Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says T&T and Nigeria will collaborate in energy and energy related projects. She said so during bilateral talks with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan at the Diplomatic Centre yesterday. Persad-Bissessar said T&T and Nigeria continue to share "an excellent bilateral relationship" since 1962.
Persad-Bissessar said in 2008 Trinidad and Tobago embarked on the Africa Energy Initiative, offering technical consultation and assistance in the energy sector to several African states. She noted that the initiative was "under revision in order to improve efficiency for all stakeholders and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs will launch a new Africa Initiative policy in due course."
She said in the interim, Trinidad and Tobago will continue to collaborate with Nigeria in energy and energy related projects and looks forward to welcoming delegations from Nigeria to visit Trinidad and Tobago for exchanges in this area. Persad-Bissessar said Trinidad and Tobago also remained committed to making available to Nigeria its technical experts in the energy sector.
She said she was awaiting a 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.
Persad-Bissessar said T&T?was also pleased to be a part of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, which was initiated and implemented by the Nigerian President. That initiative was intended to engage young persons from the energy-rich Niger Delta in training and rehabilitation programmes, thereby contributing to the positive development of that region.
She said the vision was also 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. I would encourage Your Excellency to fully explore the potential of steel pan music education programmes for youth. I assure you that the results will be exceedingly positive,"?she insisted.
Persad-Bissessar said the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism and the National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago were readily available to offer technical assistance to Nigeria for the development of Abuja Carnival, as has been done in the past with Calabar and Lagos carnivals. At the start of her address Persad-Bissessar also expressed her "deep regret and sorrow" on the demise of the President of Ghana His Excellency John Atta Mills.
President Atta Mills, who was revered as one of Africa's great leaders, died last week. A moment's silence was observed in respect of his passing.