Mr. President of the 39th Assembly,
Mr. President of the Council
Distinguished Heads of Delegations,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

The Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis and more specifically the Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation, Hon. Mark Brantley wish to commend the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for convening the 39th Assembly and express our appreciation for the invitation to participate at this meeting. As this is my first intervention here, Mr. President, congratulations on your election to direct the affairs of this meeting.

We would also like to congratulate all countries that were elected to the council.

We would like to laud the ICAO for its Strategic Objectives: Safety, Capacity and Efficiency, Security and Facilitation, Economic Development and Environmental Protection as they aim to create a seamless sky and to promote collaboration between all stakeholders in ensuring civil air navigation security.

St Kitts and Nevis continues to ensure that international standards are adhered to at all of its ports; accesses training for all stakeholder groups to build capacity and to enhance civil aviation operations.

St Kitts and Nevis is a proud Member of ICAO and values the work of the Organisation. As a State Party to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) we continue to implement and uphold the recommended standards, principles and procedures and support the proposals for increased memberships on the council and the Air Navigation Commission. Major ICAO concerns, such as safety, navigation services, security, environmental protection, and economic issues, are all closely related. The issues highlight the diverse challenges faced by the civil aviation sector around the world and underline the importance of close cooperation among countries. As regulations and standards of civil aviation are ever-developing, all parties must have access to the latest information to ensure the safe, secure, and sustainable growth of the global civil aviation industry.

We would like at this time to express again our solidarity with those countries that would have suffered terrorist attacks at their ports, Belgium in particular, and emphasize that achievement of optimal security requires all to be vigilant. Failure by any one State to secure its borders/ports can wreak havoc not only nationally, but regionally and internationally as well.

We thank ICAO for the training it continues to offer but emphasize that we would appreciate more training to be conducted regionally whether within the CARICOM or OECS as travel costs are usually exorbitant and prohibitive. Additionally, we would appreciate if more courses are fully or partially funded to facilitate greater participation from States in the Caribbean region. We must state here that later this month we will welcome our regional counterparts to St. Kitts-Nevis for an ICAO Technical Meeting.

We commend the Republic of Korea for its ongoing efforts to enhance the safety level of all member states and for developing and distributing systems to monitor the implementation of SARPs Management and Implementation System and the Safety Oversight Management System to member states free of charge. We also commend Malaysia for offering training to our island states which is critical for our industry.

Currently, our Ministry of Aviation is attempting to formulate a policy to govern the use of unmanned aircraft systems and we request any assistance the ICAO, other Member States or Organisations can offer in this regard. We would also welcome a regional approach if this is more preferable.

The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis also pledges its support for the establishment of the Global Aviation Security Plan which will address the needs of States and regions to assist in guiding all States’ aviation security enhancement efforts, and those of other stakeholders, through a set of internationally agreed goals and targets.

In conclusion the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis commends the ICAO for its No Country Left Behind initiative. We support No Country Left Behind and rally the cause that truly no country should be left behind. Aviation safety, security and efficiency are matters of global importance, and all interested stakeholders can play a positive role in ensuring those standards. It is imperative that all States involved in aviation are a part of these efforts. We hope to see ICAO work towards inclusiveness of all stakeholders, to achieve safe and orderly development of international civil aviation. We regret the absence of some states, especially the country that controls the busiest East Asian airspace, from this assembly and deem it a major loss for the international community.

Thank you.