Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 05, 2016 (SKNIS): Diplomatic Week 2016 was officially launched with an opening ceremony today, Tuesday, April 05, at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort, under the theme: “Forging New Partnerships and Strengthening Networks for Sustainable Growth and Economic Development”. The Honourable Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Aviation, urged all to use the opportunity to build capacity and strengthen networks.
The minister welcomed all diplomats, Government officials, and specially invited guests to the momentous occasion and said the week boasts great benefits.
“An undertaking such as Diplomatic Week brings tremendous benefits to our nation and partner nations who are all now gathered here together,” said Minister Brantley. “I am therefore exceedingly glad to have been afforded the privilege on taking the baton to lead this years’ celebrations.”
Minister Brantley especially welcomed members of the St. Kitts and Nevis Diplomatic and Consular Corps and reflected on their work in the Federation.
“These men and women continue to labour in the sometimes difficult vineyard of diplomacy in far flung capitals the world over,” he said. “They seek to always advance our country’s foreign policy agenda, while at the same time addressing the needs of our citizens in the diaspora. We are delighted to have you home at this time where you can get first-hand knowledge of the many developments that are happening in our country.”
The minister extended commendation to the Ambassadors of Nicaragua, the Philippines and the High Commission of Australia for using such a momentous occasion to present their credentials to the Governor General, His Excellency Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton, and Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, both of whom were in attendance at today’s prestigious event.
“I wish you every success in your new tour of duty as you work towards expanding and enhancing the relations that exist between our countries,” said Minister Brantley. “It is my fervent desire that under your leadership we shall create more opportunities for dialogue and cooperation which would translate into the further growth and development of our peoples and our economies.”
He used the occasion to bid farewell to His Excellency (H.E.) Claes Hammer, Ambassador of Sweden, whose tenure ends shortly. The minster thanked H.E Hammer for his dedicated service to the region, in particular St. Kitts and Nevis, and stated that the Federation will build “upon the solid foundation in which the ambassador created”.
Government officials and Members of the Federal Parliament including the Honourable Vance Amory, Premier of Nevis and Senior Minister; The Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Agriculture et al.; the Honourable Vincent Byron, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Legal Affairs and Communications; the Honourable Ian Patches Liburd, Minister of Public Infrastructure et al.; and the Honourable Senator Wendy Phipps, Minister of State within the Ministry of Health et al. joined their counterpart to usher in the auspicious occasion. Former Governor General, His Excellency Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, also graced the audience with his presence.
Diplomatic Week which culminates on Friday, April 08, continues with a number of activities including a Symposium; tour of development projects and cultural and historical sites on both islands; and a tour and dinner at the St. Kitts Eco Park.