Doha, 29 November 2016 – The Prime Minster, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, is undertaking a high level visit to the Arabian Gulf State of Qatar, during which he has met the Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, HRH Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and in separate meetings, the leading Qatari billionaire and international hotel property owner, Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani.
Sheikh Faisal, who’s company Al Faisal Holding owns more than 20 hotels worldwide including the iconic St Regis in Washington DC and Miami and the W Hotel in London, hosted the Honourable Prime Minister at his museum just outside the capital city of Doha. Both men discussed the welcoming investment climate in St Kitts and Nevis and agreed to further explore areas for potential investment in the hospitality and healthcare sectors.
The St. Kitts and Nevis delegation also seized the occasion to meet Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, a Qatari diplomat and statesman, who serves as an Adviser at the Emiri Diwan (Royal Palace of Qatar), and is the official Qatar candidate for the role of the Director General of UNESCO, the specialised UN agency in Paris.
At an official press conference organized by Dr. Al-Karawi on Monday in the Qatar capital city of Doha, Prime Minister Harris underlined his conviction that, as two small states, both countries had much in common, notably in prioritizing education and long-term tourism investment as a basis for future prosperity’s of its cherished citizens.
As a small island developing state, Dr. Harris welcomed the new friendships being fostered with Qatar as a small, but economically and politically influential country in the Middle East. He added that both countries share many commonalities on a policy development level in terms of education, tourism and hotel development and heritage.
In response Dr. Al Karawi concurred with Dr. Harris’ St. Kitts and Nevis’ development policy framework as a basis for sustainable economic and social wellbeing.
During his visit, Prime Minister Harris expressed his support for the Qatar official candidate for the upcoming role of Director-General to UNESCO, Dr. Al Karawi, a prominent, long-standing diplomat, and formerly the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage of Qatar.
“Dr. Al Karawi is a most capable and qualified candidate for this post at a time of great challenges facing UNESCO”, Dr. Harris stated. “We welcome his innovative approach to the reforms needed at UNESCO and the need, in particular, for work programmes at UNESCO to targeting the needs and the specificities of small island developing states. A focus on the elaboration and application of UNESCO core expertise, and its application, in fields of science, education and culture are critical for us”.
Dr. Harris concluded by saying “We express St. Kitts and Nevis’ strongest advocacy with respect to Dr. Al Karawi’s candidacy”
As the Chairman of the OECS Authority, Prime Minister Harris is keen, to facilitate introductions in the Caribbean to enable Qatar to open a bridge between both regions as an enabler for potential development of economic and cultural relations. The Honourable Prime Minister stated that Saint Kitts and Nevis would also play its role to run a campaign for Dr Al Kawari’s candidacy from the platforms of two organizations of Caribbean countries including The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and Caribbean Community (CARICOM). “All Caribbean countries work in close coordination and meet regularly on these organizations’ platforms. We are advocating Qatar’s candidacy for the slot among these countries,” he added.
Accompanied by H.E. Dr. David Doyle, the Federation’s Ambassador to UNESCO based in Paris, and Mr. Justin Kareem Hawley, the Federation’s Consul General in Dubai, the Prime Minister also paid a visit on the Prime Minister of Qatar, HRH. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, at which both men reinforced the desire to explore areas of collaboration in economic, health and education sectors.
“Our government is committed to building long-term relationships with like-minded states, such as Qatar, as part of our outreach strategy encompassing engagement at both bilateral and multilateral level in the framework of the South-South Dialogue”, said Dr. Harris.
Prime Minister Harris underlined the challenges facing small states, like St. Kitts and Nevis, in “diversifying economic activity towards sustainable tourism focused on the provision of high grade hotel and resort properties, attractive to the high net worth (HNW) clientele, as well as exploring areas such as leading-edge medical tourism in a more discrete setting”.
HRH Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani concurred and shared the vision of the Honorable Prime of St. Kitts and Nevis. Dr. Harris concluded that “As small nations we can together identify mutually-rewarding projects that add value for citizens”.