Friday, January 19, 2018

PM to address culture on eve of China trip

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar will make an announcement of “national im­portance” today, according to a brief statement from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) yesterday. 

The Express has learned the announcement will be “culture-related”.

Persad-Bissessar is expec­ted to make the statement at the annual Siparia Women’s Association’s Kiddies Carnival competition at midday, Bhup­singh Park, Penal Junction, where children from both preschools and primary schools will compete for pri­zes.

This statement comes on the eve of the Prime Minister’s departure from Trinidad and Tobago tomorrow for the Republic of China where she is scheduled to pay a courtesy call to the President of China, Xi Jinping, and to officially open the Trinidad and Tobago Embassy in Beijing.

Persad-Bissessar is expec­ted to arrive in Beijing, China, on Monday, February 24, and return to Trinidad on March 3.

According to her itinerary, upon her arrival, Persad-Bissessar and her Trinidad delegation will be hosted to a reception at the new VIP Terminal Beijing Capital Airport and will hold official talks in the East Hall of the People, following which, there will be a signing ceremony and a welcome banquet at the West Hall, Great Hall of the People.

The official ceremony to open the T&T Embassy will take place on February 25, to be followed by a number of official engagements, including business meetings on February 27-28 in Shanghai.

Persad-Bissessar’s visit to China is a reciprocal one, following President Xi Jinping’s visit to this country in June 2013, at which time, the prime minister promised to visit China by November of last year. This visit was interrup­ted because Persad-Bissessar was involved in the St Joseph by-election at the time. 

At a news conference, Xi announced China was awarding Trinidad a US$250 million loan to build a children’s hospital. 

China and Trinidad have had diplomatic ties for almost 40 years, and Trinidad and Tobago is a major trading partner in the Caribbean for China.