BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, July 24, 2019 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – During a courtesy call on Tuesday, July 23, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris thanked High Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Australia, His Excellency John Pilbeam, for his years of service and support in fostering closer ties between the two countries.
His Excellency Pilbeam’s tenure as Australia’s High Commissioner is coming to a close. As such, Mr. Pilbeam was in the Federation between Monday, July 22 and Tuesday, July 23, to bid farewell to a number of dignitaries whom he has worked closely with over the years including Prime Minister Harris; Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mark Brantley and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Kaye Bass.
During their brief but cordial discussions, Prime Minister Harris commended the High Commissioner for his years of service representing the Government of Australia “and for advancing the interest of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
The prime minister was supported in that meeting by Cabinet Secretary, Mrs. Josephine Huggins.
Dr. Harris also impressed on the ongoing High Commissioner the importance of continued cooperation between the Governments of Australia and St. Kitts and Nevis in areas such as climate change and tertiary education and training.
“You have some outstanding universities and schools of learning [and] that is an area of which we continue to want to have strengthened cooperation. As a small country we need to ensure that our human resource is leading edge and is first world in terms of its orientation and its ability to deliver, so that would be an area in which we would always want to ensure that there are more opportunities for our people to benefit,” the prime minister said.
The St. Kitts and Nevis prime minister added that he looks forward to regular conversations with the Australian government on a range of global issues such as the need for a broader composite index to measure the development of countries, rather than the tradition gross domestic product (GDP).
Prime Minister Harris said, “It is an area in which the Commonwealth has done considerable intellectual work in developing a more robust index which measures not just GDP but also environmental variability and other vulnerabilities. We believe that in some of the places in which Australia is present, it has a rare opportunity to provide advocacy and support for an agenda that allows small island states to thrive and develop.”
The governments of St. Kitts and Nevis and Australia have enjoyed a longstanding diplomatic relationship dating back to 1986.