United States Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, on Wednesday met virtually with foreign ministers from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to working with all countries in the region to advance bilateral and regional interests.
Foreign ministers from Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Haiti, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago participated in the event, along with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
A brief statement issued by the U.S State Department noted that “Secretary Blinken emphasized the strong partnership between the United States and the Caribbean, plans to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and promote a regional economic recovery, cooperation on increasing climate resilience, and continued collaborations on strengthening security, democratic values, and human rights.”
Meanwhile, the News Room spoke with Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd, via telephone shortly after the meeting on Wednesday. He said the meeting served basically as an introduction between CARICOM foreign ministers and the Secretary of State of the United States of America.
“This is something that is not new. Given the fact that they have a new administration, the Secretary of State wanted the opportunity to meet with foreign ministers within CARICOM and we discussed several thematic areas which covered democracy, human rights, rule of law, security, disaster preparedness and climate adaptations… we also covered health,” Minister Todd told the News Room.
Offering further details on the discussions, which lasted for almost two hours, the Guyanese Foreign Minister said his presentation was on the topic of regional energy security.
“I delivered remarks… where I focused a lot on cooperation between the United States and Guyana at the policy level, which should be able to give way for not only investments in oil and gas and alternative energy, but also for financing…
“I also alluded to the fact that the southern corner of CARICOM is involved in oil and gas production and the three countries – Guyana, Trinidad and Suriname – can help to drive the region’s energy security agenda,” Minister Todd highlighted.
To this end, the Foreign Minister noted that there are several policy initiatives and established mechanisms already in place and it is through engagements like these with the United States that will help the causes.
“There will be other engagements between CARICOM and the United States as we move forward,” he added.
Todd said brief mention was made of Guyana’s border controversy with Venezuela and the ongoing volcano disruption in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Joining Todd in the virtual meeting was Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ambassador Elisabeth Harper.