hilton.

Ambassador Siegel began his tour of duty on November 14, 2007 as the 12th United States Ambassador to The Bahamas.

“He has aggressively built on the initiatives initiated by his predecessor and undertaken new initiatives that have further deepened relations between our two countries,” Mr. Symonette said.

Those initiatives include an increase in trade and investment by linking Bahamian importers to US suppliers, fostering Bahamas business development and promoting US-Bahamian connection through the US National Guard Partnership Programme with Rhode Island, and continuing to promote energy diversification and sustainable tourism, fishing and agriculture.

Attention was also given to the further advancement of the strategic partnership of Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT), with the continuation of air coverage in October 2007.

Additional new state-of-the-art communications equipment was added to the Nassau Centre to assist the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Turks and Caicos Police Marine Division.

“The Government of The Bahamas views the continued commitment of our respective governments to this operation, which in 2008 marked 20 years of existence, and which continues to play a significant role in interdicting illicit drugs trafficked through The Bahamas, as an exemplary collaboration in fullfillment of our mutual obligations under international drug control treaties,” Mr. Symonette said.

In the area of terrorism, Mr. Symonette pointed to the Crisis Management Training Workshop organised by the TSA in collaboration with the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE), held September 1-5, 2008, with participation from representatives from the Department of Civil Aviation, Airport Authority, National Security, RBDF, Bahamas Customs and Immigration Departments and Nassau Airport Development Company.

Among other accomplishments during Ambassador Siegel’s tenure was the signing of the Cooperation Agreement under the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) between both governments.

“The signing of this agreement demonstrated both countries’ commitment to combating the proliferation and trafficking of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), ensuring that maritime vessels under their flag are not abused by proliferators,” Mr. Symonette said.

Mr. Siegel said he was honoured to have served as United States Ambassador to The Bahamas, which has led to the further strengthening of mutual ties based on common values and beliefs.

He also said that the vision of a “new Embassy compound” means working closely with Bahamians to turn ambitious blue prints into reality.

Ambassador Siegel also paid final courtesy calls on His Excellency Arthur Hanna, Governor General; the Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham, Prime Minister; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and other members of the diplomatic corps.

His departure leaves room for the appointment of a new US ambassador to The Bahamas under the administration of US President-elect Barack Obama.



Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon Brent Symonette, right, presents outgoing United States Ambassador to the Bahamas His Excellency Ned Siegel with a gift from The Bahamas, at a farewell reception Wednesday, January 14 at the British Colonial Hilton.

(BIS Photo/Raymond A Bethel)


His Excellency Arthur Hanna, Governor General of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas heads the list of dignitaries at the farewell reception for outgoing United States Ambassador to the Bahamas His Excellency Ned Siegel, on Wednesday January 14, at the British Colonial Hilton. Pictured are Dr Patricia Rodgers, permanent secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Governor General; Deputy Prime Minster and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon Brent Symonette; and Mrs Stephanie Siegel.

(BIS Photo/Raymond A Bethel)