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US$5.8 million in aid from Japan

US$5.8 million in aid from Japan

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In about a year’s time, the fisheries sector and the industrial landscape of St Vincent and the Grenadines will benefit from much needed equipment and machinery.

On Tuesday, a signing ceremony was held to mark Japan’s grant aid for industrial projects and the project for the improvement of fisheries equipment {{more}}and machinery in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Counsellor at the Embassy of Japan, Masatoshi Sato highlighted that “the grant for the improvement of fisheries equipment and machinery is intended to improve fisheries product distribution and fisheries management” while an important aim of the grant for the provision of industry products was intended to “to address the damage caused by the heavy rainfall in December last year.”

According to Sato, both grants are valued at approximately US$5.8million, with the fisheries grant costing US$4.8 million, and the grant for industry products, US$1 million.

Referring to the relationship between St Vincent and the Grenadines and Japan, the Counsellor stated, “The government of Japan looks forward to advancing relations as global partners and further strengthen cooperation in various fields for the benefit of both countries.”

In his remarks, Minister of Agriculture, Industry, Forestry, Fisheries and Rural Transformation, Saboto Caesar expressed thanks to the government and people of Japan.

“This is a part of an overall framework for partnership between our states. The unwavering support over the years has helped us in our quest to create blue growth, which is the utilisation of the marine resources to create wealth for our citizens and economic growth for the entire country,” Caesar said.

The minister outlined the importance of food security in the nation and in the OECS, therefore it is critical that people continue in the effort to unlock the true potential of seas and oceans within island territory.

He assured that the fisheries equipment to be received will play a significant role in meeting such goals and by extension, in the uplifting of the entire sector.

“It is critical to achieve our goals of creating blue growth, but in doing so, there are several hurdles. We have to increase our scales of extraction of fish from the seas and we also have to develop better landside facilities. It is in this regard that I would like to thank the government and people of Japan for historically partnering with St Vincent and the Grenadines to ensure that we have the requisite landside facilities and we are here to upgrade some of those facilities so that they can be enhanced so that we can increase our production and productivity,” the minister said.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves joined with Caesar to convey his gratitude for the grants. The Prime Minister, who noted the longstanding friendship between this country and Japan, stressed the cost of the equipment and the importance of such items to St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Gonsalves noted that while there are eight fishing complexes on the island; two of which were funded by Japan, more needs to be done to maintain the facilities.

“Despite the fact that we are doing pretty well, we need to do better and of course in the other islands, in Canouan and in Union Island, where we have fishing complexes which are important institutions for the livelihoods of people, for sustainable livelihoods,” he said.

Additionally, he also highlighted aid that was received in times of natural disasters and presented the long list of items that this country will be receiving through the grants.

Included in the list were refrigeration systems, ice machines and condensing units for fishing complexes in Calliaqua, Canouan and Union Island.

In Kingstown, an overhaul of the compressor and a refrigeration fan will be provided while Owia will benefit from an elevated water reservoir tank, restoration of the ice plant and subsidiary work which includes exchanging the fuel supply equipment.

The grant aid for the provision of industrial products includes a wheel loader, excavator, 12 jackhammers, 12 impact wrenches, 4 hand shearers, 250 first aid kits, 2 units for computed radiography, two diagnostic ultrasound systems, two autoclaves, one infrared thermograph camera, a special vehicle with a powerlift seat, 10 adjustable height wheelchairs and 30 foldable wheelchairs.

Also included are four firefighting support vehicles, 10 lifeboats, high pressure washers and desktop computers.

These items are to be distributed among the Roads, Buildings and General Services Authority, the National Emergency Management Organisation, the E T Joshua Airport, the coastguard service, the firefighting service, the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment and other agencies.

“I called them out to give a full indication as to the extent of this contribution and it’s a big contribution. If we had to spend the money on these things, necessary and desirable, we’d have to find more than EC$15 million. Now we can spend that money elsewhere,” Gonsalves said.

Sato revealed that Japan is in the procurement phase of the items promised and that they will be delivered in approximately one year’s time.(BK)

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