France keen in supporting C’bean fight against organised crime, drug trafficking

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The Government of France has expressed an interest in supporting the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) fight against organised crime and drug trafficking as well as strengthening the capacity of local authorities.

According to a statement from CARICOM, France committed to participating in the development of the Caribbean Community with the accreditation of a new envoy, Antoine Joly.

At the accreditation ceremony held at the Georgetown, Guyana Headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat last week, Joly told the Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque that France wanted to encourage economic exchanges, contribute to security and to strengthen cultural ties within the Region.
He said his Government was interested in supporting the Region’s fight against organized crime and drug trafficking, as well as strengthening the capacity of local authorities, the CARICOM release said.

Describing France as a partner in the protection of the environment that it shares with the Region, he said since its Chairmanship of COP21, France has maintained “close dialogue” with the Caribbean in the fight against climate change.

“With the risk of natural disasters facing the Caribbean, France favors a logic of prevention, leading the Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative. It implements cooperation actions in the most vulnerable countries and seeks to leverage other funding and projects,” he is quoted as saying.

Against that backdrop, he said the purpose of the ‘One Planet Summit’ was to fulfill the financial commitments of the International Community for climate change adaption in vulnerable countries.

Noting that he was aware of the “extremely important” contribution framework presented by the Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition to address obstacles to climate smart investments, he said French solidarity was expressed not only with emergency aid when natural disasters occurs, but also by participating in the establishment of networks to understand natural phenomena, to prevent risks, to organize aid and relief systems for the affected population, and to mitigate the consequences of disasters.

“And we are ready to sign the agreement on civil protection between France and the Caribbean Community on Technical Co-operation and mutual assistance in civil security,” the new French envoy is quoted as saying.

CARICOM said France has been an important partner with the Community in areas, including Security, Agriculture, Health and Disaster Management. Meanwhile, the release further noted that the Ambassador noted that economic exchanges and commercial trade was also a priority of France within the Economic Partnership Agreement between CARIFORUM and European Union.

“The Caribbean is also the first tourist destination in the tropical world, with about 30 million tourists a year and French companies are very involved in this sector. Intra-regional trade also offers interesting development opportunities for small and medium-sized companies. But we want and we can do more by bringing to the Caribbean Community, in particular to the numerous specialized agencies that you have been able to create, the willingness to cooperate with the men and women of our collectivities in the Caribbean, their elected representatives, their universities, their research centers, their hospitals, their businesses,” he is quoted as saying.

In this context, he said his government supported Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana’s applications for associate members’ status in CARICOM. This, he said will allow new initiatives to flourish in respect of their relationship with the European Union as French Overseas Departments.

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