Basseterre, St. Kitts (September 23, 2019) — Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation, the Hon Mark Brantley, has praised the strong relations between the Federation and the Republic of Indonesia that have seen the Asian nation appoint an Honorary Consul and open a consulate in Basseterre, the first in the Eastern Caribbean and only the second in the region.
The consulate was opened on Tuesday September 17 and according to Minister Brantley, who is also the Premier of Nevis, it was a historic day, since the two countries had formal diplomatic relations in 2014.
He praised Indonesia’s bold decision five years later to appoint Mr Faron Lawrence an Honorary Consul in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis, to take care of the interests of Indonesians in the country and also to develop and deepen relationship between the two countries.
The Foreign Affairs Minister made the remarks on Tuesday September 17 at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort where Indonesia’s Ambassador to the Federation His Excellency Priyo Iswanto had hosted a reception in celebration of Indonesia’s 74th anniversary of Independence. In attendance included Governor General His Excellency Sir Tapley Seaton, Federal Minister of Public Infrastructure, the Hon Ian Patches Liburd, and members of the diplomatic corps.
“I want to start by extending warmest congratulations to my dear friend Ambassador Iswanto and his team, to their government and their people on the celebration of their 74th anniversary of Independence,” said Hon Brantley. “We also would like to commend Indonesia on the tremendous strides it has made in its own development over the years.”
While the relations between the two countries had only been five years, Minister Brantley said that it appeared as if it had been much longer. He recalled that the relationship had so far seen Ms Mavis Parris, a Textiles, Clothing and Fashion teacher at the Charlestown Secondary School, travel to Indonesia for one-year training in batik making.
“I would want to publicly recognise Mavis because she took a leap into the unknown and she decided to go to Indonesia to take the opportunity offered by the government of Indonesia for training in the home of batik because that is where batik originates,” said Hon Brantley of Ms Parris, who was present. “She has come back to us and she will be training other people in the art of batik and that is what we hope to do for people to pass skills on to others.”
St. Kitts and Nevis has in the past supported Indonesia’s bid for the United Nations’ Security Council seat observed the Foreign Affairs Minister, and added that the Federation has continued to support Indonesia in the international arenas of which both are members, and Indonesia’s Independence celebrations reception was evidence of the friendship.
“Indonesia has supported us in terms of common causes,” said Hon Brantley. “We are islands and as islands we suffer from different but similar challenges. We have for example the challenge of climate change, and the ravages that it has caused that is as much relevant to Indonesia as it is to St. Kitts and Nevis, indeed to the rest of the Caribbean.”
He concluded by saying: “These are some of the challenges which together, collectively we face and we add our voice to that of Indonesia and other island states in raising these in the various international forums of which we are a member.”