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U.S second Caribbean American vice president, Kamala Harris, met face-to-face with five CARICOM leaders Thursday at the White House and announced a series of steps that the administration will take to help the region.
The meeting was in response to the needs Caribbean leaders identified to accelerate implementation of the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis, also known as PACC 2030, which Harris launched at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles in June.
The United States, Harris said, is committed to the following areas, in particular.
1: To identify new clean energy projects
2: To provide technical assistance;
3: To bring investors to the Caribbean;
4: To improve access to development financing.
5: Food security
VP Harris said the United States has committed US$28 million to provide food security assistance to the Caribbean and the US will promote good agricultural practices and do what “we can to enhance those practices in the Caribbean.”
She also said the administration will contribute to addressing the logistical barriers to transportation and remove non-tariff barriers to facilitate movement of the food in the region while incorporating climate-smart technology into the food protection system and food production system.
And the US will also provide training on areas such as pest management.
“In conclusion, I will say, as I have said before, the relationship between the United States and the Caribbean is based on common bonds and interests,” Harris said. “As neighbours in the Western Hemisphere, we believe it is critical that we have a relationship that is based on close cooperation, knowing that the result of that will be our shared prosperity and security, which is why we, the United States, have pledged to increase our commitment and engagement with our Caribbean partners.”
Caribbean leaders in attendance were: Chan Santokhi of Suriname; Irfaan Ali of Guyana; Luis Abinader of the Dominican Republic; Mia Mottley of Barbados and Dr. Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago.
Santokhi is currently chair of CARICOM, the Caribbean Community. He also met prior to the meeting with US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. Blinken in remarks, lauded Santokhi’s “leadership on combatting corruption, on building transparency, on the very good security cooperation that our two countries have.”
And he added: “The relationship that we have with our Caribbean partners is absolutely vital to us. It’s valuable. It’s critical, and I think that was underscored at the Summit of the Americas with the I think historic meeting that we had with CARICOM, with President Biden and Vice President Harris. But not just the meeting, the work that is flowing out of that meeting to address the shared concerns of so many of our people.” (News America