BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CUOPM) -- The Federation of St Kitts and Nevis and Colombia have agreed to strengthen their bi-lateral relations.
Luis Guillermo Martinez-Fernandez, Colombian ambassador, who presented his credentials to Governor General of St Kitts and Nevis, Sir Edmund Lawrence, on Wednesday, met with Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas, on Thursday. He also met with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Patrice Nisbett.
Douglas and Martinez-Fernandez discussed several areas of cooperation, including training, cooperation in the interdiction of the drug trade and tourism, including the upcoming regional tourism meeting.
Douglas noted that Colombia is considered to be an integral part of the Caribbean, as Colombia holds the secretary-general position of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).
At the 17th ordinary meeting of the Ministerial Council on February 10, 2012, Colombia’s candidate, Dr Munera Cavadia, was elected as secretary general of the ACS, following overtures to governments in the region made by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
During the thirty-second meeting of heads of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), held in St Kitts and Nevis, he urged CARICOM heads to “look to the South”, and stated that Colombia “wanted to give special importance and priority to the needs of the Caribbean region.”
Colombia’s foreign minister, Maria Angela Holguin, explained that the country’s focus on geographic and thematic diversification of the foreign policy agenda is to promote the nation’s interests and open opportunities for investors, industrialists and businessmen in that country.
The focus on the Caribbean was seen in the initiative of the foreign ministry on south-south cooperation mechanisms aimed at enhancing Colombia’s Caribbean identity and promoting an effective articulation with the other states of the Caribbean basin.
In 2012, Colombia expressed a willingness to strengthen bilateral relations with St Kitts and Nevis.
On November 13, 2012, the vice minister of Colombia, Monica Lanzetta Mutis, met with the permanent secretary of the ministry of foreign affairs, Elvis Newton, and shared her country’s readiness to cooperate with the federation in the area of security.
St Kitts and Nevis expressed hope for cooperation in food security and nutrition, small and medium sized enterprises, disaster mitigation, technical and vocational education, bilingualism, ICT, renewable energy and telemedicine.
NEMA recently submitted a request for technical assistance in disaster risk management.
Colombia has assisted the federation in the past through its Caribbean strategy programme. The ministry of agriculture received assistance in the development of backyard gardens of the federation.