Addressing a packed room of high representatives, Heads of Missions and honorary consuls at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort, Prime Minister Timothy Harris said that from as early as 1983 when the twin island Federation attained Independence, St. Kitts and Nevis understood the invaluable benefits of expanding its diplomatic footprint across the globe.
“Thirty-five years ago, as the world’s newest independent sovereign nation and the smallest independent country in the Western Hemisphere, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis was quickly steeped in strategic diplomacy, joining the Commonwealth of Nations on September 19th, 1983 and becoming its 48th member. St. Kitts and Nevis also joined the United Nations on September 23rd, 1983 as its 158th member, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on October 27th, 1983 as its 161st member,” Harris said at the opening ceremony of Diplomatic Week 2019 on Tuesday, April 9.
The opening ceremony was attended by Governor General S.W. Tapley Seaton; senior government officials including members of the Federal Cabinet; the diplomatic and consular corps accredited to St. Kitts and Nevis as well as those accredited to foreign territories.
During 1983, its year of Independence, St. Kitts and Nevis also established diplomatic relations and effective dialogue with the United Kingdom and several Caribbean territories on September 19; with both the United States of America and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) on September 20; the Republic of China (Taiwan) on September 23; with Canada on October 11, and with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on October 31.
The hosting of Diplomatic Week, which first commenced in 2007 when Dr. Harris served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, is another example of the high regard in which St. Kitts and Nevis holds for its growing diplomatic relations.
Diplomatic Week 2019 is being celebrated under the theme, “Securing a Resilient Future through Strategic Diplomacy and Effective Dialogue.”
In reflecting on this theme, “My administration is cognizant that we have been able to achieve some successes on account of our global partnerships with organizations and Governments such as yours. So I take the opportunity to thank those who have assisted us in our endeavour to develop our economy, improve the standard of living of our country and pave the way for a better tomorrow for all of our people. We continue to entreat international support to improve and sustain our socioeconomic advancements,” Harris said.
To date, St. Kitts and Nevis has visa-free access to 158 countries. This has resulted in the country’s passport being ranked 24th in the world, first in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and second in the Caribbean behind Barbados.