PM Harris leads St. Kitts-Nevis delegation to London for Commonwealth conference
From the press unit in the Office of the Prime Minister
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris has arrived in London as the British capital gears up for the arrival of some 50-plus Commonwealth leaders as they prepare for the organization’s biannual Commonwealth Heads of government Meeting (CHOGM).
The main theme for CHOGM 2018 is “Towards a Common Future.” Heads of government of Commonwealth from 53 nations are expected to discuss various topics important to advancing the future of the Commonwealth.
The high-level meetings are also expected to focus on sub-themes such as building a more prosperous future in order to boost intra-Commonwealth trade and investment, which is expected to exceed US$1 trillion by 2020. Heads will also discuss how to deliver a more secure future by increasing cooperation across borders, as well as addressing the varied security challenges such as fighting radical extremism and global terrorism, organised crime and cyber-attacks.
Also, important to heads of government is examining how, by working together and exchanging best practices, they can better deliver on a fairer future for the Commonwealth.
“It is extremely important and timely that we as heads come together and work toward creating a system that better enables and allows for wider participation of our citizens in development, and to have better access to the levers of people empowermen,” Harris said. “We must ensure gender equality, build stronger democracies, protect fundamental freedoms and promote good governance and the rule of law across the Commonwealth.”
Likewise, the group will focus on the imperative of building a more sustainable future by committing to work together to help build resilience in small and vulnerable states so that they are better able to adapt, mitigate and respond to the effects of climate change and other crises.
“Whilst communiques are important to signal what we have discussed and committed to; it is far more important, and justifiably as a measure of how we would be judged, to put words into action,” Harris said.
The prime minister went on to stress that “the federation’s participation in CHOGM 2018 reflects my government’s commitment to the Commonwealth and working within these multilateral frameworks to address global commons and in achieving our common goals of promoting prosperity, security and fairness for our people on a more sustainable basis.”
In reflecting on the themes, Harris added that “St. Kitts and Nevis welcomes the focus of the Women’s Forum given my government’s efforts in prioritising the education and empowerment of women and the creation of equal opportunities for young girls in the federation.”
Minister of Health and Gender Affairs in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) the Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams will participate in the Commonwealth Women’s Forum on the theme “An Empowered Future for Women and Girls.”
CHOGM 2018 runs April 16–20. During his visit to London, Prime Minister Harris is expected to have an audience at Buckingham Palace and to engage with Her Majesty and members of the royal family. A retreat exclusively for heads of government is planned April 20 at Windsor Castle.
Prime Minister Harris, however, begins his visit to the capital city with a April 15 town hall meeting with St. Kitts and Nevis nationals living in the UK.
The Prime Minister is accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Mark Brantley; Cabinet Secretary Josephine Huggins; permanent secretaries Kaye Bass of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Andrew Skerritt in the Office of the Prime Minister; and St. Kitts and Nevis High Commissioner to the UK His Excellency Dr. Kevin Isaac.