Saint Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister calls for greater commitment to global climate agreements

DUBAI, 16 November 2021 – Speaking at the Saint Kitts and Nevis Pavilion in the Sustainability District this evening (16 November), the Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dr The Honourable Timothy Harris, said he remained cautiously optimistic on climate progress, while urging the world’s bigger players to follow through on their sustainability commitments. He also welcomed ‘citizens of the world’ to join Saint Kitts and Nevis’ long-standing Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme, which has already attracted thousands of participants from the UAE and wider Middle East.

رئيس وزراء “سانت كيتس ونيفس” يدعو من إكسبو 2020 إلى التزام أكبر باتفاقيات المناخ العالمية
DUBAI. November 16, 2021. His Excellency Dr. The Hon Timothy Sylvester Harris, Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis with Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, Executive Director, Expo 2020 during a bilateral meeting in Leadership Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Leoneil Roxas, Expo 2020 Dubai)

Welcome to Expo 2020. Can you tell us your first impressions?

“My first impressions are one of excellence in terms of what is being displayed here. I think we have seen the UAE’s dream being played out on the global stage and I offer my heartfelt congratulations to the government and its people for what is turning out to be a very memorable exhibition.”

What is the most important message you and the Saint Kitts and Nevis Pavilion is trying to convey?

“The message really is that dreams can be realised. If people exhibit certain values of industry, pride, patriotism – all those values that keep us functioning – a country can be elevated. When there is a clear vision which people buy into, you can achieve unthinkable heights of glory and acclaim.”

The Saint Kitts and Nevis Pavilion is in the Sustainability District and sustainability is clearly an issue close to your heart. As a Small Island Developing State are you disappointed with the outcome of COP26?

“In the end, COP26, as with many other summits, must deliver. Usually the true test is whether the new ambitions – the expectations that have been set – can be achieved. We have seen throughout the history of the United Nations, and its efforts to mobilise global action, that there has been a deficit in delivery. If we look at, for example, at the global effort to mobilise to ensure that we have vaccine equity, we see still the disparity in the distribution with those who have more than they need. Yet we are all in this together. I think, ultimately, with respect to COP26, that we are far from realising the original dream, and the extension of the period for realisation must now be bolstered by strong action from those who are the biggest emitters of fossil fuels and all the other contaminants that have created distress not only within their own societies, but significant challenges for the progress of developing states such as those in the Caribbean.”

“The bottom line is whether we can realistically expect – given a history of underperformance – the commitment. Countries such as the USA come on board as significant partners and make commitments to assist others to slow the rate of global warming, but the question is, will this be realised? That is still a big question mark. So, we remain cautiously optimistic, but we need to see short-term goals as part of the broader fulfilment of the long term vision. If one country is able to reach its deliverables and to consider their own accountability, hopefully that will lead to more countries doing better.”

DUBAI, 16 November 2021. H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan (C), UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai and Timothy Sylvester Harris (L), Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis visit the Saint Kitts and Nevis Pavilion , Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Suneesh Sudhakaran/Expo 2020 Dubai)

The Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment programme has become one of the most successful worldwide. Are you actively targeting the UAE?

“We are looking to target citizens of the world. The truth is, our citizenship by investment programme is the oldest and the best. We legislated for this way back in 1984, and it has withstood the time. We believed it to be a necessary programme for a small island state with all of the constraints of size.

“We are meandering a path to continued growth and development by allowing more people to come to the country, to contribute to its advancement and to then have the privilege of holding our citizenship. So yes, we are promoting the programme here. In fact, a large number of Saint Kitts and Nevis citizens are residents in the UAE and the Middle East. The number is in the thousands and it keeps rising every day. We were able to meet some of them, to see the talent pool that is available, and to ask them to consider coming to their now adopted country to contribute to help us advance as a developing state. There are limits to human resources in our small twin-island state. With more talented people coming into our country as citizens – and even residents – we can make Saint Kitts and Nevis the best example of a small island state. So we are mobilising people everywhere for the development of our country which is very dear and sacred to us. You too are invited to become a citizen!”