On behalf of the member churches of the Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC), I extend warm greetings to you as you prepare to travel to our Region to attend the Fifth Summit of the Americas. Your election to the office of President of the United States of America is an achievement which filled the hearts of many with admiration and pride and without doubt it will serve certainly as an inspiration to generations both now and in the future.
The CCC, with its thirty-four (34) member churches, is the recognised Regional Ecumenical Organisation (REO) of the Caribbean and one of the earliest development agencies serving the people of the Dutch, English, French and Spanish Caribbean.
Like so many organisations around the world, we have been observing closely the decisions and events of the early days of your new administration. As the benchmark of your first 100 days approaches swiftly, we have noted your efforts to be faithful to the promises made during your long campaign.
You have assumed office at a very difficult time. However, it is also a time when the world longs for new direction and a chance to believe, dream, celebrate, and, above all, hope again.
We pray that by the grace of God you will exercise wisdom and good judgement in your leadership, always cognisant that humanity indeed shares a common destiny.
May your presidency be defined by the promotion of the common good, the protection of human life and dignity and tireless dedication to improving the quality of life – not only for the people of the U.S.A., - but also the wider world, particularly those who are most vulnerable.
The Caribbean Conference of Churches looks forward to the unfolding of an era of meaningful engagement between the countries of our region and the United States of America with a view to confronting decisively the challenges faced by our peoples.
Combating the illegal trade in small arms and light weapons, drug trafficking and transnational crime, the promotion of economic development and fair trading arrangements, the impact of the global financial crisis, human development, HIV/AIDS, climate change, and the reconstruction of Haiti are, in our view, among the most urgent priorities for the Caribbean.
In addition, there can be no doubt that the time has come for consideration to be given by the United States to adopting a more constructive approach toward the eventual normalisation of relations with Cuba.
The CCC supports the consistently overwhelming call of Member States of the United Nations for the unilateral economic embargo imposed 46 years ago to be lifted for the benefit of the people of Cuba, and the entire region.
We welcome the recent announcement by the United States Congress in favour of easing restrictions in relation to travel and the sending of remittances, medicines and food to Cuba and hold the view that such actions together with dialogue conducted on the basis of mutual respect are positive and dignified means of supporting the process of long-lasting transformation by Cuba.
It is our hope that as you exercise your duties in the coming years you will remain strong in character, faithful to your core values and always receptive to different points of view.
Be assured of our prayers for the success of your term of office and for the wellbeing of your young family.
Please accept, Mr. President, the assurances of my highest regards.
Gerard A. J. Granado (sgd)
Caribbean Conference of Churches
March 12, 2009