By Caribbean News Global contributor
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent – Minister of foreign affairs, trade and commerce of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sir Louis Straker, led a high-level delegation to Accra, Ghana, for the first meeting of the Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation (PJCC) between the two countries.
The inaugural meeting held February 11 – 14, 2020, comprised Saboto Caesar, minister of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, rural transformation, industry and labour; Sandy Peters-Phillips, permanent secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs, trade and commerce; and H.E. Ellsworth I. John, Ambassador of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in Cuba and concurrent High Commissioner Designate to the Republic of Ghana.
The Ghana delegation led by Shirley Ayorkor Botchway included minister of foreign affairs and regional integration, Ambrose Dery, minister of the interior; Barbara Oteng Gyasi, minister of tourism, arts and culture; Dr Sagre Bambangi, deputy minister of food and agriculture in charge of annual Crops, and Yoofi Grant, chief executive officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), and H.E. Napoleon Abdulai, High Commissioner of the Republic of Ghana in Cuba accredited to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The PJCC originated from discussions between Dr Ralph E. Gonsalves, prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, president of the Republic of Ghana, when prime minister Gonsalves visited Ghana in November 2018; and signed a General Cooperation Agreement.
Discussions for the PJCC continued during the reciprocal visit by the president of Ghana in June 2019.
During the four days of meetings, agreements were made for cooperation in the areas of political policy coordination, agriculture, trade and investment, tourism, culture, health, and education.
Both parties agreed to cooperate in the promotion of the Vincentian initiative for the establishment of an Africa, Brazil, Caribbean, and Diaspora (ABCD) Commission.
The government of the Republic of Ghana agreed to assist Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the area of agriculture, particularly in the production of a variety of yams as a major crop; and cocoa for which Ghana is a leading producer in the world.
A draft Air Services Agreement between both countries is under consideration as well as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in tourism, arts, and culture, and another MoU with Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to enhance collaboration including the development of root crops and breadfruit.
The minister of tourism, arts and culture of Ghana is scheduled to travel to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines within the next two months to facilitate an MoU related to tourism.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines agreed to grant five scholarships for nurses from Ghana to undertake specialised training in its programme, effective 2021.
The next meeting of the PJCC is scheduled to take place in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines during the first quarter of 2022.