Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), the top Democrat on the Committee, made the following statement on the nomination Doug “Papa” Manchester as the Ambassador to The Bahamas for the United States:
“The Bahamas is a transit country for illicit drugs bound for the U.S., which means that our ambassador must possess the skills to advance strategic counternarcotics cooperation. In addition, a majority of the estimated 5-6 million tourists visiting the Bahamas are from the United States, requiring unwavering attention to consular services.”
“I am concerned that Mr. Manchester lacks these requirements. He has been described in a number of news reports as abrasive, a poor manager, and prone to verbal tirades. Additionally, he made a number of troubling statements during his nomination hearing, including that ‘the Bahamas is a protectorate of the United States’ and that the U.S. would ‘want to avoid a South China Sea situation’ with the Bahamas. These statements indicate a less than thorough understanding of basic diplomatic and national security issues.”
“I note that U.S. Embassy Nassau has not had an ambassador since 2011, due to difficulties in confirming President Obama’s nominee for the position. Nevertheless, I cannot support Mr. Manchester’s nomination to serve as America’s ambassador to the Bahamas.”
Mr. Manchester was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today with a vote of 11-10 on Tuesday 19 September. All 10 members of the Democratic Party on the Committee voted against him.