Premier Brantley recounts his accomplishments as Foreign Minister of St Kitts and Nevis

Premier Mark Brantley recounts his accomplishments as Foreign Minister of St Kitts and Nevis

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Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis: Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis, who is the former Foreign Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, has recalled his days as the Foreign minister and stated that those were his fondest memories.

While sharing an update on social media, the minister stated, “My time as Foreign Minister of St Kitts and Nevis remains one of my fondest memories as I spearheaded the diplomatic efforts of St Kitts and Nevis abroad.”

Further, he shared his achievements and accomplishments as the minister of Foreign Affairs.

He outlined that in 7 years, from 2015 to 2022, he was able to:

1. Purchase premises and open a High Commission in Ottawa, Canada, the only OECS country having such high-level representation in Canada at that time.

2. Purchase a Chancery building to house our Embassies and residence in Washington, DC. Yes, St Kitts and Nevis now own their own building in the US Capital.

3. Open an Embassy in the United Arab Emirates.

4. Expand our diplomatic footprint significantly, formalizing diplomatic relations with some 48 new countries, including 18 in Africa.

5. Expand our visa-free travel network by adding some 35 countries, of which 13 are in Africa.

6. Making the St Kitts Nevis passport the most powerful in the region based on the number of countries we can access without a visa. This added significantly to the success of our CBI programme.

7. Secured scholarships for training of Kittitians and Nevisians in Morocco, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Indonesia, Romania and Turkey.

Picture courtesy: Premier Mark Brantley, Facebook

8. Negotiated with Canada to have an itinerant biometrics collection framework where Canadian immigration officials come to St Kitts Nevis to collect biometrics of those seeking Canadian visas rather than our people having to bear the high cost of travel to Barbados or Trinidad. This initiative, first mooted by us in Ottawa, has benefitted other countries in the region also.

9. Negotiated with the US to be included in the visa interview waiver so that qualified citizens of SKN no longer have to travel to Barbados to renew their US visas.

10. For the first time in history hired competent Nevisians to join the diplomatic corps representing our country. Nevisians have now joined their Kittitian counterparts in Basseterre, New York, DC, London and Canada as we harness the best and the brightest to represent us diplomatically.

11. Get invited by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with him and a short list of Caribbean countries in Jamaica.

12. Addressed the UN General Assembly in New York in 2017.

13. Revived Diplomatic Week and provided advice and support to other CARICOM countries seeking to emulate our efforts in SKN.

14. Led media efforts on the Windrush issue in London after the groundwork had been laid by our High Commissioner in London, Dr Kevin Isaac and his Barbadian counterpart HE Guy Hewitt. Due to our collective efforts, PM Therea May apologized in Parliament, Home Secretary Amber Rudd apologized in Parliament and later resigned, and a compensation scheme was launched for victims of this scandal.

15. Raised the profile of SKN regionally and internationally and avoided any hint of scandal or diplomatic row during my tenure.

16. Cemented ties with our best friend Taiwan and secured the first visit of a Taiwan President to Nevis.

17. Secured 2 desalination plants one each for St Kitts and Nevis from the UAE.

18. Secured free vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic first from India and later from the USA.

Additionally, he thanked PS Kay Bass for her exceptional leadership of the Ministry during his tenure and all of the Ambassadors, High Commissioners and a small but brilliant cohort of Councillors and Foreign Service Officers. Due to their indefatigable efforts, the smallest Nation in the region punches well above its weight.