PM thanks Nigeria for close ties
Thursday, August 2 2012
PRIME MINISTER Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday praised the close bilateral ties this country shares with Nigeria, saying that while Trinidad and Tobago celebrates its 50th anniversary of Independence this year, it also celebrates 50 years of relations with Nigeria.
Speaking yesterday during Emancipation Day celebrations attended by Nigeria’s President Dr Goodluck Jonathon in Port-of-Spain, including the Kambule parade, the Prime Minister said this country is “eternally grateful” to Nigeria for all of its support over the past 50 years.
“Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria continue to enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1962. Nigeria was amongst the first countries to welcome a newly independent Trinidad and Tobago to the international community and so 2012 is a significant milestone in our relationship with Nigeria. As we celebrate our fiftieth anniversary of Independence, we also mark 50 years of diplomatic relations with the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” she said.
She pointed out that Jonathon’s visit to Trinidad and Tobago, which ends when he flies out to Jamaica today, continues a tradition of the exchange of high-level visits between TT and Nigeria.
“It was in 1964 that our first Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Dr Eric Williams visited Nigeria on his Tour of Africa, signalling Trinidad and Tobago’s desire to re-connect with the Continent as a newly independent nation,” Persad-Bissessar reminisced.
She said this commitment was reinforced in 2008 when Trinidad and Tobago embarked on the Africa Energy Initiative, offering technical consultation and assistance in the energy sector to several African nations.
The African Energy Initiative, she added, is currently under revision in order to improve efficiency for all stakeholders and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs will launch a new Africa Initiative policy in due course.
“In the interim, Trinidad and Tobago will continue to collaborate with Nigeria in energy and energy related projects and looks forward to welcoming delegations from Nigeria to visit Trinidad and Tobago for exchanges in this area. Trinidad and Tobago also remains committed to making available to Nigeria its technical experts in the energy sector.
“I await the report from the Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs on the proposed Izombe Gas Processing Project between the National Gas Company, the National Energy Corporation and Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited of Trinidad and Tobago and the National Petroleum Corporation of Nigeria.
She said that this country is “pleased” to be a part of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme initiated and implemented by the Office of the President of Nigeria to engage young persons from the energy-rich Niger Delta in training and rehabilitation programmes, thereby contributing to the positive development of that region.
On Wednesday July 25, the National Energy Skills Centre held a graduation ceremony for its first group of trainees from the programme who are now certified in the areas of Automotive Service Maintenance, Heavy Equipment Operations and Millwright and Shielded Metal Arc Wielding.
Persad-Bissessar expressed confidence that the 53 graduates will utilise the skills acquired to enhance the human capital of the Niger Delta. I am informed that another group of approximately 80 trainees are expected to arrive in Trinidad and Tobago and that discussions are underway for the implementation of a similar training model in Nigeria.