ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The Government of Antigua & Barbuda will be offering a number of scholarships to Haitian students in areas of hospitality.
Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer made the announcement Wednesday, during bilateral discussions with Haiti’s President, Michel Martelly, on the margins of the the 33rd Regular Meeting of the Caricom Heads of Government Conference, a government release said.
“We are offering a number of scholarships to Haitian students pursuing courses in hospitality education commencing September 2012-2014,” a government release quoted the PM as having said.
“The ABHTI and the Ministry of Tourism in Haiti will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to give effect to the scholarships programme, which is similar to that offered to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, since the passage of Hurricane Ivan.”
The move is part of Antigua & Barbuda’s effort to support Haiti in its reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in 2010.
The PM also expressed interest in exploring trade and development initiatives which could lead to the sharing of expertise on matters such as the Economic Partnership Agreement, the participation of Antigua & Barbuda carpenters, masons, electricians, plumbers and contractors in large infrastructural development projects in Port-au-Prince and the training of Haitian workers.
“To that end, a small delegation from Antigua & Barbuda will visit Haiti shortly for further discussions,” the PM said.
In his reply, President Martelly acknowledged the continuing challenges in his country and welcomes the unwavering support of Antigua & Barbuda to Haiti’s reconstruction.
He considered the dialogue as a positive example of Caricom partnership and regional integration and expressed a desire to further engage Antigua & Barbuda in several other areas including, but not limited to, tourism, a priority sector for Haiti, and culture.
“These should form the basis of an overarching MOU between the two countries. This would show to the rest of Caricom what is possible, particularly at this time,” President Martelly said.
The meeting, being held at Sandals Grande St Lucian Spa and Beach Resort, concludes today.