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Slater plans on strengthening relations with traditional friends

Slater plans on strengthening relations with traditional friends

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New Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Douglas Slater says he is planning to strengthen existing relations with traditional friends and explore new ones.{{more}}

Slater made the announcement on Thursday, March 3. He said the relationships sought with “non-traditional partners would be developed in an environment of mutual respect and mutual benefits.”

Slater, under whose portfolio International Trade and Commerce falls, said the friendship this country shares with its Latin American neighbours, in particular, Cuba, was no longer considered as “non-traditional, as it was established a very long time ago.”

“We live in the Caribbean, we live in Latin America and the Caribbean region. I think it is only prudent to do our utmost to develop relationships with our neighbours,” he said.

Slater said in 2001, when the Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration took office, it had realized the importance of developing that relationship. He then pointed out the opportunities students have to pursue tertiary level training in Latin American and other countries which have diplomatic relations with St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

He said not only were they returning with a certificate of higher learning, but also with a second language.

The Minister said this country had benefited greatly from diplomatic relations with Venezuela. He noted that the international airport was being built with assistance from Venezuela, Cuba and other diplomatic allies.

He said cheaper cooking gas was another way this country had benefited from participating in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).

ALBA is an international cooperation organization, based on the idea of social, political, and economic integration between the countries of Latin American and the Caribbean and is an attempt at regional economic integration, based on a vision of social welfare and mutual economic aid, rather than trade liberalization, as with free trade agreements.

“I’m proud to be now at the helm of foreign policy effort to move the country forward,” said Slater.

He praised the staff at the Ministry for the work they have done so far and promised to build on it.