1 May 2002


Prime minister endorses Declaration of Chapultepec

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(IAPA/IFEX) - The following is a 30 April 2002 IAPA press release:

Prime Minister of the Bahamas endorses Declaration of Chapultepec

Miami, April 30 - The Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Hubert A. Ingraham, became the 23rd Head of State in the Americas to support the Declaration of Chapultepec by signing the document during a special ceremony yesterday in Nassau, capital of the archipelago nation of 700 islands in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Declaration was written during a hemispheric conference on freedom of expression that took place in 1994 in Mexico, sponsored by the Inter American Press Association (IAPA). It contains 10 fundamental principles necessary to safeguard a free press. Ingraham, the country's second leader since gaining independence in 1973, stated during the ceremony that his government abides by the principles of Chapultepec and urged future leaders to foster a free press in the Bahamas. This Thursday, the country will hold general elections in which Mr. Ingraham is not a candidate.

Ingraham came to power in 1992, and his election represented a major shift in politics on the islands. His political career has been marked by a constant fight against corruption and drug trafficking.

IAPA Treasurer Earl Maucker headed the IAPA delegation and presented Ingraham with a plaque in recognition of him signing the Declaration of Chapultepec and the Bahamian government's commitment to freedom of expression and press freedom.

Maucker, Editor and Vice President of the Sun-Sentinel newspaper in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, thanked the Prime Minister for including the signing of the Declaration during an elections week. He expressed that, "elections are the backbone of democracy and democracy cannot exist without a free and independent press. A democracy can only exist where citizens can seek and receive information, express opinions and disseminate them freely without restrictions."

He added: "We hope that Prime Minister Ingraham's example will continue to spread throughout the nations that have not signed the Declaration - bringing hope and strength to our struggle in protecting press freedom and freedom of expression."

The signing of the Declaration by the Bahamas also launches an IAPA campaign to obtain the endorsements of the other leaders of English-speaking Caribbean countries. Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will sign the Declaration before Parliament on May 13. Prime Minister Pierre Charles of Dominica has agreed to sign the document on May 17. President Jagdeo of Guyana will sign it in the capital of Georgetown on May 20. The Prime Ministers of Barbados, St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Lucia are considering signing the Declaration. The leaders of Belize, Grenada, and Jamaica have already signed the Declaration of Chapultepec. Also, the IAPA has asked President Venetiaan of the former Dutch colony of Suriname in South America to sign the Declaration on this upcoming tour.


Inter American Press Association
“Jules Dubois Building”
1801 SW 3rd Ave.
Miami, FL. 33129

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