Peace Corps Volunteers to focus on  HIV/AIDS
March 24, 2005
Peace Corps Volunteers to focus on HIV/AIDS

Five new Peace Corps officers have been given the go ahead to join the fight against AIDS through HIV/AIDS awareness here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The volunteers were officially sworn in during a ceremony on Monday at the Methodist Church Hall. {{more}}

The new batch of volunteers, EC 74, will focus specifically on HIV/AIDS awareness programmes and Information Technology. Placing greater emphasis on HIV/AIDS awareness and Information Technology through community development, the new volunteers will work in various locations here.

Melvin Paul Cofield will be assigned to the Petit Bordel Secondary School, where his focus will be on ICT training. Aida Gemechu will use her expertise in the Ministry of Health. Chandra Platt and Nicole Voorhees, the Youth Department, while Alejandro Alex Soto will serve at the St. Vincent Community College.

Associate Peace Corps Director for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuthbert “Mr. Cool” James, extended congratulations to the new volunteers for successfully completing their training programme. James praised the volunteers for their enthusiasm in acquiring knowledge about the culture and way of life of the Vincentian society.

Feature Speaker at the ceremony, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade, Louis Straker, applauded the volunteers for offering their services to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. “You don’t look at your country as the world but unselfishly you have decided to go elsewhere and serve,” Straker told the officers.

“We always admire the generosity of the United States… we have the same values. It does not mean we will agree on every foreign policy,” he admitted.

“Certainly we did not agree with the removal of a democratically elected government in Haiti, we did not agree on the war in Iraq and we let them know that,” Straker said.

As a sovereign nation we will disagree just like a family, but we are always grateful to the US and look at them as a friend even though sometime we disagree,” said Straker.

Also present at the ceremony were Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne and Country Director, Peace Corps Eastern Caribbean, Earl Phillips, who also shared some brief remarks.

During the ceremony, a number of cheques were donated to development organizations throughout the country.