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P.M. Pierre: Saudi Arabia /CARICOM Summit, A Worthwhile Undertaking

By Reginald Andrew
Prime Minister, Hon. Phillip J. Pierre
Prime Minister, Hon. Phillip J. Pierre

Prime Minister Philip J Pierre has described the recent inaugural Saudi Arabia – CARICOM Summit as a very productive and worthwhile undertaking.

The prime minister reiterated that his administration will seek to develop ties with countries in the southern hemisphere and venture past the shores of its conventional ‘friendly partners’.

He noted that this inaugural summit aims to enhance Saint Lucia and the region’s expansion in forging relationships that foster technology, climate resilience, tourism, and infrastructure cooperation.

PM Pierre informed that a delegation from the Ministry of Economic Development and Finance visited Saudi Arabia, through an ‘all-expense paid’ trip funded by the Government of Saudi Arabia.

“It was the first Saudi Arabia – CARICOM Summit in history. All Heads of Government from CARICOM were present, there were 14 representatives and it was remarkable to observe that it was really the first time that every head of government …was at a summit,” he told reporters, at the weekly Cabinet briefing on Monday.

“It was a very interesting and revealing summit …and as far as Saint Lucia is concerned, our funding for St Jude (Hospital) was confirmed and re-affirmed,” Pierre declared.

He reported that ministry personnel on the Saint Lucian delegation held “intensive talks” with persons from Saudi Development Fund and “funding for St Jude is secure, and funding for St Jude will happen”.

Pierre said there are procedures in place to deal with issues such as, tendering as it relates to procurement and these are being finalized. “I can assure the public of Saint Lucia that the funding for St Jude and for the completion or rehabilitation of the George Odlum Stadium, in Vieux Fort, is confirmed and the money is available,” he added.

Presently, the prime minister noted, work at the St Jude Hospital is ongoing “and we are very happy at the progress that is taking place there and according to our pledge …we are hoping that as soon as possible to get St Jude ready for the people of the south and the people of Saint Lucia, generally.”

He disclosed that the Minister for Infrastructure also met with the Saudis on matters of “road developments”, and there were also discussions on investments for Saint Lucia.

Pierre said there were “very interesting” discussions with the Saudis. He said they are also very interested in CARICOM, and “We are going to be able to benefit from those discussions.”

In August, Saint Lucia and the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) signed a US $75 million development loan agreement.

The loan is intended to fund the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the St. Jude Hospital Project, as well as, rehabilitation works to the George Odlum Stadium.

Meanwhile, coming out of the recent Saudi Arabia- CARICOM Summit was a joint end-of-conference statement wherein the leaders mutually agreed to cooperate in several areas.

Saudi Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Chairman Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit co-chaired the Saudi Arabia-CARICOM summit.

The issues of interest included tourism, developing sustainable and circular agriculture and promoting sustainable food production.

The leaders also pledged to promote trade and investment and exchange information.

In addition, the summit reaffirmed the importance of working together to confront the global challenges related to climate change and endorsed Saudi Arabia’s candidacy to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup.

There will be a Second Saudi Arabia-CARICOM Summit in 2026.

Additionally, PM Pierre also spoke about the recent African Trade Forum that he attended. He noted that travel to Africa was no longer a wish, but “an achievable goal”.

“We are looking to get some direct flights from Africa and the region,” he explained. “Right now, you can come through London and get Africa and London to the region. There are flights every day in the region, but we are looking to get some direct flights …and this is why we are approaching it from a CARICOM level, and how can CARICOM get involved in these discussions.”

Pierre asserted: “We are (currently) developing our South – South relations.”

1 Comment

  1. Please, in these times, when the great man’s agenda is a revival of neo- colonialism;

    them that seek to join house to house and field to field that they may be left alone in the earth,

    please, proceed carefully in the Middle East arena. Remember the admonitions of our elders –

    Belle parole moone cest un veere
    Ouverr jol lapeine pour faire
    assiway -e- pas un leon sovy.

    May GOD guide you in your raproachment towards kings bearing gifts.

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