BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, April 13, 2018 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris has arrived in London, as the British capital gears up for the arrival of some 50-plus Commonwealth Heads of Government as they prepare for the organization’s biannual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
The main theme for CHOGM 2018 is “Towards a Common Future.” Heads of Government of Commonwealth from 53 nations are expected to discuss various topics important to advancing the future of the Commonwealth.
The high-level meetings are also expected to focus on sub-themes such as building a more prosperous future in order to boost intra-Commonwealth trade and investment which is expected to exceed US$1 Trillion by 2020. Heads will also discuss how to deliver a more secure future by increasing cooperation across borders, as well as addressing the varied security challenges such as fighting radical extremism and global terrorism, organised crime and cyber-attacks.
Also, important to Heads of Government is examining how, by working together and exchanging best practices, they can better deliver on a fairer future for the Commonwealth.
Prime Minister Harris insists that, “It is extremely important and timely that we as Heads come together and work towards creating a system that better enables and allow for wider participation of our citizens in development, and to have better access to the levers of people empowerment.”
The Prime Minister added that “we must ensure gender equality, build stronger democracies, protect fundamental freedoms and promote good governance and the rule of law across the Commonwealth.”
Likewise, Heads will focus on the imperative of building a more sustainable future by committing to work together to help build resilience in small and vulnerable states so that they are better able to adapt, mitigate and respond to the effects of climate change and other crises. The St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister, added that, “Whilst communiques are important to signal what we would have discussed and committed to; it is far more important, and justifiably as a measure of how we would be judged, to put words into action.”
The prime minister went on to stress that “the Federation’s participation in CHOGM 2018 reflects my government’s commitment to the Commonwealth and working within these multilateral frameworks to address global commons and in achieving our common goals of promoting prosperity, security and fairness for our people on a more sustainable basis.”
In reflecting on the themes, Dr. Harris added that “St. Kitts and Nevis welcomes the focus of the Women’s Forum given my government’s efforts in prioritising the education and empowerment of women and the creation of equal opportunities for young girls in the Federation.”
The Honourable Hazel Brandy-Williams, Minister of Health and Gender Affairs in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) will participate in the Commonwealth Women’s Forum on the theme, ‘An Empowered Future for Women and Girls.’
CHOGM 2018 runs from April 16th to 20th. During his visit to London, Prime Minister Harris is expected to have an audience at Buckingham Palace and to engage with Her Majesty and Members of the Royal Family. A Retreat, which is exclusively for Heads of Government, takes place at Windsor Castle on April 20.
Prime Minister Harris, however, begins his visit to the capital city with a townhall meeting with St. Kitts and Nevis nationals living in the UK on Sunday, April 15.
The Prime Minister is accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mark Brantley; Cabinet Secretary, Mrs. Josephine Huggins; Permanent Secretaries Ms. Kaye Bass of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Andrew Skerritt in the Office of the Prime Minister; and St. Kitts and Nevis High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency Dr. Kevin Isaac.