Commonwealth Secretary-General’s visit focuses on help for small states

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 13TH 2013 (CUOPM) – How best the Commonwealth can assist St Kitts and Nevis towards ensuring tangible development outcomes in areas of debt, aid and trade will be one of several issues to be discussed Tuesday between Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and visiting Secretary General of the Commonwealth, His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma.

“The need to raise awareness of the financing and debt challenges facing small and vulnerable economies, and to secure support for solutions at the highest level, is a Commonwealth priority,” the Secretary-General said. His discussions would focus in particular on Commonwealth support to small states.

The Commonwealth official who arrived here on British Airways on Saturday went on an island tour of St. Kitts on Sunday and was guest at a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Douglas.

The Secretary-General will brief Prime Minister Douglas and officials on current developments ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

On Monday morning, Mr. Sharma met with Speaker of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly, the Hon. Curtis Martin before travelling to Nevis in the afternoon for a meeting with the Leader of the Opposition the Hon. Mark Brantley.

On Tuesday he will hold separate talks with Minister of Health, Community and Social Development and Gender Affairs, the Hon. Marcella Liburd; Minister of Youth and Sports, the Hon. Glen Phillip; Attorney General, the Hon. Jason Hamilton and Prime Minister Douglas.

Thirty-two of the Commonwealth’s 54 member countries are categorised as small states. They share similar vulnerabilities such as remoteness, susceptibility to economic and climate-related external shocks, as well as high debt.

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