Ambassador Newry Retires from the Diplomatic Service

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Bahamas Ambassador to the Republic of Haiti His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry speaks to Lindsay Thompson, Senior Information Officer, Bahamas Information Services about his retirement from the Diplomatic Corp and future plans as a private citizen, at the hotel La Montana in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The interview climaxed a trade mission to Haiti conducted by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, September 23 to 26. (Photo: Bahamas Chamber of Commerce)

By: Lindsay Thompson

PORT–AU-PRINCE, Haiti –The Bahamas’ Ambassador to Haiti, His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry is officially retiring from the Diplomatic Service.

Dr. Newry’s tour of duty ends October 14, but he said he would “stay around” in the private sector and assist where possible in the further development of The Bahamas and of Haiti where he served as Ambassador for the past five years.

Dr Newry, who turned 72 on October 4, was a top local neurosurgeon before he took up the post as The Bahamas Ambassador to the Republic of Haiti five years ago. He also served as Ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

The Ambassador’s term was marred by the shooting of his wife in the hip on April 17, 2004, while at a marketplace in Port Au Prince. He was recalled the following day. Dr. Newry had been previously recalled on February 26 of that year, during the height of an uprising that eventually led to the ouster of President Jean Bertrand Aristide.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Brent Symonette recently said his office is reviewing various overseas posts and that a full complement of overseas diplomats will be announced shortly.

“It is not unusual for Governments to look at different postings. Mr. Newry has been in Haiti for a while. It’s always good to have a rotation of officers,” Mr. Symonette said.

During an interview in Haiti, Dr. Newry talked about his tenure and his future plans.

“From our national point of view, I will certainly give all my means, my connections, my knowledge to my successor, whoever that might be. And I would be available 24/7 to help them because that person represents my country,” he said.

Dr Newry accompanied the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce on its recent trade mission to Haiti. The purpose was to explore possible trade arrangements between businesspersons of both countries.

By living and working in Haiti, Dr. Newry said he came to realise that Haiti is “a sleeping giant”.

“There are many opportunities for Bahamians to tap into,” he noted.

“Haiti could supply over 67 percent of the Bahamian market,” Dr. Newry added. “Now because of Haiti’s structure, especially at the level of labour and availability of agricultural land, that could save The Bahamas at least 30 percent of what it spends on agriculture.

“We could actually make money by trading with Haiti. The Chamber has finally seen the wisdom of this visit. It is now up to the Chamber to do the studies.

Ambassador Newry advised that the Government’s role would be to formulate regulations in order to facilitate trade arrangements with Haiti.

He noted that Haiti and The Bahamas has had relationships for the past 200 years, longer than any other country. Haiti has more of its “blood relations” in The Bahamas than in any country in the world.

“Now, they have greater numbers in other places but relative to the Bahamian basic population, we have the largest. Therefore, we have done for Haitians more than any other country in the world – not the United States, not Canada; in terms of how we integrated people in the past 50 years,” he said

According to Dr. Newry, the biggest change in Haiti, both at the level of the elite and at the level of the average person is the matter of working together for the betterment of the country.

“The Haitians, more than any other people of the Caribbean, are desperately hungry for education. In fact, there are more schools and educational facilities in this country per square mile than in any other place in the Caribbean,” Dr. Newry said.