Santos seeks to promote new forms of development in San Andres

(Photo: Julian Castro)

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday signed a decree that seeks to promote new forms of development in the Caribbean archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina.

With this new decree, the government seeks to promote employability and entrepreneurship alternatives for the native islander population, encouraging the development of the BPO (Business, processing, outsourcing) industry and the implementation of actions aimed at increasing the capacity of the island’s population.

“With the implementation of this decree and the adoption of phase six of the ‘Programme San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina’ we are providing employment generation,” a government statement read.

“Another objective is the implementation of actions intended to increase the capabilities of the islanders, in social areas, productive, business and infrastructure, in particular those aimed at the creation of new formal jobs”, the government added.

Last year the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the archipelago belonged to Colombia, before expanding disputed maritime limits in favor of Nicaragua, seemingly ending a long standing legal dispute. But Santos has continually rejected the ruling.

Nicaragua on Monday filed a new lawsuit with the ICJ to define borders between the two countries in the Caribbean sea. Santos responded by labeling the action “unfounded, unfriendly and reckless.”

MORE: ‘Unfounded, unfriendly and reckless’: Colombia President on Nicaragua’s latest claim over disputed waters

“The [Continental] shelf is not negotiable, under any circumstance, and we will vehemently and forcefully defend it,” the President said from the deck of ARC Admiral Padilla, adding that Colombia “will defend [its] sovereignty over [its] territoy and [its] waters.”


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