Argyle Airport’s “Coalition of the Willing” growing
September 27, 2011
Argyle Airport’s “Coalition of the Willing” growing

The “Coalition of the Willing” to build the Argyle International Airport is on the verge of welcoming two new partners, as the President of Georgia and the Prime Minister of Kuwait expressed strong interest in assisting St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) with the airport project.{{more}} Georgia, which produces a variety of heavy earth-moving equipment, indicated its willingness to provide relevant machinery for the project, while the Prime Minister of Kuwait also committed his government to exploring the best avenues for partnership on the airport.

During his visit to the United Nations last week, Prime Minister Gonsalves was invited by both Georgia and Kuwait to make official visits to their countries to further this cooperation. Additionally, the President of Georgia indicated that his country is also rolling out a laptops-for-students project, and asked Prime Minister Gonsalves to share technical expertise and experiences with his country, calling SVG’s One Laptop Per Child Programme “one of the best in the world.”

President Ahmadinejad of Iran also pledged additional support to the airport project.

In the field of education, Prime Minister Gonsalves secured university and postgraduate scholarship offers from two European countries, Hungary and Slovenia. The precise courses and institutions that will offer these scholarships will be finalized in the coming months. Qatar, which hosts campuses of a number of major American universities, also renewed its offer of scholarships to Vincentian students.

The President of Finland pledged technical and capacity building support in disaster risk management and emergency response, in the wake of Hurricane Tomas and major floods that struck SVG in recent months. Prime Minister Gonsalves also encouraged Turkey to make additional contributions to the CARICOM Development Fund, a matter on which Prime Minister Erdogan promised to follow-up.

In addition to the invitations to make official visits to Georgia and Kuwait, Prime Minister Gonsalves was also invited to the State of Palestine, in recognition of his strong advocacy among CARICOM states for the Palestinian cause. Seven CARICOM states now recognize the State of Palestine (Antigua & Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Suriname, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), and more are expected to follow suit in the near future.

Prime Minister Gonsalves made invitations of his own, calling upon Prime Minister Erdogan (Turkey) and President Zuma (South Africa) to visit the region and address CARICOM Heads, and reminding the Emir of Qatar of the standing invitation to visit SVG. The Emir, whose previously planned visit was postponed by events in the Middle East and North Africa, reaffirmed his intention to visit SVG in early 2012.

In recognition of the leading role played by SVG in the United Nations’ response to the financial crisis and in the fields of General Assembly and Security Council reform, Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, a former President of the UN General Assembly, requested a meeting with Prime Minister Gonsalves to discuss ways to further these important reform efforts.