Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph E. Gonsalves addressed the media on Friday October 25, 2019 at cabinet room at a symbolic handing over ceremony of a donation made by the Government of the Republic of Korea to the Zero Hunger Trust Fund (ZHTF). The short ceremony also heard remarks from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sandy Peters-Phillips and Ambassador His Excellency Sung Moonup of the Republic of Korea.
P.S Sandy in welcoming the Korean delegation to cabinet room, spoke positively of the diplomatic relations between both countries which dates back 40 years to October 28, 1979. She also noted that this long lasting relationship has seen Saint Vincent and the Grenadines receive developmental assistance of approximately US$2.5 Million between 1991 and 2019. In his remarks, Ambassador Sung Moonup described it as an honour to be able to contribute to the ZHTF and expressed his appreciation of the “adopt a classroom program” since it aims to build capacity of young people. He stated that since his assignment as the Korean Ambassador to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines last year (2018), he was struck by the insights and enthusiasm rendered by the leadership of this country towards its younger generation.
In thanking the Government of Korea, Prime Minister Gonsalves laid out an historical context behind the Zero Hunger Trust Fund, recounting that when the ULP administration took office in 2001, indigence was at 25.7% and undernourishment was at 22%. The ZHTF was introduced as a targeted intervention at the youth and elderly population based on the acknowledgement that neither the traditional instruments in social programs, nor the economic growth that theoretically creates wealth for all, adequately addressed the conditions of the most vulnerable. Dr Gonsalves lauded programs like the ZHTF and partners like the Republic of Korea for assisting this country with being able to reduce indigence to under 3% and undernourishment to under 5%, an achievement recognised by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).The ceremonial handing over of EC$322,500.00 was also attended by Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries of Education and National Mobilisation, other Senior Public Servants, members of the Board the ZHTF and representatives from the some of the 15 primary schools participating in the ‘Adopt a Classroom Program’