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US Says in Favour of Prefential Treatment for Caribbean Bananas

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August 18, 1999 - The issue of Windward Island Bananas was the main focus, when US Ambassador to Saint Lucia, His Excellency William Crotty visited the island Tuesday and presented his letters of Credence to Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy.

During the brief meeting Mr. Crotty pledged his country’s recommitment to seeking ways of ensuring that Windward Island bananas continue to receive preferential treatment.

According to the US diplomat, much has already been done that has made a difference in people’s lives, from promoting trade and investment and protecting the environment to strengthening education and combating international crime and drug trafficking. We still have much to do to meet the ambitious goals established at the Bridgetown Accord Summit held some two years ago. "I want to assure the government and people of Saint Lucia, the United States remains firmly committed to finding a mutually satisfactory resolution of the WTO Banana Case that ensures continued access and preferential treatment for the Windward Island bananas." The US official assured government that there continues to be close consultation with all interested parties, with a view to finding such a solution.

On her part, Dame Pearlette Louisy highlighted the historic visit of President Bill Clinton to the Eastern Caribbean two years ago. "What was most memorable was the tremendous upsurge of hope and enthusiasm and generous goodwill that this visit generated as well as the new spirit of partnership that the Bridgetown Accord evoked between the Caribbean and its nearest neighbor, the United States."

Dame Pearlette Louisy emphasized that there is need to recapture this spontaneous fervour and vitality which inspired the deliberations and decisions of this historic meeting, so that the efforts at preserving peace and democracy and at advancing the economic and social progress to which the Caribbean and the United States them committed themselves can be sustained.

"Your Excellency, Saint Lucia understandably has bananas on its mind. Bananas have preoccupied our minds, our energies and our resources. I am therefore pleased to hear you give us the assurance that the United States is firmly committed to finding a mutually satisfactory resolution to this issue and one that ensures continued access and preferential treatment for our bananas and that of the Windward," the Governor General ended.

The issue of bananas has been the main issue of most of the recent discussions taking place between the Caribbean and the United States and in the words of the island’s governor general "it is because we are committed to seeking the wherewithal to indeed carve a brighter future for our country."

While here on island Ambassador William Crotty also met with Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Kenny Anthony, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International trade, Hon. George Odlum and members of the local media.


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