St. Vincent & Grenadines sister Island delegation will visit

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Former State Department official Anita Botti of West Tisbury, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador La Celia Prince, and Dukes County Manager Martina Thornton posed together following a sister-island signing ceremony at the West Tisbury library Sept. 27. — File photo by Lynn Christoffers

Dukes County officials will host a visit Saturday from representatives of the Caribbean nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, furthering a Sister Islands relationship that was initialized in a ceremony and celebration at the West Tisbury library last September.

Consul-General Selmon Walters of New York City will head the delegation, which will meet with Dukes County officials from 3 pm to 5 pm at the West Tisbury library on Saturday, July 11. County officials plan to present the delegation with fire-fighting equipment and books. The agenda includes a discussion of how the Vineyard and St. Vincent and the Grenadines can work together in the fields of fisheries and agriculture; education; arts, crafts, and culture; health care; and public safety.

One outstanding question is how to streamline shipping between the two islands. The public is invited to meet delegation members and participate in the discussion.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a group of islands in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea, with a combined area of about 150 square miles, and a population of about 103,000.

The Islands have some similarities, and the agreement is intended to allow each Island to draw on the experiences of the other, in areas of fire prevention, education, library management, economic development and tourism, agriculture and fisheries, arts, crafts, and culture.

The two islands have already shared equipment and knowledge about the unique aspects of firefighting and fire prevention on an island. Tim Carroll, Chilmark executive secretary and assistant fire chief, and Glenn DeBlase, a captain in the West Tisbury Fire Department and electrician’s assistant, traveled to St. Vincent in 2013 on a trip funded by the U.S. Department of State.

The Sister Islands initiative is the idea of West Tisbury resident Anita Botti, veteran at the State Department and a former executive in the Peace Corps. Ms. Botti served as a Peace Corps volunteer in St. Vincent more than 40 years ago.