Saint Lucia can count on Mex­ico

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - Am­bas­sador So­corro Flores Liera By

For Mex­ico, the Caribbean rep­re­sents a strate­gic re­gion and a nat­u­ral zone for part­ner­ships and syn­er­gies. In re­cent years, Saint Lucia has be­come the flag­ship of many of the co­op­er­a­tion ini­tia­tives that Mex­ico is de­vel­op­ing or aims to de­velop in the Caribbean Re­gion. Mex­ico has worked closely with Saint Lucia to pre­vent and re­cover from the ef­fects of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters that have hit the coun­try.

A mile­stone in our re­la­tion­ship is marked by the sig­na­ture of the first con­tract in the English speak­ing Caribbean coun­tries to de­velop an in­fra­struc­ture co­op­er­a­tion project in the frame­work of the Yu­catan Agree­ment, which was signed in Saint Lucia, in March 2014. It per­mit­ted the con­struc­tion of three build­ings for the Saint Jude’s Hos­pi­tal com­plex and that I will have the honor to hand over to the Govern­ment of Saint Lucia dur­ing my visit. The se­cond one was also a Saint Lu­cian project; in this case a wa­ter treat­ment plant. I am con­fi­dent that my con­ver­sa­tions with Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet and mem­bers of his Cab­i­net of Min­is­ters will al­low us to push this im­por­tant ini­tia­tive even fur­ther.

Some tech­ni­cal and sci­en­tific co­op­er­a­tion projects that we have de­vel­oped to­gether have been so suc­cess­ful that Mex­ico is work­ing to repli­cate them in other Caribbean coun­tries. As ex­am­ples, we can men­tion the de­vel­op­ment of co­conut plants re­sis­tant to plagues and the use of one of the green­houses that Mex­ico do­nated back in 2013 as a hub to train farm­ers and other ac­tors in the field of pro­tected agri­cul­ture. This project is been repli­cated in Gre­nada and we had re­ceived re­quests from other Eastern Caribbean coun­tries.

A corner­stone of our co­op­er­a­tion ef­forts has been our schol­ar­ship pro­gram. This year, it in­cluded a full schol­ar­ship pro­gram for post­grad­u­ate stud­ies and a spe­cial pro­gram of bach­e­lor de­gree pro­grams at a very low cost. I am very pleased to an­nounce that the Eastern Caribbean coun­tries pre­sented nine can­di­da­cies for post­grad­u­ate stud­ies, three from Saint Lucia. It is a con­sid­er­able in­crease from last year’s num­bers.

Mex­ico also un­der­stands that, in or­der to strengthen our bi­lat­eral ties in all fields, it is nec­es­sary to erad­i­cate the idea of a sup­posed lan­guage bar­rier. There­fore, as the coun­try with the largest Span­ish speak­ing pop­u­la­tion in the world, we have de­cided to un­der­take a ma­jor com­pre­hen­sive strategy to make our lan­guage the se­cond of the An­glo­phone Caribbean. In this the Mex­i­can Em­bassy in Saint Lucia has led us and has brought to the ta­ble a clus­ter of top Mex­i­can Uni­ver­si­ties and Saint Lucia’s in­sti­tu­tions in or­der to pro­vide cour­ses and pro­grams to in­crease the lan­guage skills of the Saint Lu­cian peo­ple. I want to rec­og­nize also the sup­port of the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and the Em­bassies of Spain and Venezuela in Saint Lucia in this en­deavor.

As you know, our Em­bassy here rep­re­sents Mex­ico to the Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). I rec­og­nize and com­mand the ef­forts and the im­por­tant re­sults that the Eastern Caribbean coun­tries have achieved in their in­te­gra­tion process. You will find in Mex­ico a true ally on that route. Mex­ico proudly rec­og­nizes that the high level of the po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue that we have reached with our friends in Saint Lucia and the rest of the Caribbean have ma­te­ri­al­ized in a broader range of part­ner­ships and con­cor­dances also at the mul­ti­lat­eral level fo­rums such as CARICOM or the ACS.

Cul­ture is per­haps the eas­i­est way to get to know a coun­try. We want Saint Lucia and the Eastern Caribbean to know us bet­ter. With that in mind, we had this year a Na­tional Day cel­e­bra­tion with a gas­tron­omy com­po­nent and there were pre­sen­ta­tions of Mex­i­can mu­sic and folk­lore. From Mon­day, we will present sam­ples of our con­tem­po­rary film­mak­ing and con­cert type mu­sic in the frame­work of the se­cond edi­tion of LACFEST, the Latin Amer­i­can and Caribbean Film Fes­ti­val.

Fi­nally, let me re­fer to com­merce and trade. From the 16th to the 18th of this month we will host in Can­cun, the se­cond edi­tion of the Can­cun Fo­rum, a space for in­vestors, dis­trib­u­tors, and com­pa­nies from Mex­ico and the Greater Caribbean to present each other busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties that will push the ex­changes be­tween us to the place our friend­ship de­serves for them to be.

I want to say that we have demon­strated with facts that Mex­ico is a close and re­li­able part­ner of Saint Lucia and the Eastern Caribbean. Let us start the next page of our com­mon book by work­ing on bring­ing us closer us­ing cre­ative ap­proaches and project de­signs. Mex­ico is here; Mex­ico wants many more years of a stronger and fruit­ful friend­ship.

Am­bas­sador So­corro Flores Liera is the Vice Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs of Mex­ico for Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean. She vis­ited Saint Lucia ear­lier this week of­fi­cially mark­ing the se­cond edi­tion of the LACFEST fes­ti­val be­gin­ning Mon­day next week.

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