PM brings back news of more goodies from afar
October 22, 2010
PM brings back news of more goodies from afar

A number of meetings with high level officials of the governments of the United Kingdom, Syria and Qatar have led to more financial, technical and educational assistance for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

This is according to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, as he addressed the media at Cabinet room on Monday, October 18, one day after he returned from diplomatic missions to those countries.

Prime Minister Gonsalves disclosed that the Vincentian delegation, which included CEO and Chairman of the International Airport Development Company (IADC) Dr. Rudy Matthias, United Nations Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves, Syrian national Dr. Barry Ossi and Tony Sassine, a Lebanese/ Vincentian businessman, was involved in successful talks, which led to a number agreements coming out of the meetings.

During the press conference, Dr. Gonsalves indicated that the delegation had met with President Bashar Assad, Prime Minister Muhammad Naji Al Otari, and other ministers of the Syrian government on matters concerning the international airport, scholarships, trade and investment, as well as political cooperation in the international arena.

“The Minister is keen on providing equipment, because Dr. Matthias specifically asked for equipment to assist in the paving of the runway.”

“The Syrians have indicated that they will be sending to us a delegation to see precisely all the equipment we will need and get them sent from Syria.”

“The Minister for Higher Education has indicated that they will provide 15 scholarships to start with in the sciences.”

Assistance will also be forthcoming for the airport’s construction from the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

According to the Prime Minister, sometime next month, officials from the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority and the government are expected to visit this country following talks with Al Thani.

“I outlined everything to him, and he asked that we discuss the details with the Civil Aviation Authority and the Deputy Prime Minister (Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah), which we did, and Dr. Matthias indicated the particular area of the project we would like them to assist with; more particularly, immediately some assistance towards the paving of the runway because early next year we are going to commence with the paving of the runway.”

“…The Emir said ‘tell me how many students you want to send, we will accept them’. Of course, I don’t want to abuse anyone’s generosity, so I said maybe a dozen in the first instance.”

He said that Al Thani himself is also expected to visit this country early next year.

The Prime Minister also indicated that with the help of Dr. Ossi they were able to secure samples of Medical supplies which will be sent to the OECS Procurement Service, to determine whether purchases can be made from the pharmaceutical suppliers there.

“Right now we buy in bulk… we are trying to find good products cheaper.”

Gonsalves said the interaction with these Arab nations is beneficial to the international welfare of this country if we are to be a part of the globalised world.

“We have to interface at a particular point to take advantage of globalization, while at the same time strengthen the base of our Caribbean civilization to deal more efficaciously with this phenomenon called globalization.”

“It is our interfacing with the world that assists us with lifting the wealth and creating opportunities.”

“There are some people who see it narrowly as ‘Ralph begging’, you take a foreign policy and reduce it to that but if you notice the manner in which we have been moving… we are using our population base and making the connections in addition with our geography and our history.”(JJ)