Chairman of CARICOM, the Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica, on Wednesday made remarks at the beginning of discussions between CARICOM Heads of Government and United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken and his delegation. The discussion was held during the Forty-Fifth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
Please read Prime Minister Skerrit’s remarks below:
Hon. Secretary of State, Anthony J. Blinken
Members of the United States Delegation
It is my pleasure on behalf of my fellow Heads of Government to welcome you. We are pleased that you have chosen this occasion of CARICOM’S celebration of our golden jubilee to meet with us.
Mr. Secretary, the United States is one of our longest and most enduring partners. And the Community attaches great value to the strong relationship, characterised by a spirit of cooperation, and underpinned by common democratic values, geographic proximity, people-to-people contact and collaboration on myriad issues of mutual importance.
When we met with Vice President Harris last month in Nassau, The Bahamas, we reiterated the importance of this relationship and the myriad opportunities to deepen and strengthen our engagement in such key areas of trade, and investment, security, health, energy, disaster management and climate change.
We are pleased with the resumption of high-level interaction with the United States since the Summit of Americas in Los Angeles last year and your presence is a strong signal that United States has kept its commitment to maintain this level of interaction.
CARICOM is intent on working jointly with our partners to address our priorities in the short, medium and long term as evidenced by our joint efforts to address some of the region’s most pressing challenges including energy security, food security and development financing.
We welcome the support received from United States for the Bridgetown Initiative, and we look forward to advancing the recent discussions at the Paris Summit and to working with you and developed and developing country partners alike to achieve the desired outcomes.
We live in the same neighbourhood, and if there is one lesson that we can learn from COVID-19, the invasion of Sargassum, and the gun crimes wreaking havoc on our societies is that we have shared problems.
However, while there have been discussions and we have seen and appreciate the increased advocacy on some of our most pressing concerns, we are still faced with numerous challenges which impedes regional development.
Blacklisting, correspondent banking and access to concessional financing based on vulnerability are still a long way from resolution. We need to see some movement in these areas if we are to realise the required results.
The Community is appreciative of the US-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis (PACC 2030), a framework aimed at stimulating fresh commitments to climate adaptation and resilience and clean energy programme across the Caribbean.
This is an excellent framework which can be beneficial to Caribbean countries in our efforts to further develop our renewable energies as we combat the existential threat of climate change. We look forward to the US’ continued advocacy and support of our positions at COP-28 later this year in the United Arab Emirates and its commitment to be a significant contributor to the Loss and Damage Fund and play its part in helping to achieve the US$100 billion per year agreed upon at Paris in 2015 to help our countries combat that threat.
Mr. Secretary, the Government and People of Haiti continue to face daunting circumstances as the crisis in our sister nation worsens. CARICOM remains steadfast in supporting Haitian-led solutions to the complex issues impeding the country’s development. Joint efforts with our international partners are essential to the achievement of this goal.
In this regard, I express on behalf of the Community appreciation to the Government of the United States for its efforts in the pursuit of a lasting solution to the situation in Haiti.
I am confident that our deliberations today will further enhance the very strong CARICOM-United States partnership and help to advance and enrich our long-standing relations.