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PM gets India help for Couva hospital

Friday, April 20, 2018
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley arrives at St James Palace in London for the welcome reception following yesterday’s formal opening of CHOGM. PICTURE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has invited India to participate in a new model for T&T healthcare training at the Couva Hospital, which could include the teaching of traditional Indian medicine.

This was among the latest initiatives taken during the Prime Minister's London trip.

A statement from the Prime Minister's Office (OPM) yesterday confirmed the plan, among meetings Rowley held with various Commonwealth leaders at yesterday's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) conference.

Earlier in the day, Rowley attended the formal CHOGM opening where he and other world leaders were addressed by Commonwealth head Queen Elizabeth II and UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

The OPM's statement confirmed Rowley and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi engaged in bilateral discussions during yesterday's first CHOGM meeting.

The healthcare training which India was invited to participate in - described by the OPM as "an exciting new model" will be done at the Couva Hospital, formerly known as the Couva Children's Hospital built under the last People's Partnership administration. It remains closed, but Government last year projected opening it this year. Officials said yesterday that's still the target.

Traditional Indian medicine which the OPM's statement referred to on the healthcare training aspect is known as Ayurvedic medicine. It originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and its concepts promote the use of herbal compounds, special diets and other unique health practices.

Modi indicated during the meeting that his government was interested in partnering with T&T in the areas of information communication technology (ICT), energy and pharmaceuticals. He said India would be happy to contribute to T&T's development in keeping with T&T's economic priorities.

The OPM said Rowley welcomed Modi's request for collaboration and identified additional areas where opportunities exist for both countries to work together. These areas include tourism, healthcare and agriculture. Rowley also requested aviation training for local helicopter pilots, to which Modi indicated India is able provide. Rowley also identified the need for direct air transport between the two nations to provide a mutually beneficial link and allow for the free flow of tourists.

Technical teams will be established to advance these initiatives. The leaders also invited each other to visit their respective countries.

Rowley and his delegation also met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, where matters of mutual interest were discussed.

PM missed Caricom for energy matters

At yesterday's post-Cabinet media briefing, acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert said Rowley didn't attend a meeting of Caricom leaders in London earlier in the week as he had engagements with Shell and BP energy companies and had to prepare for that.

"He had to make a choice and couldn't cancel the energy companies' meeting since it involved T&T's future," Imbert added.

Imbert said Rowley was trying to secure T&T's share in the energy sector. He noted recent revelations that leakage from the energy sector was in the billions.

"One of the purposes of the meetings with the companies was to discuss this," Imbert said, adding Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses "ably" represented T&T at the Caricom meeting.


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