Canada strengthens its bilateral relations with Saint Lucia and the wider region

HE Lilian Chatterjee and Foreign Minister Alva Baptiste.

In recognition of the 50th observation of Canada’s bilateral relations and friendship with Saint Lucia, the Embassy of Canada states that it is keen to strengthen its diplomatic relations with the country and the wider Caribbean.

Canada’s High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, HE Lilian Chatterjee, acknowledged the support over the years from entities such as Air Canada, CIBC Caribbean, Sagicor, Sol Ltd. and other Canadian private sector partners in Saint Lucia and throughout the region.

According to the High Commissioner, with relations that have dwindled since 2020, it was necessary to “underline and reinforce the importance that Canada attaches to our diplomatic, business and international assistance relations”. She also acknowledged the “people-to-people ties spanning decades.”

“Canada welcomes the recovery of the tourism sector as pandemic restrictions ease,” HE Chatterjee said at a social reception on Tuesday.

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She revealed that Air Canada had resumed three flights a week from Canada to Saint Lucia and it was “mainly because Canadian travelers were eager to return to Saint Lucia”.

While recalling that in 2020, Canada appointed an Honorary Advisor to Saint Lucia, she however stated that “people are at the heart of everything we do. Our collective future depends on their well-being…as Canada works with its Caribbean partners to promote and advance international human rights and to support inclusive governments in democracy. And to ensure that no one is left behind, including women, indigenous peoples, LGBTI people, young people and children.

The High Commissioner commended Saint Lucia for passing “a landmark domestic violence law” and appointing the island’s first female Acting Commissioner of Police (COP).

“The relationship between Canada and Saint Lucia is multi-faceted,” she said. “We work together in multilateral, regional and bilateral forums. Canada is committed to advancing its Feminist Foreign Policy and Feminist International Assistance Policy as we continue to address important issues like the climate crisis.

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Chatterjee added: “Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are disproportionately affected…and building back better means investing in opportunities for growth. Canadian companies have been present in Saint Lucia for decades, Canadian expertise features prominently. It is found in roads and highways, distribution system upgrades and increased supply in the water sector, including the John Compton Dam, and tourism-related projects, management borders and passport solutions offered to you by the Canadian Bank Note Company.

The High Commissioner continued: “There are significant investments in electricity generation and distribution, and considerable attention is being given to the development of airports and seaports and the establishment of a sophisticated system electric buses.

“Canada is recognized internationally for its expertise in ocean science, sustainable management and emergency response. As Saint Lucia defines and redevelops its “blue economy,” Canadian companies and institutions are eager to share their expertise. »

HEChatterjee said Canada also has a strong interest in the education sector and predates its participation in the “Basic Education Improvement Project” set up more than a decade ago.

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“Canadian institutions continue to seek opportunities through multilateral development banks and their own direct relationships with local education,” she said.

The High Commissioner noted that in June of this year, “a Canadian and Saint Lucian institution signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (which is) between the Canada Academy of Newfoundland and the National Center for Skills Development (NSDC) of Bisee, Castries.”

Chatterjee said early next month that his Canadian colleagues will attend the Department of Education’s College and Career Fair “to promote opportunities for Saint Lucians to study in Canada and learn about college programs. scholarships available for CARICOM nationals”.

In addition, she said, a multi-sector trade session – an Atlantic Canada mission will visit St. Lucia in November, for the second time this year “to forge new and stronger relationships with government and the private sector here”.

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The High Commissioner affirmed that Canada is a “committed development partner for Saint Lucia and the Caribbean and, on a per capita basis, the Caribbean is one of Canada’s largest development partners”.

She highlighted that Canada supports Saint Lucia “to build economic and climate resilience, while advancing inclusive governments and gender equality.”

Addressing the gathering, Foreign Minister Alva Baptiste said it was nice “to celebrate the fruits of a relationship planted on the shoulders of giants”.

“A friendship shaped and forged in the hottest fires of honesty, integrity and mutual respect. To celebrate true love between nations, fostered by the interaction of our citizens across and within borders to celebrate Saint Lucia and Canada,” he added.

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Baptiste said that as early as 1979, Saint Lucia benefited from the generosity of Canada and “was able to sustainably pursue a development program”.

He noted that Saint Lucia has benefited from the Canada-CARICOM Climate Adaptation Fund, Canada-Caricom Skills Training for the Green Economy and the Engender Project, as well as “better-known projects such as building and staffing Partially Staffed Castries Polyvalent Secondary School [CCSS]and Hewanora International Airport (HIA).

Alva said he had consulted with the High Commissioner and reviewed the scale of projects being undertaken in the country and sought ways of improvement moving forward.

He noted that the celebrations were not just limited to the history of Canada and Saint Lucia “but also in the future.”

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Baptiste said: “While the events of the past are indeed essential in defining our current relationship, it is what we intend to do in the future that will determine the longevity and productivity of our relationship in the years to come. coming”.

Summarizing the scope of the bilateral relationship between the two countries, the Minister said, “There are dimensions to our bilateral relationship that we have not even begun to explore yet…and I hope we can remember the past and at the same time, conceptualize a future that pays homage to the beauty of a relationship… which is still in the process of blossoming.

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