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On November 16, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Beatrice W. Welters to be the US Ambassador to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The WH released the following official bio below:
Beatrice W. Welters is currently the President and Chairman of the AnBryce Foundation, which provides long-term academic and leadership enrichment programs for underserved youth. Ms. Welters founded the Foundation in 1995. From 1977 to 1991, she worked at IBM where she held several roles, including systems engineer. Ms. Welters was also a past Presidential Appointee to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts serving on its Executive Committee. She continues to serve on the Library of Congress Madison Council. Ms. Welters also serves as a Trustee at the Brookings Institute, the Aspen Institute, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Jesuit Academy, and at the Maret School.
Ms. Welters holds an A.A. from Ulster County Community College, a B.A. from Manhattanville College, and an M.A. from the City University of New York.
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According to Capital Eye, the blog of OpenSecrets.org, Ms. Welters and her husband, Anthony, of McLean, Virginia have bundled between $200,000 and $500,000 for President Barack Obama’s campaign last year and another $100,000 for his inauguration in January. They have also been prolific campaign contributions to federal candidates and committees. The blog notes that Welters is now the twenty-fourth fund-raiser for Obama to be elevated for a diplomatic post with the rank of ambassador.
If confirmed, Ms. Welters would replace Roy L. Austin of Pennsylvania, the presidential friend who was appointed US Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago by George W. Bush from 2001-2009.
If confirmed and if Ms. Welters decide to take on this mission — she would face no less than a substantial challenge in paradise. Our US Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago has made a reputation for itself in two areas: 1) no management officer has fully completed a tour there in 19 years; curtailment of officers is the norm not the exception in this part of paradise; and 2) the previous ambassador according to the OIG, “went through five DCMs” there (that is, five deputy ambassadors in a span of eight years). I’m not sure if that is a record but — well, enough to drive anyone, including me to blame the rain in Port-of-Spain.
But you know what they say about there not being any bad missions … do, please read the OIG report on US Embassy Trinidad and Tobago here. This ambassadorial assignment is not going to be a walk in the park, pardon the cliché.
- President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 11/16/2009
- OIG Report No. ISP-I-09-40A | Inspection of Embassy Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago | July 2009 | PDF