On Wednesday, November 15, 2023, on the eve of the first-ever CARICOM-Saudi Arabia Summit, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew, the prime minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, had a major discussion with H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, the chief executive officer of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD).
The signing ceremony was held in the Saudi Arabian capital city of Riyadh ahead of today, Thursday, November 16, 2023, the start of the Saudi-CARICOM Summit.
In an effort to draw investment to Saint Kitts and Nevis, Prime Minister Drew reaffirmed his commitment to promoting bilateral talks and collaboration.
“We are steadfast in our commitment to engaging in bilateral discussions and fostering cooperation, aiming to attract investments to propel the development of Saint Kitts and Nevis,” he said, underscoring the severity of their position.
Prime Minister Drew outlined certain areas of attention during the talks with the goal of accelerating economic growth in the Federation.
Important subjects of discussion were the agricultural project, cooperative energy investment, and the Federation’s sustainable island state master plan, which includes the seven main pillars of the sustainable island state Agenda.
The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has decided to provide Saudi Riyal (SAR) 150,000,000, or US$40 million, toward the Financing Development of the Needsmust Power Plant Project.
This is a noteworthy development. The St. Kitts Electricity Company (SKELEC) will have new generators installed as well as a meter system.
By providing funds for this project, SFD will contribute to the socioeconomic growth of Saint Kitts and Nevis as well as the nation’s energy supply.
Reaching a historic first, Saint Kitts and Nevis was the first country in the Caribbean to be granted visa-free travel to Saudi Arabia. It is also the second country in CARICOM to formally sign an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Kingdom.
The leaders of the Saudi Fund for Development and Prime Minister Drew both stated how much they wanted to deepen the friendship and cooperation that already existed between Saudi Arabia and Saint Kitts & Nevis.
The two countries’ cooperative relationship has entered a new chapter marked by the commitment to further talks and cooperative measures.
At the signing were the following individuals: Mr. Abdullah bin Muhammad Alsaihani, the recently appointed Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Saint Kitts and Nevis; the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Kaye Bass, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Naeemah Hazelle, the Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office; Wakely Daniel, the Ambassador to CARICOM; and Larry Vaughan, the Ambassador to CARICOM.
The signing of the MOU demonstrates SFD’s commitment to advancing sustainable development in the Caribbean region and highlights the need of international cooperation and unanimity in achieving the SDGs.
This pledge is to support economic and social development, with a special emphasis on Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
The Memorandum of Understanding further restates the Prime Minister’s dedication to the Federation’s general progress toward becoming an island state that can support itself.