kamla praises staff for roles played in hosting visiting heads of state
PORT OF SPAIN — Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday outlined the successes of the visits of United States Vice President Joe Biden and China’s President Xi Jingping as she praised the Foreign Affairs Ministry staff for their skills in “diplomatic multitasking”.
A reception was held at the atrium of the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair to thank those involved in the preparation of the visits including permanent secretary in the Foreign Ministry Margaret Parillon.
“I congratulate all of you, Permanent Secretary Margaret Parillon, all our other dedicated and hardworking diplomats both at home and abroad, your support staff and advisers- altogether a professional, dedicated and competent team T&T – making us proud every step of the way,” said Persad-Bissesssar.
She said the achievements from the visits of Biden and Xi were not possible without their hard preparation and work.
The Prime Minister said “the icing on the cake” followed when Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran signed the Arms Trade Treaty on Monday adding to this country’s international image.
Focusing on Biden’s visit, Persad-Bissessar said the Vice President highlighted his awareness of the difficulties that the Caribbean community faces in the areas of trade, energy, security, education and immigration and promised to address these issues.
In the area of trade, she said, Biden signed a framework agreement between the United States and Caricom member states that provides a vehicle to overcome special, specific and practical barriers to trade and investment.
With respect to energy, she said, there was agreement through the signing of a MOU to promote and facilitate cooperation on developing energy efficiency and clean, sustainable, and energy renewable sources.
Of significance, she noted that a Renewable Energy Research Centre will be established at the University of the West Indies.
Focusing on the crime fight, Persad-Bissessar said that the Untied States reaffirmed its support for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative launched in 2009 to assist Caribbean countries in the fight against drug trafficking.
Biden, she said, indicated that the US will increase the initial investment of over US $200 million dollars.
Persad-Bissessar said there was also progress in other areas such as a Status of Forces Agreement and the commitment for more information and intelligence sharing on the very important issue of criminal deportees from to the US to this country and the region.
“All of things did not just come together by itself. It happened because you had a clear focus on the issues and used your resources to prepare our delegation for the very important bilateral and multilateral discussions. Again, I say thank you,” she said to the Ministry’s staff present.
“But your work was not done with one visit. You demonstrated that you are also greatly skilled at diplomatic multitasking with your equally professional preparatory work for the visit of President Xi Jingping of the People’s Republic of China,” she added.
She said six business clusters were identified for the diversification of the local economy – the maritime industry, the energy industry, food sustainability, creative industries, tourism and financial services. (Express)