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Posted November 18, 2004 by Dana Garrett in Castro's Cuba

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The Daily Herald

Govt to close offices in
Brussels, Cuba, Trinidad

PHILIPSBURG—The Central Government will be closing three diplomatic posts at the end of the year, starting with the one in Brussels, Prime Minister Etienne Ys announced Tuesday.

Also to be closed will be the offices in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago and Havana, Cuba.

The decision is aimed at saving the government some 1.2 million per annum as it seeks to slash cost and deal with its spiralling deficit.

The Prime Minister told a press conference at the Government Administration Building Tuesday that the three offices would be closed when the terms of the current officers ended. The one in Brussels is scheduled to end December 31 and no replacement will be sent to Brussels, which will thereafter be serviced through the country’s representative (Minister Plenipotentiary) in The Hague.

He said there would be no representative in Port-of-Spain after July next year, while in the case of Cuba, the officer’s term will not end until 2007.

The Prime Minister shared Tuesday’s press conference with Finance Minister Ersilia de Lannooy and Education and Culture Minister Maritza Silberie. They had all attended Statia Day celebrations in Statia earlier in the day after having attended a historic meeting of the Council of Ministers in Statia Monday.

In brief remarks about his visit to Statia, the Prime Minister said Statia Day this year had been an historic occasion because the people of Statia had presented their flag, their coat of arms and their National Anthem for the first time.

“That has given us a feeling of unity within the community of Statia and I think that all Statians should be proud of what they have achieved today,” he said.

He continued: “The activities were very well organised. The Statia people are very talented. They sang and danced very beautifully and I was very proud that such a small island as Statia belongs still to the Netherlands Antilles.”

He said the Council of Ministers meeting had been very fruitful and effective, and the Council of Ministers would also hold meetings on the other islands � Saba and St. Maarten included � from time to time.

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