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St. Lucia PM presents $148,000 cheque to Grenada

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Monday, January 24, 2005 - ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada: St. Lucia's Prime Minister, Dr Kenny Anthony, who is presently on three-day official visit to Cayenne (French Guiana), on Friday presented a cheque for the amount of $148,000, on behalf of the Government and people of St. Lucia, to Grenada's Prime Minister Keith Mitchell during a brief ceremony in St. George’s.

Prime Minister Anthony pointed out that the funds were put together by “ordinary St. Lucians", following the destruction of Grenada at the hands of Hurricane Ivan in September of 2004. Dr. Anthony added that it was the desire of the people of St. Lucia that the money be used in the area of housing, as so many houses were destroyed or damaged by Ivan, and many Grenadians were uninsured. 

In accepting the cheque, Dr. Mitchell expressed deep appreciation on the part of the Government and people of Grenada, pointing out that Hurricane Ivan had shown “the sense of commitment” to one another that exists between Caribbean countries."

The presentation came at the conclusion of a meeting between Heads of Government of the OECS Grouping and World Bank President James Wolfensohn, which was held at the Caribbean Hall on the campus of the St. George’s University.

At the one-day meeting, it was agreed to establish a methodology to prioritise the developmental needs of the sub-region. The decision makers were, Prime Ministers Keith Mitchell, Kenny Anthony, Denzil Douglas, Roosevelt Skerrit, Baldwin Spencer and Ralph Gonsalves, OECS Secretary General Len Ishmael, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Governor Sir Dwight Venner and a delegation from the World Bank headed by President James Wolfensohn.

Dr. Mitchell called the meeting historic, and said the presence of the World Bank President in Grenada, the second visit for Mr. Wolfensohn to the sub-region, demonstrated his commitment to the sub-region. There was a similar get together in St. Kitts in November of 2002.

In speaking with Caribbean Net News via the telephone, President Wolfensohn described the meeting as “extraordinarily useful,” noting that several areas were reviewed, adding that one thing that stuck with him was the sub-region's susceptibility to natural disasters. 

An agreement was also reached whereby the Bank would report back to the Heads within 60 days, and provide a list of priorities for their endorsement and development. The list would guide the World Bank and other donor agencies as to how to match the objectives of the specific priorities.

During the meeting, developmental issues, such as the need for more training for young people and ways by which the skills obtained through the training can be translated into jobs and business opportunities; the rising crime rates in many OECS States and the wider Caribbean; public sector reform and commercialisation of government services; as well as the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN) were also looked at.

Meanwhile, in his welcome remarks, Dr. Mitchell, who also chaired the meeting, provided an update on the CKLN, which has been registered in Grenada as a non-profit foundation under the Companies Ordinance.

According to him, the Network is “now ready to open offices, open bank accounts and begin operations at its headquarters in St. George’s. Discussions are underway with E-Links Americas to provide the low cost satellite connections.” 

It was also said that, an Aide Memoire had been agreed between E-Links Americas and the CKLN Foundation for the provision of the satellite connectivity and the networking elements to connect the tertiary institutions into a network. 

Mitchell disclosed that the first phase of institutional strengthening of tertiary education institutions had begun in nine countries and these are: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We acknowledge the unwavering support of the World Bank, without which the Network could not have progressed as far as it has, during the past 12 months. In particular, I take this opportunity, and I know I speak on behalf of all Heads here today, to pay tribute to you, Mr. Wolfensohn, for your personal commitment to this Project,” Dr. Mitchell said. 

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