Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 06 , 2018 (SKNIS): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and by extension the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mark Brantley, bade farewell to outgoing Venezuelan Ambassador to the federation, His Excellency (H.E) Romulo Henriquez Gonzalez during a brief but meaningful gathering at Government Headquarters on Friday, April 06.

“What an absolute pleasure it has been to work with you. I think the relationship between St. Kitts-Nevis and Venezuela has been enhanced and strengthened because of your presence and your hard work,” said the foreign affairs minister. “Venezuela has been a very good friend to St. Kitts-Nevis over the years and we are delighted to have had you.”

Minister Brantley urged the outgoing ambassador to keep visiting the country as both countries continue to maintain a very good relationship thanks to Ambassador Gonzalez’s efforts during his tour of duty to St. Kitts-Nevis.

“We hope that notwithstanding that you are leaving as Ambassador that you would come back from time to time… For us this is very important, so we certainly look forward to that and I wish you all the very best in your future endeavours,” said Minister Brantley. “I certainly want to thank you for your contribution to the relationship and strengthening of the relationship between both countries.”

His Excellency Gonzalez also extended thanks to the Government and People of St. Kitts and Nevis for warmly welcoming him to the federation and for working closely with the Venezuelan Government to deepen their diplomatic ties.

Jose Olavarria Rivas, who arrived in St. Kitts-Nevis on March 18, will now serve as Charge d’affaires of the Venezuelan Embassy. He assured Minister Brantley that he will do his very best to continue strengthening the friendship between the two countries.

H.E. Romulo Gonzalez arrived in St. Kitts-Nevis on March 29, 2013. During his nearly five-year tour of duty in the federation, he worked actively to further cement the relations between St. Kitts and Nevis and Venezuela.

There are a number of notable achievements under his stewardship of the Embassy, namely, St. Kitts- Nevis’ membership to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA-TCP) in 2014; the airlifting of patient for medical assistance; the visit of President Maduro and grant for former sugar workers; and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for deeper cooperation in 2015. Also in 2015, St. Kitts and Nevis was able to sign a loan agreement of US $5 million with the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela through the Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), which has financed the Fresh Start Project, a project that helps entrepreneurs to set up or expand their small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) within the federation.

In 2017, the Government of Venezuela pledged to donate 50 petrocasas to the federation to aid the Government of St. Kitts-Nevis with its housing strategy. In June 2017, a top Venezuelan navy training school ship named “Simon Bolivar” paid a courtesy visit to St. Kitts-Nevis for a few days and provided government officials, the media and school children a first-hand experience of life aboard the ship.