RIDU Spearheads The Re-Establishment Of Returning Nationals Association In St. Kitts And Nevis

A section of returning nationals at the meeting.
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Basseterre, St. Kitts – In an initiative aimed at streamlining the process for nationals returning to the Federation, the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit (RIDU) recently convened a pivotal meeting at the H.S. Hanley Conference Room at the Customs and Excise Headquarters. The meeting marked a significant step towards the re-establishment of the Returning Nationals Association, a move strongly advocated for by government officials and members of the diaspora alike.

A section of returning nationals at the meeting.

Dr. Marcus Natta, Cabinet Secretary, highlighted the government’s commitment to facilitating a smooth transition for nationals seeking to return to St. Kitts and Nevis.

“This government is very keen on making sure that your return home is seamless, effortless, and painless, and also to make it clear to you that we value you, your expertise, experience and anything that you can give back to the country,” Dr. Natta expressed. He further emphasised the importance of the association, stating, “The relaunch of this association is critical because we would be looking to get from the association ways to improve not only your lives but the lives of persons in the country and those who may want to come back home.”

Echoing the sentiment of unity and collaboration, Ambassador His Excellency Larry Vaughan, Head of the RIDU, expressed his gratitude towards the attendees for their willingness to engage in this important dialogue.

“I am happy that so many of us would have accepted the invitation, the call to be here this afternoon. It is indicative of your love for St. Kitts and Nevis and for each other, and understanding that we get more things done when we work together, that we get a lot of our dreams accomplished,” said Ambassador Vaughn, who assured the returning nationals of their crucial role in the nation-building exercise and their contribution to the enriching discussions on the sustainable island state agenda.

Addressing the logistical aspects of returning nationals, Kennedy De Silva, Comptroller of the St. Kitts and Nevis Customs and Excise Department, underscored the need for a clear and systematic policy.

“This is a matter that we have been addressing periodically from time to time trying to define a clear policy as to how we treat returning nationals. Over the years there might have been one or two people, but as we travel – and more people are returning home now after their sojourn overseas – we find a need to have a very systematic way of being able to handle it,” De Silva explained, while highlighting the importance of managing the influx of returning nationals in a manner that aligns with the law and the broader interests of the Federation.

Cabinet Secretary Dr. Natta said that the re-establishment of the Returning Nationals Association is a testament to Saint Kitts and Nevis’s commitment to its diaspora, recognizing the invaluable contributions of its citizens abroad. He added that as the association moves forward, it seeks to foster a more inclusive and supportive environment for nationals returning home, while contributing to the country’s sustainable development and prosperity.

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