President Goodluck Jonathan
Nigeria and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago would both forge renewed ties in the areas of energy, technical, cultural, educational and scientific cooperation.
Though, the two countries have existing collaboration in these areas, the ante was upped on Wednesday night, when President Goodluck Jonathan and Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, held bilateral discussions at Port au Prince.
Speaking at the occasion, Persad-Bissessar, who outlined other areas of cooperation between the countries, said the current ones, which are under revision, were reinvigorated in 2008, when Trinidad and Tobago embarked on the Africa Energy Initiative, offering technical consultation and assistance in the energy sector to several African states.
She added that her country would provide technical experts to Nigeria in the energy sector, stressing that she was awaiting: “The report from the Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs on the proposed Izombe Gas Processing Project between the National Gas Company, the National Energy Corporation and Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited of Trinidad and Tobago and the National Petroleum Corporation of Nigeria.”
Speaking further, she said: “The formation of the Africa-Trinidad and Tobago Steel Pan Development Company comes at an opportune time, as the Government of Trinidad and Tobago makes consistent efforts to export our cultural diversity worldwide.
“I understand that the vision of the company is to promote and develop the steel pan in Nigeria and throughout the African Continent. The explosive growth of youth steel bands and orchestras in Trinidad and Tobago are indicative of the steel pan’s appeal to the youth and its role as a motivating influence in their lives.”
While urging President Jonathan “to fully explore the potential of steel pan music education programmes for youth,” Persad-Bissessar said: “I assure you that the results will be exceedingly positive. Your Excellency, in February 2012, Trinidad and Tobago was pleased to share its Carnival experience with a delegation from the Ministry of Tourism, Cultural and National Orientation of Nigeria.”
“The visit strengthened the cooperation between Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria in the area of culture and the development of Carnival activities in various Nigerian states. The Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism and the National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago are readily available to offer technical assistance to Nigeria for the development of Abuja Carnival, as we have done in the past with Calabar and Lagos Carnivals,” the Prime Minister said.
Responding, President Jonathan restated Nigeria’s commitment to promoting economic ties beneficial to both countries and enhance South-south cooperation.
He emphasised that: “We believe that providing infrastructures alone will not stop militancy in the Niger Delta, human beings must be developed and trained so that they will play positive role in the society in the oil industry.
And the first line was to get these young men and women to have technical competence in the areas we lack in the industry and I want to thank you for helping us realise that.
The world is global village and countries are specialising in their areas of competence, your success in the oil and gas technology and in shipping.”
President Jonathan, whose visit to the Island ended on Wednesday, attended this year’s Kambule Street Procession marking the 174 years of the Emancipation of Trinidad and Tobago as the special guest of honour.
Earlier, President Jonathan had visited the National Energy Skills Centre (NESC) at Point Lisas, Couva in Trinidad and Tobago, before departing for Jamaica, which currently was training about 57 Nigerian youths in shield maintenance power welding, automotive service and industrial mechanical maintenance as well as other related courses at the Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation.
At the centre, President Jonathan said: “It is a great moment; a moment of joy when I came in and saw young Nigerians, men and women here, greeting me in my local language, the language we speak in the Niger Delta.”