BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, December 19, 2023 (SKNIS) – During his intervention on the 2024 Budget in the National Assembly on December 19, Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas said through strategic and timely interventions over the past 15 months, the Dr. Terrance Drew Administration has reconnected St. Kitts and Nevis with the rest of the world, and will, in turn, leverage these renewed relationships to help the Federation realize its development agenda.
Senior Minister Douglas said the positive relationships that have blossomed with top diplomatic officials around the world have so far resulted in the facilitation of trade, training and scholarship opportunities and a relief in travel requirements.
“Madam Speaker, our nationals continue to take up opportunities for study in Cuba and this year, we had three graduates—a doctor of medicine, a civil engineer and a health technologist; all important additions to our cadre of Cuban-trained professionals here in the Federation. In addition, seven of our nationals were able to access medical care in Cuba. Two were totally funded by the Cuban government itself and another three were partially funded,” Dr. Douglas said.
Furthermore, the Foreign Minister made specific mention of the work carried out at the High Commission in Ottawa, Canada that has resulted in a number of significant benefits to the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis, including travel facilitation.
“Canada’s decision to relax its restriction for travel with St. Kitts and Nevis and Canada is the consequence of a multi-channel, strategic communication and diplomatic campaign executed by the team at the High Commission and at the political level,” Dr. Douglas said. “Today, I recognise the work that was initiated by former minister [Patrice] Nisbett and that was continued to a large extent and taken to the highest level by [Hon. Mark Brantley] when he served as foreign minister. I want to also commend the High Commissioners that spanned that period – Her Excellency Shirley Skerritt and also Her Excellency Sherry Tross, who, under her watch, continued to really hammer this until our goal was achieved.”
The honourable senior minister credited the successful staging of Diplomatic Week 2023, in St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Independence 40 celebrations both of which allowed for high-level conversations with dozens of visiting diplomatic partners with the strategic objective of nurturing the relationships that helped in the pursuit of the Sustainable Island State Agenda.
The Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas concluded his presentation on the operations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by commending the hard-working teams at the different embassies and high commissions around the world who are “working to realise the national agenda for pushing St. Kitts and Nevis forward and for the sustainable development agenda to continue.”