HomeTrinidad and TobagoMessage delivered by Senator the Honourable Dennis Moses, Minister of Foreign and...

Message delivered by Senator the Honourable Dennis Moses, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs on the celebration of the National Day of the Republic of Panama

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Your Excellency Carmen Menéndez
González Ambassador of the
Republic of Panama and Mr. Pérez

Cabinet colleagues;

Members of Parliament; 

Your Excellencies, Heads of Missions, and other Members of the
Diplomatic Corps;

Staff Members of the Embassy of the Republic of Panama and members of
the Panamanian community resident in Trinidad and Tobago;

Other Distinguished Guests;

Members of the Media;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Good evening

Today, I am honoured, Your Excellency, to join with you in commemorating the
112th anniversary of self-determination of the people of Panama. It
gives me great pleasure to extend on behalf of the Prime
Minister Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley and the Government and people of the
Republic Trinidad and Tobago, congratulatory greetings to the Government and the people of the Republic of
Panama.   An
occasion such as this provides an opportunity to engage in retrospection and to
look forward with hope and expectation. 

Your Excellency, this year, 2015, commemorates 21 years of the
establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Trinidad and
Tobago and the Republic of Panama. We recognize that after this formality in 1994,
your country wasted no time in consolidating the relationship through the
establishment of an Embassy in Port of Spain the following year, making Panama
the first Central American country to maintain a physical presence in our
twin-island Republic.

This year, Trinidad and
Tobago followed suit in opening an Embassy in Panama City in keeping with our keen interest in enhancing diplomatic and
economic relations with Panama and the wider Latin America.  Your Excellency, Trinidad and
Tobago-Panama relations over these two (2) decades have been characterized by mutual respect, deepening
partnerships and increased co-operation.

 Our countries have a history of engagement in sectors such as energy,
economic cooperation and most recently, trade. Agreements such as the Partial Scope Trade Agreement, signed in 2013 will
increase commercial opportunities for the people of Trinidad and Tobago as well
as Panama and I am aware that our private sector is keenly interested in engaging
with their counterparts. In March of this year, a 28-member delegation from the
Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA) undertook a successful trade
mission to Panama City and participated in EXPOCOMER, one of the most important
trade fairs in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Last October, Sasha Cosmetics
Limited launched their brand in your country and was also able to secure the coveted
position of official cosmetic brand for the Ms Panama Pageant, 2014.  Given the level of private sector interest in
Panama, the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs is seeking the early entry
into force of the PSTA.  I cannot overemphasize
the benefits to be accrued by the private sector of both nations.

One cannot speak about bilateral
trade without acknowledging the significant role the Panama Canal has played in
facilitating this global activity. Interestingly, our country’s bilateral
relationship has its origins in the migration of Trinidad and Tobago nationals
to Panama during the first half of the twentieth century, in search of
employment in the construction of the Canal. 

At a mere 48 miles long, what began as a geo-political decision to
construct an artificial waterway linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the
Panama Canal became a true engineering marvel utilizing innovative technology
to reconcile the vastly differing sea levels on each side of Canal as well as
the difficulty in breaching the dense rainforest, necessary to build a water
route across the isthmus. The Canal remains as strategic today as it had been
in the twentieth century with some 230 million tons of shipping passing through
it annually.  It has contributed to
shaping your nation and therefore, it is very appropriate that we are gathered
to view this screening entitled “Historias del Canal”. We also eagerly
anticipate the formal opening of the expanded Panama Canal, which we understand
is scheduled to take place in April 2016.

              Excellency, as I conclude, I wish to assure
you that Trinidad and Tobago remains
committed to deepening and expanding our bilateral partnership. 

It is therefore an honour and a pleasure on behalf of the Government and
people of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and on my own behalf, to extend
best wishes once again to the Government and people of the Republic of Panama
on your National Day. 

Thank you very much.


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