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High Commissioner of India to SKN discusses collaborative initiatives being considered in Federation

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – Dr. K.J. Srinivasa, High Commissioner of India to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, during his visit to the nation, met with several ministers to speak about initiatives the Government of India is willing to collaborate on with the Federation.

Dr. Srinivasa outlined some proposals that were discussed as possible initiatives to be undertaken in the Federation.

“The first proposal was basically to give a grant of US$1 million for SME machinery and equipment to assist the local entrepreneurs and businesses. These [machineries] and equipment will be given to those industries which the government of St. Kitts and Nevis propose, and we are giving it as a grant with a maintenance period, training, everything included in the package. So this could be in agro-processing, any other packaging industry or anything that the government of St. Kitts and Nevis feels like. We are trying to see if we could get these proposals by mid-July so that we can start processing them and sending the funds so that we can get the companies to produce these machineries and equipment from India, [then] come here and install them for your convenience. There’s no restriction on the sector.

The second proposal was a $50,000 grant for five “Quick Impact Government Development” projects such as shared houses, greenhouses, vocational schools, hospitals and more.

The third component is the skills development and capacity building of the nation’s people.

“The government of India is willing to explore options of custom-made high-tech courses. St. Kitts and Nevis will say I need five slots for legal drafting in the Office of the Attorney General. We will consider that, talk to the institutes and get back with a fully-paid, high-tech training course, and we will be able to work on that… We have asked the [Foreign Affairs Ministry] to inquire with all the ministries and get back to us with proposals. This is a huge exercise, but we believe at the end of the day, with similar exercises being done by other countries, we’ll come to know in a way [that] most of the countries in the Caribbean have a similar wish list, so we will plan to combine certain courses and then get everybody, but we will respect what the respective countries ask us.”

In conjunction with training experts, the fourth proposal involves sending experts from India to the Federation based on what needs must be met.

“The fifth important point is that the government of India recognises the important role that the marine economy plays here in the region. So we have recruited a fisheries expert, a scientist, into the region for three years to the CARICOM. He is based in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but he will be travelling to various countries through the Caribbean Fisheries Mechanism. He’s [been] there since January, so he’s already done visits to Anguilla, Guyana, Surinam and other places. We are told that he will soon be visiting the OECS. They are already doing a program for the OECS to raise the fisheries and the fish stock. So he will be coming and talking to your people to see if we can do some aquaculture… he’s a very accomplished scientist from India.”

Additionally, India has offered the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis the option for 16 members of law enforcement, specifically, the Defence Force and Coast Guard, to head to India for training which could last for 12 to 97 weeks, to bolster the security of the Federation. The training ranges from logistics, investigation and other parameters in law enforcement and border security.

As it relates to all of the proposals, the onus is on the Government to indicate what is needed for the Federation, make the proposals and submit them to India for consideration and approval.

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