Remarks delivered by Major General (Retired) the Honourable Edmund Dillon, Acting Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs on the occasion of the National Day of the Kingdom of Spain.

Your Excellency Javier María Carbajosa Sánchez, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain;

Mr. Justice Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, O.R.T.T., Former President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and Mrs. Reema Carmona;

Your Excellencies, Heads of Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations;

Your Worship Alderman Joel Martinez, Mayor of the City Port of Spain;

Chief of Defense Staff of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Rear Admiral Hayden Pritchard;

Honorary Consuls;

Staff members of the Spanish Embassy and Members of the Spanish community resident in Trinidad and Tobago;

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

Good evening everyone,

It is my great honour on the occasion of ‘La Fiesta Nacional de España’ to extend greetings on behalf of the Government and People of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the Government and People of the Kingdom of Spain.

Today, we commemorate the anniversary of Spain’s encounter with the New World in 1492 which laid the cornerstone for the relationship between the Old World and the New World, and brought with it Spain’s cuisine, culture, dance, language, and music, which are now part of the rich cultural heritage we enjoy in Trinidad and Tobago.

Ambassador, your efforts in strengthening these ties have been noted and appreciated, in particular your promotion of the Spanish Language and culture in Trinidad and Tobago. Your collaborations with the National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) to commemorate World Book and Copyright Day and the International Spanish Language Day, as well as the staging of Latin Nights II in cooperation with the Embassies of Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba and Peru, provided valuable support to NALIS’s ongoing efforts to promote the use of Spanish as a second language in Trinidad and Tobago. I am certain that this contributed to the success found by Spanish cinema at the European Film Festival in May of this year, having secured the largest viewing audience for its films in the Festival.

Your Excellency, Trinidad and Tobago and Spain have enjoyed fifty-one (51) years of diplomatic relations through which we have pursued shared interests in the areas of culture, education, energy, trade, and security. Spain has been a valued partner in the Region and in international fora and I take this opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the Government and People of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to working with the Kingdom of Spain, on the basis of shared principles, on areas of mutual interest at the various levels of our engagement.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in raising a toast to the Government and People of the Kingdom of Spain as we celebrate our enduring ties on this occasion of ‘La Fiesta Nacional de España’.

Muchas gracias.