The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

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Media Release

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
22 January 2001

Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to Barbados

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Winfred Peppinck as High Commissioner for Australia to Barbados, resident in Bridgetown, with concurrent accreditation to 11 other Caribbean countries.  Mr Peppinck will replace Mr Paul Smith who has been High Commissioner since March 1998.

Australia's main focus in the Caribbean is the Commonwealth.  Eleven of Bridgetown's accreditations are Commonwealth members with whom we share cultural, historical, legal, political and sporting links.  This relationship, forged by shared history, continues to play an important role in Australia's foreign policy.  It will be especially significant as Australia prepares to host the 2001 CHOGM in Brisbane and the 47th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Canberra.  Cricket also remains an enduring link.

Testimony to the vitality of our Commonwealth-based links with the Caribbean is the active role played by Australian Legal Resources International in supplying judges to assist in a number of Caribbean countries.  This would not be possible without our shared legal history which has produced legal systems among which judges can move freely.

Australia has important multilateral interests in the Caribbean and we have similar views on many multilateral issues.  Although each of the Caribbean nations is small in global terms, their combined voting power lends CARICOM, the regional organisation, an impressive voice in international institutions.

Mr Peppinck will be responsible for Australia's relations with the International Seabed Authority in Kingston and will lead Australia's delegation to meetings of the Authority.

The Australian High Commission in Bridgetown has put considerable effort into supporting Australian exporters and opportunities will improve as the region responds to the challenges of trade liberalisation.

Mr Peppinck joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1975. He has served overseas in Brasilia, South Africa, Uganda and Indonesia. In Canberra (1983-84 and 1988-90), he was the Department's Parliamentary Liaison Officer and was seconded as Senior Adviser to the President of the Senate where he served three Presidents.  On his return to the Department, Mr Peppinck was Director of the Defence and Global Security Section and since June 2000, he has been Executive Director of the Department's Treaties Secretariat.

Educated at the University of Western Australia, Mr Peppinck has a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours in Politics.  He was born in The Hague in 1946 and is married with two children.  Mr Peppinck is fluent in Dutch.

Media contacts:
(Ministerial) Matt Francis (02) 6277 7500
(Departmental) Julie McDonald (02) 6261-1555


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