Prime Minister of SVG Ralph Gonsalves, right, and Major Manuel Querembas of the Ecuadorian Army applaud after unveiling a plaque at Hope Bridge. (Photo: Zavique Morris-Chance/IWN)

Ecuador has built four bridges in St. Vincent and the Grenadines notwithstanding its own need for bridges and other infrastructure, the South American nation’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Leonardo Arizaga said Monday.

The Vincentian government on Monday opened the Hope Bridge in Penniston, bringing to an end the eight-month mission of the Ecuadorian Army Corps of Engineers that also build three bridges in North Leeward, which were opened on Friday.

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The bridges, along with the relevant river defence works, cost US$3.8 million dollars, and saw up to 100 Vincentians being employed.

The bridges have replaced those that were destroyed by severe weather in December 2013.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves visited Ecuador last year and the South American nation decided to fund the construction of the bridges and to send its army engineers to do so.

Speaking at the opening ceremony on Monday, Arizaga said that when President of Ecuador Rafael Correa heard about the destruction of the bridges he made a commitment to Gonsalves to assist.

“President Correa said solidarity does not mean giving leftovers. It means giving what is missing. Admittedly, we lack resources in Ecuador. We lack schools, we lack hospitals, we lack roads, we lack bridges. But the Ecuadorian people will always have room for solidarity,” Arizaga said.

Leonardo Arizaga, Ecuador's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, and Integration. (Photo: Zavique Morris-Chance/IWN)
Leonardo Arizaga, Ecuador’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, and Integration. (Photo: Zavique Morris-Chance/IWN)

He noted that the team has also done humanitarian work in Haiti after the 2007 earthquake and in Cuba after a terrible storm.

“And we are sure they will go anywhere where they are needed,” said Arizaga, who thanked the soldier for their professional work.

“Along with the libertarian drive of our people, we share the awareness that only solidarity will allow us to overcome difficult times and promote the development of our nations. This conviction and this awareness are the foundation upon which we build bridges, like the Hope Bridge, the longest of this island, but also diplomatic, political and cultural bridges,” he said.

He told Gonsalves that both nations have to also build diplomatic bridges.

“In recent years, we held frequent meetings between our nations and in international fora. Moreover, we have accredited diplomatic representatives in both countries,” he said, adding that Quito is happy with the work that SVG Ambassador to Ecuador, Andreas Wickham, who is based in Venezuela, is doing.

“Nevertheless, it is likely that the most important bridge that we have created is the one that increasingly links the government and people of the south, because our place in the world and the challenges we face are similar. Because, in many ways, we share a utopian horizon that commits us to construct a better future for our people,” Arizaga said.

He said the southern hemisphere has opened new ways of interaction.

“South-south co-operation has appeared as an alternative partnership that respects the sovereignty and addresses the real needs of the recipients.

“Just like we deliver today this bridge along with two trucks used during the construction work, we also signed today a co-operation agreement that allow Ecuadorian teachers to learn English as a second language in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

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The Ecuadorian-built bridge at Hope, Penniston is the longest in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (IWN Photo)
The Ecuadorian-built bridge at Hope, Penniston is the longest in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (IWN Photo)

The agreement will see more than 40 Ecuadorian teachers coming to SVG to improve their English language skills and will also see five Ecuadorian diplomatic attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kingstown and at the same time improving their language skills.

“Our collaboration is only starting. Ecuador offers the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines our experience in production, in areas such as fishing, shrimp farming, banana exports and other products.

“On the other hand, Ecuador has a lot to learn from the great achievements of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in many sectors, among them tourism. These are just some of the areas where we could generate beneficial synergies for both countries,” Arizaga said.

“With concrete commitments from both parties, we can build and strengthen the relationship between our countries. Moreover, we can reassure the collective task of Latin American and Caribbean integration.”

Arizaga said he was aware that the countries of the Caribbean are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of climate change.

“We, as a brotherly nation, must show solidarity with our Caribbean brothers,” he said, adding that ultimately, the future of each country in Latin American and the Caribbean is the future of the entire region.

“Solidarity is not an option, it is a moral imperative and a strategic factor for the real integration of our nations in the global scenario,” he said as he welcomed the new stage in the Kingstown-Quito partnership and expressed hope that the relations between both government will grow in the future.

6 replies on “Ecuador gave bridges out of its need, not ‘leftovers’”

  1. We are commanded in the Bible to be thankful.
    At the same time the Bible tells us that in the last days one of the marks of unsaved people is that they are unthankful.
    The people of Equador did not owe us any bridges so we need to simply be thankful that God in His sovreignty have allowed them to help us as a nation and in particular those communities where those bridges are being utilised.

  2. Luther Bonadie says:

    C. ben,

    Come on man !! are you really serious, What kind of human being are you.
    Not even a dog thinks like you.
    Listen here when I was a kid there was a Circus visiting St. Vincent, and the Circus was destroyed by Vincentians.
    Some animals got away including a big monkeys, and a small Monkey, they could not find them back then; however, I found the big Monkey today, and it’s YOU C-BEN.

  3. Evidently C ben- David , has suddenly developed Writers Cramp , to the point where he can only write ” The Halt leading the Lame ” . Evidently he has never beard the expression :

    SILENCE IS GOLDEN ” .

    I am of the opinion that it would have been better if C ben- David , had said nothing , but that aint his style , He simply had to say something , and in essence he has said : NOTHING

    CONGRATULATIONS .

    VERIDICAL

  4. Perhaps , C ben David , can possibly explain why one of the Bridges was defaced with the letters NDP scrawled on it , when the Bridges were not constructed at the behest of the
    NDP . I sincerely hope , that when the Argyle International Airport Opens WE do not have
    the letters NDP scrawled over any part of it .

    Missing in action regarding the Bridges , is the Jester Peter Binose , no doubt he will soon be here . Lost on many People in SVG & the Region , is the fact that underdeveloped Countries are beginning to realize that UNITY IS STRENGTH ; and it is imperative that they
    help each other for the betterment of their Countries .

    This is precisely what the Foreign Minister was stating at the opening of the Bridge at Penniston . But apparently this went over C ben-David’s head , It is quite possible it may have gone over Peter Binose’s head also ,

    Let me remind ALL the adage : ” A CHAIN IS AS STRONG AS ITS WEAKEST LINK ” .

    Therefore having amicable relations with our Neighbours , is beneficial to them & St. Vincent & the Grenadines , because WE benefit & they benefit from friendly agreements & Cooperation . The building of these Bridges ; and the Teachers coming to SVG is concrete
    Proof of this fact .

    VERIDICAL

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