Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 06, 2016 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)—Students from the Federation pursuing tertiary studies in the Republic of Cuba had the privilege of meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mark Brantley, on the evening of Saturday 4th June 2016, at the residence of the Embassy of St. Kitts and Nevis in Cuba. The meeting was organized by the Chargé d’affaires of the St. Kitts and Nevis’ Embassy in Cuba, Mrs. Verna Morris- Mills, who also provided introductory remarks. The Minister was accompanied by Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Osbert DeSuza, Director of People Empowerment, Mr. Duncan Wattley and Foreign Service Officer, Ms. Sonia Boddie, who were part of the St. Kitts and Nevis delegation visiting Havana, to participate in the Seventh Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).
The meeting provided a platform for the students to hold frank discussions with Minister Brantley and his team, where they were able to exchange ideas, as to how best the Government can further empower the young people of the Federation. In his remarks, Foreign Minister Brantley thanked the students for attending the session, expressed his regret that he and his team were unable to meet with all the students currently in Cuba, as some are located in faraway provinces and the short time of the St. Kitts and Nevis delegation in Cuba did not provide the opportunity. He further reminded the students to make the best of the scholarship opportunity they had been granted to further their education. He also intimated that the country looks forward to the students return upon completion of their studies, when they can use their newly acquired skills and knowledge for the continued growth and development of the country. In addition, Minister Brantley encouraged the students to continue striving for excellence, while being good ambassadors for St. Kitts and Nevis.
He further advised, “You have been given a good opportunity here, to study and realize your own personal ambitions, but to also do something for your country, and if there is anything my Government can do to make your student life here in Cuba better, we would want you to communicate through or Chargé d’affaires and we would do our best to assist you.”
The students also discussed priority areas of study, the possibility of the Government offering additional scholarships to facilitate the training of more students, assistance in facilitating summer jobs for those students hoping to return for the holidays and insight about their daily life in Cuba, highlighting the challenges and opportunities.
Minister Brantley also took time out on Sunday June 5 to visit two nationals who are currently receiving medical attention in Cuba, through collaboration between the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and Cuba.
According to Minister Brantley, “I am always delighted to meet with nationals in the diaspora, because they are the products of the foreign relations we have built with friendly countries, and indeed we would want to capitalize on any opportunity to dialogue with them, as to how best we as a Government can continue to empower and assist the people of our dear Federation, regardless of whether they are near or far. My government believes in people empowerment.”