Ambassador Valeriano Diaz and PM Denzil Douglas (R)
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
December 12, 2008 (SKNIS)
St. Kitts and Nevis and the European Commission (EC) will continue to enjoy a strong partnership of mutual cooperation and benefit, with the official signing of the 10th EDF Country Strategy Paper.
Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas and EC Ambassador Valeriano Diaz signed the European Development Fund document at a ceremony held at the Ocean Terrace Inn, on Thursday. This cleared the way for financial assistance to be rolled out in support of several development projects in the twin-island Federation.
The European diplomat noted that St. Kitts and Nevis is eligible for support under a number of European Union initiatives such as the Economic Partnership Agreement and 2007 Annual Action Plan for Sugar Protocol Countries.
The primary support from the EDF funds will go towards a safety and security improvement programme. This covers the upgrade of the police training curriculum to include advanced criminology and forensic science as well as specialized training for local law enforcement personnel at regional and international institutions.
“We believe very strongly that as we transform the national economy and thus change the society, we must have a very harmonious environment in which this must take place,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
“[We] can never, ever relax our efforts to ensure that there is complete security and safety for our citizens; for those who do business with us; and those who visit us here in St. Kitts and Nevis.”
The sum total of the funds has not yet been finalized. However, a total of â‚¬5.46 million has been pledged to assist the transition of the economy away from the sugar monoculture of the past. The funds are expected to be disbursed next week.
“These monies must be used critically, for the development of the competitive edge that we believe St. Kitts and Nevis needs to have, as we move fully into hospitality and the tourism sector,” the Prime Minister stated.
Tourism is one of the pillars of the new economy along with financial services, information and communication technology, and light manufacturing.
Ambassador Diaz stressed that the Federation has been a valued ally, and explained that “we look forward to the continuation of this partnership as we seek meaningful ways to assist the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.”