21 June, 2016 (Ottawa, Canada) – On an overcast day in Canada`s capital, Foreign Minister Mark Brantley made history by joining High Commissioner Skerritt-Andrew in officially opening the Federation`s first independent chancery in Canada. Gathered at the auspicious occasion were senior representatives of the host country, members of the Ottawa diplomatic corps and nationals and friends of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Minister Brantley in his speech recalled St. Kitts and Nevis and Canada`s long standing relationship while highlighting that the relationship predated the establishment of diplomatic relations on 11 October, 1983. The Foreign Minister reminded that there is a strong tradition of migration, investment and educational exchanges that anchors the strategic relationship. He thanked Canadians for their confidence in the Federation by stating that, “many Canadians who have journeyed to our shores and have contributed to our own national development – be it in the areas of hospitality, tourism or education. Renown establishments such as the five diamond Four Seasons Resort Nevis, the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino, the Royal St. Kitts Hotel (formerly Jack Tar) as well as Windsor University are all Canadian in some shape or form. Investors hailing from Canada have often found opportunity on our shores and a home for their families.” The Minister used the opportunity to express the government`s desire to see such investments and positive contributions continued.
On the Canadian side, Hon. Matt Decourcey, the Parliamentary Secretary to Canada`s Minister of Foreign Affairs used the opportunity to express Canada`s own delight in welcoming St. Kitts and Nevis return to the Canadian diplomatic scene. He underscored the importance of embassies in a changing world and the value of being on the ground to truly influence outcomes.
After a brief ceremony which saw a soaring violin rendition of both national anthems by Gifford Ko of Taiwan and a prayer by Reverend Tony Hadley, Minister Brantley officially cut the ribbon to the new chancery – effectively ushering in a new era of heightened engagement.
The opening of the new High Commission marks a recalibration of St. Kitts and Nevis foreign policy in line with Canada`s increasing hemispheric and global leadership role.