September 26th, 2019

Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, Lead Spokesman for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Human Resources, Health and HIV/AIDS, made a compelling case yesterday, Wednesday, September 25th, 2019, at the historic CARICOM-India Summit-Level Meeting in New York for why small island states in the Caribbean should strengthen cooperation with India in the health sector and other areas that are critical to their development.

“Having the support of India will become critical for some of our small island states,” the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis said as he noted that any deepening of ties between the Caribbean Community and India must focus on “improving the quality of life for our people.”

India’s pharmaceutical industry generates $38 billion in revenues annually. It is the world’s largest exporter of low-cost generic drugs.

Prime Minister Harris mentioned a scope for partnership not just in traditional curative medicines and treatments, but also in complementary alternative medicines, which make up a booming sector of India’s economy. The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis also said CARICOM could learn from India’s venture into wellness and medical tourism.

In 2014, India formed the Ministry of AYUSH “to ensure the optimal development and propagation of AYUSH systems of health care.” AYUSH entails Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy.

CARICOM’s Lead Spokesman on Human Resources also said it would be important to develop in partnership with India capacity-building interventions that plan, implement and execute high-quality training and education programs in the Caribbean Community. Prime Minister Harris said such programs would need to encompass a broad array of areas such as a full range of technical and vocational disciplines.

At yesterday’s meeting, India’s Prime Minister, the Honourable Narendra Modi, announced the establishment of the Regional Centre for Excellence in Information Technology in Guyana and the Regional Vocational Training Centre in Belize, which are upgrades to the existing India-funded centres in those two countries.

The CARICOM-India Summit-Level Meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, was co-chaired by CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister the Honourable Allen Chastanet of Saint Lucia and Prime Minister Modi.