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French Ambassador ends tour of duty in Saint Lucia

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Contact: Rose Marie Harris

Monday, March 31, 2003 - “Ambassador Henry Vidal was not solely an Ambassador he was a very dear friend of Saint Lucia,” said Prime Minister Honourable, Dr. Kenny Anthony as he said farewell to the outgoing French Ambassador to Saint Lucia on Monday.

Prime Minister Anthony said the relationship which now exists between Saint Lucia and France was brought about during Ambassador Vidal’s tenure. He expressed his hope that that relationship would be further strengthened. “First of all, the decision by the French government to allow Saint Lucians to visit Martinique without visas. Initially Ambassador Vidal played a key role in facilitating that initiative and thanks to his effort and his support Saint Lucians are able to travel to Martinique without visas, initially, on an experimental basis. Obviously now we have to make sure that we put in a sound and proper footing and I know we are finalising certain adjustments.”

Mr. Vidal was also instrumental in getting the French Embassy to assist the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force in sourcing vital equipment. Dr. Anthony says the ambassador also contributed to Saint Lucia’s infrastructural development.

“One of the projects that really excite me is the Road Rehabilitation Programme to enhance our eco-tourism product. Earlier this year we announced that the Ajen Francais Development had made available a very generous loan to Saint Lucia, a loan that provides several years of moratorium for which we are very, very deeply grateful but what is most important too is that that loan is going to touch the lives of Saint Lucians particularly those persons residing in communities where the tourism potential is real and obvious.”

Ambassador Henry Vidal says for any country to develop there must be partnership, as government alone cannot handle the responsibility of developing the island. “Many of our projects here are Saint Lucian projects which has been designed by your government and you personally. What has facilitated my mission is your willingness to strengthen the relation between our two countries and as you have many times told me which was an encouragement for me and for my government that the relationship existing between the two countries to have a kind of a special relation, a bond of some sentimentality,” Ambassador Vidal said.

Ambassador Vidal served in Saint Lucia from April 2000.

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