The official Opening of the Cumberland Bridge Reconstruction and River Embankment Protection Project was held today, March 20th, in a ceremony attended by the Prime Minister, H.E. Ralph Gonsalves; the Minister of Transport, Works, Urban Development and Local Government and Postal Services, Hon. Julian Francis; the General Director of Cooperation in the Caribbean and Central America of Mexico, Min. Julian Juarez, and the Ambassador of Mexico to the East Caribbean States, H.E. Oscar Esparza Vargas, as well as members of the Diplomatic Corps, other Government officials and local residents.
The project in question was financed by Mexico through the Infrastructure Fund for Mesoamerican and Caribbean Countries, with a grant of 13.5 million EC dollars (5 million USD). The project encompassed various components related to the Cumberland River and the communities surrounding it, including protection of the embankment, three small bridges, road repair and the main bridge that crosses the Cumberland River. In that regard, Ambassador Esparza Vargas thanked Prime Minister Gonzalvez for renaming the said main component of the project “Saint Vincent and the Grenadines-Mexico Friendship Bridge”, noting that the gesture will serve as a testimony of the good relations and close ties between the two countries.
In his speech, Min. Julian Juarez reiterated that “Mexico is part of the Greater Caribbean and, as such, is committed to contribution in the development of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as of its other Caribbean neighbours”. He also emphasized that, the Caribbean region should take advantages of the synergies between countries and “face common challenges together, as allies”.
In the morning of the ceremony, Min. Julián Juarez and H.E. Oscar Esparza held a meeting with Prime Minister Gonsalves to discuss, amongst other things, the regional and bilateral cooperation projects currently offered by Mexico, aimed at strengthening the integration, resilience and sustainability of the Caribbean. Some of these include technical and scientific cooperation regarding disaster risk management, agriculture, the financial sector, and education, amongst other areas.