07 February 2011

Autonomous Sint Maarten Discusses Cooperation with Dominican Republic

Prime Minister Wescot to develop cooperation protocol with Dominican Republic

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (GIS) – Honorable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, will be working on a cooperation protocol with the Dominican Republic in the coming months in the areas of education, health and micro business trade development.

The first official visit of the Head of State President of the Dominican Republic Lionel Fernandez to the country of Sint Maarten could also materialize in the coming months with the official signing of the protocol between both countries.

The aforementioned is a result of an official working visit by a delegation from the Dominican Republic comprising of Vice President of Foreign Affairs, Economics and Trade Honorable Juan Guiliani and Hon. Minister of State Miguel Mejia who visited the Prime Minister on Wednesday.

Parties discussed several issues of mutual interest between both countries. Among them are educational opportunities such as a scholarship exchange program for students in the hospitality field. The Dominican Republic has several international hospitality training schools and with the future SBO School on Sint Maarten, this exchange could be a viable option in the region.

Another important area discussed was public health. According to the Prime Minister, an inventory will need to be done with respect to what medical services and specializations the Dominican Republic could offer and at what cost.

“We must look at how medical opportunities in the Dominican Republic could complement what we have on the island and involve relevant stakeholders in this process.

“When it comes to medical referrals, as a country we are now able to decide where persons should be referred to for further medical care. Several Sint Maarteners have made us of the medical care in the aforementioned country. The Dominican Republic is close by and offers excellent specialized medical care at a lower cost when compared to the United States as an example,” Hon. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot told the Government Information Service (GIS).

Where it concerns the development of trade involving micro, small, medium and large businesses, this is an area to be pursued to the benefit of the citizens of both countries where it concerns products and services.
Sint Maarten’s strategic position as a transshipment port and further growth of this business also formed part of the discussion.

The Prime Minister said that she is looking forward to a follow-up meeting that will lead to the signing of a protocol agreement between both countries.The initial steps will be taken by the respective departments of foreign affairs of both countries in developing the outlines for the protocol.

The Prime Minister envisages this step as one of many yet to come, carrying out the vision of the UP/DP Government for stronger regional ties and collaboration.

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