COMMONWEALTH SECRETARY-GENERAL PRAISES PM HARRIS FOR CHAMPIONING CAUSE OF SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, May 2, 2018 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Right Honourable Patricia Scotland QC, has personally commended St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, for his strong leadership on matters of critical importance to small island developing states (SIDS) at the recently concluded Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in London.

“I really wanted to thank you for your leadership and commitment during CHOGM and for raising the voice on behalf of St. Kitts and Nevis in relation to small states and all those other matters because I know that it made a significant difference,” Secretary-General Scotland said during a meeting with Prime Minister Harris at Government Headquarters today (Wednesday, May 2).

Among the matters of importance to small island states that the St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister was able to bring to the fore during CHOGM 2018, which ran from April 16-20, were the issues of de-risking, blacklisting, as well as the challenge of securing concessional funding as a result of the classification of countries in terms of their income levels.

The Right Honourable Patricia Scotland further stated that the strong advocacy by leaders such as Prime Minister Harris for greater protection and inclusion of small island states “made a huge impact” at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and added that their input “would have influenced Canada who is going to be heading the G7, and they have made it clear that they wish to include the Caribbean in particular in the work that they will push at the G7.”

St. Kitts and Nevis also took a leadership role on the Windrush immigration matter in the United Kingdom (UK) where tens of thousands of people of Caribbean descent, who have legally resided in the UK for decades, were wrongfully targeted.

During a meeting held in the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, UK Prime Minister Theresa May apologized to Caribbean leaders for “any anxiety that has been caused” by media reports about incidents of harsh treatment suffered by the Windrush generation.

In his talks with the Commonwealth Secretary-General today, Prime Minister Harris called for continued dialogue on the matter, stating, “I think us being there and the Windrush generation matter emerging as it did also worked well for us to be able to have the kind of engagements with the high-level officials in the UK and as a result of it we have seen some shift in the policy which would be advantageous to our people. We now need to continue to monitor and to ensure that there is no ease up in the delivering on their commitments…so that goodwill could be engendered and a greater sense of peace could be restored to the minds of our people.”

The Windrush generation refers to the thousands of people who arrived in the UK as children in the first wave of Commonwealth immigration 70 years ago, often on their parents’ passports. They are known as the Windrush generation in reference to the ship, the HMT Empire Windrush, which brought workers from the West Indies to Britain in 1948.

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