According to a release from the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Embassy in Washington, the Sister-Islands relationship was formalized after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador to the USA, La Celia A. Prince, and the Manager of Dukes County, Martina Thorton, whose role is similar to that of a mayor.
The MOU covers a range of areas for collaboration, including fire prevention, management and training; education and library exchanges; fisheries; agriculture and tourism development.
The Partnership was born out of a briefing session which Ambassador Prince held with then incoming US Ambassador to Barbados and the OECS, Larry Palmer, who was about to take up his assignment at the time.
Ambassador Prince identified a number of areas in which St. Vincent and the Grenadines was seeking assistance from the United States and these included capacity building, training and equipment for the SVG Fire Department.
Since the start of talks to establish the Partnership, St. Vincent and the Grenadines welcomed a visiting delegation from Martha’s Vineyard in 2013 to examine and assess the capabilities and needs of the SVG Fire Department. As a direct result of that visit, the team from Martha’s Vineyard has since collected over 35 oxygen tanks from the Martha’s Vineyard West Tisbury Fire Department, to be donated to the Fire Department in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The equipment was officially handed over to Ambassador Prince at the MOU signing ceremony. The items are expected to be transported from the Vineyard and shipped to St. Vincent and the Grenadines free of cost, with the generous assistance of Standard Shippers, Inc.
Also, following immediately upon the signing of the MOU the Director of Libraries in West Tisbury Martha’s Vineyard has started discussions with SVG Director of Libraries Michelle King-Campbell regarding a donation of books which will soon be shipped to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Both libraries are currently reviewing their respective inventories to match the needs in SVG with the availability of books that can be donated by the Vineyard.
The Sister-Islands programme is an offshoot of the Sister Cities programme which the United States created 50 years ago, to promote a broad-based people-to-people network that fosters strategic links between the US and international communities.