NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (March 13, 2017) — Hon. Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs in St. Kitts and Nevis, travelled to Havana, Cuba to take part in the XXII Association of Caribbean States Ministerial Council scheduled on March 10, 2017.
His participation in the meeting, comes at a time when the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) is charting a new course which will lead to a process of revitalisation and institutional strengthening.
The Ministerial Council was preceded by the First Cooperation Conference which was held on the March 08, 2017. The conference presented two main projects: “Uniting the Caribbean by Air and Sea” focusing on connectivity and transportation and the “ACS Program to Combat the impact of Climate Change in the Caribbean”.
It was designed to achieve the meaningful participation of the observer states, donor countries and international organisations, including the United Nations (UN) funds and agencies which were specially invited, given their relationship with the Caribbean region and experience in issues of climate change and transport which were addressed. The event was also organised to attract financial resources to the ACS Special Fund.
In preparation for the Ministerial Council, the Senior Officials Meeting was held on March 09, 2017. It was attended by the chargé d’affaires at the Embassy of St. Kitts and Nevis in Havana, Mrs. Verna Mills.
At the meeting, several issues were discussed including reports of the outgoing Chairman of the ACS (Republic of Cuba), the Secretary General, Her Excellency Dr. Jane Soomer, first female Secretary General in the history of the Association and from the various ACS Boards. Consideration was also given to the admission of new observer countries.
This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the ACS. During the commemorative activities in July 2017, Colombian President José Manuel Santos will be recognised for his outstanding contribution to peace in 2016. The theme for the anniversary’s celebration is “Pursuing Excellence through Peace.”
Hon. Brantley was able to engage the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Cuba, His Excellency Atef Mohamed Salem Sayed EL AhL and Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, His Excellency Dawano Kedir Haji, to discuss matters of bilateral interest.
During the course of the day, Mr. Brantley also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, His Excellency Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, to further discuss areas for cooperation.
The meeting closed with brief remarks from a representative of Venezuela, the incoming Chair of the Ministerial Council.
While in Cuba, Mr. Brantley also attend the fifth meeting of Foreign Affairs ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Republic of Cuba on March 11, 2017.
The Minister used the opportunity to meet with students of St. Kitts and Nevis based in Havana.