PAHO Director-elect Dr. Carissa Etienne

The island’s three political parties have joined voices in congratulating Dr. Carissa Etienne on her election as Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Dr. Etienne, who is from the village of Massacre, was elected on Wednesday by PAHO Member States during the 28th Pan American Sanitary Conference in Washington DC.

“On behalf of the United Workers Party I congratulate Dr. Etienne on her achievement,” Political Leader of the UWP, Edison James, told Dominica News Online. “I am sure she will draw on her years of experience in medicine and administration in Dominica and the World Health Organization to deliver in her new position.”

He said the UWP looks forward to a successful 5-year tenure for Dr. Etienne in the top PAHO position.

He also pointed out that she was elected on her abilities and not necessarily the politics involved in the entire voting process. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit had said in congratulatory comments following Dr. Etienne’s election, that it was a sign that his administration’s foreign policy is working and of the admiration and influence that the government of Dominica has in the international and regional communities.

In a release, the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) congratulated Dr. Etienne saying her wealth of experience will lead to success in her job.

“Dr. Etienne’s wealth of expertise, experience and exposure in the field of health care over the last thirty years at the local, national, regional and international levels augurs well for her success as Head of one of the world’s leading health organizations,” the DFP said in a release.

The DFP also congratulated the government of the Commonwealth of Dominica, CARICOM and other countries in the International Community that supported Dr. Etienne’s candidacy and was confident of her capacity and commitment to contribute to the promotion and development of health care at the highest international level.  “We extend congratulations to her family and all those in Dominica and elsewhere who prayed for her success and wish her well in her new post,” the DFP said.

The Dominica Labour Party also extended its congratulation to Dr. Etienne on her elevation to her new post.

“Dr. Etienne’s election to the top position of this hemispheric body, which is the oldest international organization focusing on public health, brings tremendous pride to all Dominicans and should therefore serve as a unifying moment for all of us,” the DLP said in a release. “On the eve of the celebration of the 34th anniversary of our political Independence and with a view to further cementing our bonds of nationhood, the Dominica Labour Party calls on all patriots and patriotic organizations to do the same.”

The DLP also congratulated the government and all organizations that played a role in securing the necessary votes for Dr. Etienne’s election.

Dr. Etienne will begin her five-year mandate on February 1, 2013 replacing Dr. Mirta Roses Periago who has been PAHO’s Director since February 1, 2003.

See video below of the voting and acceptance speech of Dr. Etienne.