Improving matters relating to trade and security between St Kitts and Nevis and Great Britain were the main agenda items, during the first official visit of Barbados-based British High Commissioner to the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, His Excellency Scott Furssedonn-Wood.
The High Commissioner met with the Governor General, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, Cabinet Ministers in the Federal and Nevis Island Administration and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, among others.
Furssedonn-Wood noted that he came here with colleagues to look at different aspects of the relationship between both countries, and the various things the United Kingdom and St Kitts and Nevis can do in the future.
“It is a longstanding relationship. Our countries have been friends for a very long time. We know each other well, our people know each other well. Our people come here on holiday, people from St Kitts and Nevis come to the UK to study and see their family. We have a very vibrant diaspora of Kittitians in the UK, but the partnership is about being forward-looking and how we can help each other in the world in the things that matter to us.”
He said one of the aims of the visit was about building a relationship that brings mutual benefits, with trade being a big part of that.
“We don’t spend British aid money here in St Kitts and Nevis because you have graduated from eligibility for aid; you are too wealthy of an economy to be given aid money.”
He reminded that now there is a new economic partnership between the UK and countries of CARICOM dubbed Cariforum.
“There is a need to use that to get trade going and prosperity moving back and forth.
“There are British companies that can help with all sorts of challenges that your government is facing, and opportunities your government want to address.”
The envoy said he met with Minister of Education Jonel Powell, and among the discussions were educational opportunities.
“We already have our Chevening scholarship – which is our flagship British scholarship programme – that has some fantastic students from St. Kitts and Nevis that have been successful in getting scholarships to study.”
Furssedonn-Wood added that there will be more opportunities in the future.
“There are other opportunities for our educational systems to work together…to do great work here in support of your government’s ambitions, whether it is through developing capacity and content, or providing remote learning opportunities so that people in this country can study in British Universities for a degree from the comfort of their homes here.”
He noted that he was interested in finding new ways to work together.
“Security is an important area of cooperation. Our national crime agency and other security agency work very closely with the RSS in the Eastern Caribbean to build capacity, and to provide support in relation to threats to your own security as well as threats to our own security in the UK.
“We are keen to find more ways to do that; more ways to increase cooperation.”
He reiterated that trade could provide those opportunities as well.
“The whole field of climate change is a really good one. We just hosted COP26 in the UK. We have the presidency of COP for the coming years, and would want to use our presidency to champion the voices of small island developing states.
“We know countries like St Kitts and Nevis are on the frontlines of climate change. We want to stand with countries like St Kitts and Nevis. We want to work with you around adaptation to climate, and finance available internationally that helps small island states become climate-resilient. We want to work with international systems to ensure your voices are heard. The voice of St Kitts and Nevis is heard loud and clear, because you have a strong credible presence on the world stage.”