See below full statement issued by the CARICOM Secretary-General:
Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque had fruitful discussions with United States Secretary of State Mr Michael Pompeo at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters, Turkeyen, Guyana on Friday 18 September.
The discussions included exchanges on the Covid-19 Pandemic and the severe economic fall-out being experienced by CARICOM Member States, the renewal of the Caribbean Basin Trade and Partnership Act (CBPTA), the de-risking of regional banks by US financial institutions and co-operation under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).
The Secretary-General took the opportunity to thank Mr Pompeo for the response by him and US Treasury Secretary Mr Steve Mnuchin to the issues raised in a letter to them by the then Chair of the Community, the Honourable Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados earlier this year. The Community sought US support for initiatives to assist in combatting among other things, the economic fall-out from the pandemic.
Ambassador LaRocque emphasised the need for CARICOM Member States to have access to concessional development financing which is denied to them due to the criteria applied of GDP per capita and the classification of Member States as middle income in that context. This access, he noted, was critical as the Region sought to emerge from the grave economic crisis brought on by Covid-19 as well as to build resilience to natural disasters.