(Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister)
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, while speaking on behalf of the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis, has welcomed the decision by the Republic of Romania to expand and strengthen its bilateral relationship with the Federation.
This commitment was given on Nov. 13 when Prime Minister Harris received Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Romania to St. Kitts and Nevis, Her Excellency Gentiana Serbu during a courtesy call at the Prime Minister’s Office.
During highly productive discussions, Ambassador Serbu reiterated her country’s commitment to enhance the different areas of cooperation in which Romania and St. Kitts and Nevis are currently engaged. This includes the RoAid Water Project, which saw the Romanian Government contributing EUR $30,000 to assist the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Water Services Department with the reconstruction of water systems throughout the Federation in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The visiting ambassador also pointed to scholarship opportunities that are available to citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis. She noted that courses are all taught in English “with everything being covered, including travel to Romania.” Ambassador Serbu added, “So I am warmly inviting you to use this opportunity next year,” referring to nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Meanwhile, with the Republic of Romania set to assume the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first semester of 2019, Prime Minister Harris believes this presents an opportunity for Romania to use its influential role to advocate on behalf of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), particularly as it relates to the current international financial structure.
“We have our concerns with respect to the EU’s [European Union’s] approach to these matters. We reject the blacklisting mechanisms and we would wish that Romania could use the Presidency next year to bring to the attention of the other members of the EU the significant cost and reputational damage that is done to small islands as a result of the blacklisting mechanism that is used to often,” Dr. Harris said.
In offering an alternative, the St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister said more attention and resources should be used to assist deficient countries in reaching a certain standard within a particular time frame.
“It is one thing to blacklist but it is another thing to help those who are the victims of the blacklisting to get their economies [and] their policies at the right spot, and so we would prefer a more cooperative and collaborative approach to dealing with these matters internationally,” the prime minister added.
Her Excellency Ambassador Serbu earlier presented her credentials to His Excellency the Governor General, Sir Tapley Seaton on Nov. 12. While in the Federation, she is also expected to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mark Brantley, as well as other government ministers and members of the business community.