Thursday, September 29, 2011

Friendly nations recommit to airport, education in St Vincent

MENAFN - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services -- Unrestricted - Thursday, September 29, 2011
Friendly nations recommit to airport, education in St Vincent
Sep 29, 2011 (Caribbean News Now - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- KINGSTOWN, StVincent -- Friendly nations partnering to build the international airport at Argyle in St Vincnt and the Grenadines havereconfirmed their support for the project, says Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.
Gonsalves last week travelled to New York, where he attended the 66th United Nations General Assembly. He also metwith several world leaders who "either reaffirmed previous commitments to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, or madenew pledges of cooperation with the government," the country's diplomatic mission in New Work said in a pressstatement.
The prime minister was also invited to pay official visits to Kuwait, Georgia and Palestine to explore additional avenuesof support and solidarity, the statement said.
Gonsalves told Vincentians at a town hall meeting in New York on Saturday that the "coalition of countries" hasreaffirmed their support for the EC$652 million airport project.
He noted that so far this country has received direct contributions from Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, Iran, Libya, Trinidadand Tobago, and Austria and indirect contributions from Turkey, through the CARICOM Development Fund.
"... when I go to talk to people like Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan of Turkey, I just don't talk about StVincent [alone]. I talk about the CARICOM Development Fund, too. Because what I don't get directly, I could getanother way," he said to applause at the town hall meeting.
"... all those coalitions there are in order. Libya, you know, is in tumult now so we have to wait until that settle down,but all the other reconfirmed their support -- everyone! And new prospective players have come aboard, includingKuwait and Qatar," Gonsalves told the gathering of Vincentians.
Meanwhile, the country's diplomatic mission, in its press statement, said the "Coalition of the Willing" -- the termGonsalves often uses to describe nations supporting the airport -- is on the verge of welcoming two new partners.
The president of Georgia and the prime minister of Kuwait "expressed strong interest in assisting SVG with the airportproject," the statement said.
According to the statement, Georgia, which produces a variety of heavy earth-moving equipment, indicated itswillingness to provide relevant machinery to the project, while the prime minister of Kuwait also committed hisgovernment to exploring the best avenues for partnership on the airport.
Both Georgia and Kuwait invited Gonsalves to pay official visits to their countries to further this cooperation.
Meanwhile, the new prime minister of Portugal, Pedro Passos Coelho, said his administration would honour thecommitment of the previous Portuguese government to continue the delivery of laptops to Vincentian students underKingstown's one-laptop-per-child programme.
Coelho pledged to expedite the delivery of the remainder of the 30,000 laptops Portugal promised.
Further, Gonsalves has secured undergraduate and postgraduate scholarship offers from Hungary and Slovenia.
The precise courses and institutions that will offer these scholarships will be finalized in the coming months.
Further, Qatar, which hosts campuses of a number of major American universities, also renewed its offer ofscholarships to Vincentian students, the statement said.
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