September 23rd, 2019 Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris held a very productive and constructive bilateral meeting today, Monday, September 23rd, 2019, at the United Nations in New York with Jean Chrétien, who served as Prime Minister of Canada from 1993 to 2003.
Prime Minister Chrétien was acting as an emissary for Canada’s current Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, who is at home campaigning for re-election. Canada’s federal election is scheduled to take place on October 21st, 2019.
During the useful discussions that explored possibilities for further cooperation, the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis advocated for more capacity building opportunities that would expose the people of the Federation to skills enhancement training in Canada within fast-growing sectors such as hospitality and tourism.
Prime Minister Harris’ attention was drawn to the Sustainable Infrastructure Fellowship Program for senior level public-sector infrastructure managers in emerging markets. The five-week academic program is administered through York University’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto, Canada. For more information on the fellowship program, which was created by the Investor Leadership Network (ILN) in collaboration with the Government of Canada, or to apply, visit www.investorleadershipnetwork.org.
The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis raised the point that a critical piece of new infrastructure – the second cruise pier at Port Zante – was built and completed as a result of the involvement of the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), Canada’s government to government contracting organization. “That has been a constructive area in which you have been able to help us with a major plan,” Prime Minister Harris said.
The bilateral meeting also addressed how the two countries can work together to advance a climate change agenda that ensures the voice of Small Island States is heard and listened to on the global stage. Speaking at the 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23), UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “…the voice of Small Island States that are on the frontlines of the impact of climate change must [be] the voice of us all.”
Monday’s fruitful talks took place on the sidelines of high-level meetings at the United Nations, including the UN Secretary-General’s 2019 Climate Action Summit. Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 24th, 2019, the high-level General Debate will open at the United Nations.
Providing support to Prime Minister Harris during Monday’s bilateral meeting were St. Kitts and Nevis’ Ambassador to the United Nations, His Excellency Sam Condor; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Kaye Bass, and Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Andrew Skerritt.
Among the Canadian support staff in the room were Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations, His Excellency Marc-André Blanchard; High Commissioner and Representative to the Commonwealth, Her Excellency Janice Charette, and President and CEO of Export Development Canada, Ms. Mairead Lavery.