International Diplomats Continue to Pay Courtesy Calls on New SKN Prime Mnister Dr. Timothy Harris

Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris received courtesy calls from the Australian High Commissioner His Excellency Ross William Tysoe(LEFT), and from Swiss Ambassador Her Excellency Line Leon Pernet (RIGHT)

Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris received courtesy calls from the Australian High Commissioner His Excellency Ross William Tysoe(LEFT), and from Swiss Ambassador Her Excellency Line Leon Pernet (RIGHT)

The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis welcomed Her Excellency Mrs. Line Leon Pernet, Swiss Ambassador and looks forward to exploring new opportunities with the Swiss Government. And On Thursday March 12, His Excellency Ross William Tysoe, AO, High Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Australia visited the Office of the Prime Minister to discuss pertinent matters relating to the Federation.

The Swiss Government has encouraged the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to establish a Permanent Mission in Switzerland. Geneva currently ranks second after New York for being the most important UN city and hosts a large number of NGOs and offices for many UN programmes and funds in which the Federation participates. These include:  United Nations Conference on trade Development (UNCTAD), International Trade Centre (ITC), International Labour Organization (ILO), World Health Organization (WHO), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

In 2005, St. Kitts and Nevis established a Mission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva; however, this has since been upgraded to a regional entity – Permanent Delegation of the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to the United Nations.

St. Kitts and Nevis and Switzerland established diplomatic relations on November 17, 1992. Both countries have maintained good bilateral relations over the past 20 years and have benefited though mutual cooperation programs. Cooperation programs include the establishment of the honorary consulates and the agreement on double taxation.

As agriculture is a thrust of both of the Governments of St. Kitts and Nevis and Australia, the possibility of agricultural cooperation was the main topic of discussion between Prime Mnister Harris and the Australian High Commissioner. The discussion was had  with a goal to improve productivity in the sector, increase rural livelihood and improve community resilience as put forward by the Australian aid policy.

Of major interest for the Federation is the graduation status implications, which moves countries to higher income status. This can have negative effects on the developmental landscape of the region with regards to concessional aid.

St. Kitts and Nevis and Australia currently has an Australian Government Direct Aid Programme (DAP) in place, which many locals have benefited from. The aid program is specifically for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and community groups.

In 2013, the Police Junior Drum Corps, a community youth group, benefited from the DAP with the provision of drums and accessories. In 2014, the Project Strong (Wood Work Skills Training) and the Angelisa Davis Newton Ground Initiative (Mama Earth Caribbean Taste) were also beneficiaries of the programme.

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