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Saint Lucia deepens diplomatic relations with Martinique

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Contact: Julita Peter

Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - Officials of the government of Saint Lucia on Friday February 07, 2003 met with the French Government officials in the neighbouring island of Martinique for the official opening of a Saint Lucia Consulate there. Heading the local delegation was Prime Minister, Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony who said that the Consulate is further testimony of the tremendous relationship that the two islands share.

Dr Anthony said that the presence of a Saint Lucia Consulate in Martinique is expected to ease the pressures of diplomatic representation for Saint Lucian nationals in the French island. He added that whilst it is vital that the two islands maintain close ties, the two must tackle the problems of crime such as the smuggling of guns and other criminal activities.

I am also very concerned that a lot of the guns that we have here in Saint Lucia have their origins in Martinique, so that I would want to take the opportunity to discuss security issues with Martiniquan officials; notwithstanding the issue of security, of even greater significance is the abuse of the recent French visa regime which may be serving as a conduit for persons with criminal intent to enter Martinique, Dr. Anthony said.

It is also hoped the setting up of the Consulate will assist in the bolstering the relationship between Saint Lucia and Martinique in terms of trade and investments. Whilst in Martinique government officials took the opportunity to meet with over 200 Saint Lucians now residing in Martinique to apprise them of the role and functions of the Consulate and to get first hand, information on some of their concerns.

The Ministry of External Affairs and International Trade intends to make more regular contacts with the various Saint Lucia associations in Martinique. The Consulate is under the leadership of Madame Christian Dussiel and is located at 3 Rue De La Liberation in Fort de France.

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