CARICOM welcomes new US-Caribbean legislation, wants good working relationship with Trump administration

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jan 10, CMC – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council of Ministers has ended a two-day meeting here Tuesday saying it was appreciative of the Caribbean’s good working relationship with past US administrations and was looking forward to working with the Donald Trump administration.

The Council, the second highest organ of the 15-member CARICOM grouping, said it welcomed the recent passage of the US-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act of 2016, which calls for a new long-term strategy to strengthen ties between the United States government and the Caribbean region.

The legislation was signed by President Barack Obama on December 16, last year.

“We note with satisfaction the overwhelming bipartisan support received in both Houses of Congress for the Act and thank its sponsors, Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former Chair of the Committee, for their tireless efforts.

“We recognize that this Act is both timely and significant, and commend both Houses of Congress and the US Administration for this proactive and collaborative approach to engagement with the Caribbean region.”

The CARICOM Council said it believes that the multi-year strategy mandated by this Act “will engender increased interaction between the Caribbean and the United States, especially in the areas of security, trade, economic development, energy, education and diaspora engagement.

“We are keen to urgently advance dialogue on the specific interests of the Caribbean region,” the Council said, adding it was looking forward to working the Trump administration on further strengthening US-Caribbean relations.

Engel said last year that that passage of the bill came  “at a time when our friends in the Caribbean need us more than ever, this bill will prioritize our partnership with the sub-region for many years to come.

“It is long past time to have a multi-year strategy that will allow us to increase engagement with the Caribbean, especially when it comes to energy and security.
“The countries of the Caribbean are profoundly important to the United States, and particularly to the many Caribbean-American citizens in our country.”

“I look forward to working with the Caribbean-American diaspora to ensure that they can provide input to the State Department and USAID on U.S. relations with the Caribbean in the years ahead. With constant crises around the globe that demand U.S. attention, we must not lose sight of our long-term interests close to home,” said Engel.

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