Good evening and thank you for permitting me the opportunity to join you in paying tribute to Ambassador Acosta as he concludes his tour of duty in Port of Spain. I also bring greetings from Senator the Honourable Dennis Moses, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, who, regrettably, is unable to be present this evening. I will read the following on his behalf:
Your Excellency, allow me to extend, on behalf of the Government and People of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, sincere appreciation for your contribution as Ambassador of Colombia to Trinidad and Tobago. Despite your relatively short time with us, I would like to recognize your dedication and commitment to strengthening the diplomatic relations between our two countries.
Your Excellency, during your tenure in Port of Spain, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago felt the friendship extended by you personally and by the Government of Colombia. Your support has contributed to advancing collaboration beyond
political dialogue and cooperation, and I am convinced that the legacy of your achievements will serve as a conduit to further enhance our bilateral relations. I am therefore pleased to acknowledge your efforts in ensuring that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago was able to benefit this year from the Spanish foreign language course for public servants offered by the Government of Colombia. I am confident that this will not only enhance Spanish language capacity but also promote cultural exchanges between our people and deepen hemispheric integration.
I would also like to place on record that since the reopening of the Embassy of Colombia in Port of Spain in 2012, there has been increased collaboration between the two countries, particularly in the areas of technical cooperation training, education, national security and energy security which you have also assisted in advancing.
Your Excellency, I look forward to working with your successor to continue discussions on matters of mutual benefit to both countries.
Before I bid farewell to Ambassador Acosta, I must highlight the interest of Government of Trinidad and Tobago in the Peace Process which was led by His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia. Your President’s leadership, dedication and resolute efforts to bring about an end to a fifty (50) year long internal conflict has been an inspiration and an example to the world; and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate President Santos on receiving the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016.
Your Excellency, I wish to state that it has been a pleasure working with you. You have been an excellent representative of your country and I am sure that you will excel at whatever duty follows your assignment in Trinidad and Tobago. Please accept my best wishes for the future.
I take this opportunity to offer a personal toast to the health and wellbeing of Ambassador Acosta and Ms. Rojas and to the continued friendship and cooperation between Trinidad and Tobago and Colombia. SALUD!