By Iddi Yire, GNA
Accra, Feb. 14, GNA - Ghana and St Vincent and the Grenadines have renewed commitments towards enhancing bilateral relations for their mutual benefits.
The two countries signed the agreement at the end of the maiden Session of the Ghana - St Vincent and the Grenadines Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation (PJCC) in Accra, from February 12 to 14.
The PJCC originated from discussions between President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Dr Ralph Everard Gonsalves, the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, when the latter paid an official visit to Ghana in November, 2018.
President Akufo-Addo also paid a reciprocal visit to the 32-island nation as part of his tour of the Caribbean region in June, 2019.
Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, and Sir Louis Hilton Straker, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce of St Vincent and the Grenadines, signed the Agreements for Cooperation and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
During the Session, the technical teams of the two countries exchanged views and tabled various proposals, which would undoubtedly enhance their bilateral relations through cooperation in the fields of agriculture, fisheries, health, education, scientific research, tourism, arts and culture, aviation and investment.
It also discussed provision and exchange of technical support in the tourism industry, the establishment of the proposed Africa, Brazil, Caribbean and Diaspora Commission (ABCD Commission) and the production of cocoa and cocoa-related products, as well as root crops such as yam and cassava.
Madam Botchwey said on the political front, Ghana endorsed the initiative of the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to establish the ABCD Commission.
At the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Akufo-Addo tabled this proposal to his colleagues for consideration.
Madam Botchwey said during the PJCC Session, Ghana and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines also agreed to cooperate closely in the training of nurses in specialised areas.
St Vincent and the Grenadines committed to offering five scholarships to Ghana while Ghana offered to share her technical expertise in plant medicine with her.
That, she said, would allow for joint research in the cultivation of plants for the production of medicines.
The Vincentian side further proposed to sponsor two Ghanaian researchers to survey the various species of plants in their country as well as facilitate Ghanaian investment in their pharmaceutical industry.
As a means of boosting tourism between the two countries, it was agreed that skilled Ghanaians in dressmaking and cultural artefacts would assist their Vincentian counterparts to sharpen their artistry within the frame work of the MoU.
They also agreed to partner for investment promotion opportunities and expressed a strong interest in bridging the gap between the African Continent and the Caribbean by signing the bilateral Air Services Agreement, which is currently under consideration.
Madam Botchwey said arrangements were ongoing for Ghana’s soon-to-be launched national airline to include the Caribbean Region in its routes.
Sir Straker, on his part, noted that although St Vincent and the Grenadines is a small country, it looked forward to developing “a big relations with Ghana.”
“We want the people of Ghana to know that they have brothers and sisters in the Caribbean and we are trying very hard to reach out to you. We know it is very difficult because of the connectivity that is lacking.”
That was due to the absence of air transport to easily bring people of average means together, he said.
Sir Straker noted that they were working hard to establish direct air link between the Caribbean and Africa, to facilitate easy movement of their people, goods and services.
The Second Session of the PJCC would be held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2022.