100 Australian University scholarships for Caribbean
December 4, 2009

100 Australian University scholarships for Caribbean

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has unveiled a package of assistance of 100 university scholarships for the Caribbean.{{more}}

This disclosure was made by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves on Tuesday, December 1, 2009.

Gonsalves, reporting on the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which took place in Trinidad and Tobago from November 27-29, said he is optimistic that St.Vincent and the Grenadines stands to benefit from the new partnership which came out of that meeting.

Rudd also promised AUS$60 million for assistance with adaptation and technology transfers, and mitigation measures relating to climate change.

Gonsalves said he “struck up a pretty good relationship” with Rudd. He added that this came on the heels of several bilateral meetings at the session.

The Commonwealth meeting was important, said Gonsalves, because it allowed him to meet several distinguished African heads of state, as well as the Prime Ministers of Canada and England, which provided opportunities to have both informal and formal bilateral meetings.

During the meeting, CARICOM had meetings with the prime ministers of Canada, Britain, and Australia, as well as the President of South Africa.

Gonsalves disclosed that this was the first Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting he had attended since becoming prime minister. He stated Deputy Prime Minister Louis Straker had attended the others on his behalf.

The prime minister noted that he was duty bound to attend this session because it was being hosted by a government with which he is closely associated.

At the meeting, Rwanda joined the Commonwealth, becoming the 54th state to do so.

“Rwanda has come a long way since the upheavals, and genocide and they have built democratic institutions,” said Gonsalves, noting that the approval of this African country was unanimous.

Gonsalves disclosed that he had received several invitations from African and Pacific leaders to visit their countries.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gonsalves stated that he had a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India

where he urged him to have that country establish a stronger presence in the Caribbean countries outside of those which have large Indian populations. He said they also discussed the importance of appointing key personnel in the region to address the wider Caribbean.

Gonsalves disclosed at the Commonwealth Heads Retreat the members of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) assigned him the task of making a presentation on the condition of the economies of the ECCU and the need for support of a material and financial kind, given the consequence of the world’s financial meltdown.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting addressed issues such as food and energy security; challenges facing small states and middle income countries; climate change; investment; the world economic situation; human trafficking and people smuggling; combating corruption and the tracing and recovery of assets of illicit origin.

Of the 49 countries that attended the Meeting, 34 were represented by their Heads of State or Government. (HN)