By Makeida Antonio
Increased cooperation, Covid-19 challenges and economic recovery were some of the main features of Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s address at the Ninth Summit of the Americas.
Browne opened with his displeasure that certain countries were not invited to discuss critical issues demanding collective focus.
He called for an end to the trade embargo against Cuba which he believes harms the promotion of peace and prosperity.
Additionally, Browne urged fellow leaders to engage the Venezuelan government to allow for resources to meet the needs of its citizens.
“To achieve this, there is work to be done by all sides to narrow differences, and establish cooperation, in the interest of advancing the economic, social and political well-being of all the peoples of our hemisphere.”
The Prime Minister spoke of his wish that the body could conceptualise practical measures that can be implemented to address the fallout of Covid-19 and climate change – issues such as food insecurity and high oil prices.
“The inflationary pressures are driving tens of millions of people in our hemisphere into abject poverty, requiring greater hemispheric cooperation and solidarity. As leaders, we must act urgently to bring the rising cost of living under control.”
Speaking on the negative effects of climate change and economic instability due to Covid-19, Browne challenged against the creation of legislation to tackle global issues such as the return of migrants to Haiti from the Texas Border last September.
“The important truth, emanating from Covid-19, that no one is safe until all are safe, applies equally to the overarching threat of climate change; to the conditions of underdevelopment that lead to irregular migration and refugees; to inappropriate and inadequate criteria for access to concessionary financing; and to de-risking and financial exclusion of small economies from the international financial system.”
Lastly, the country’s leader encouraged US President Joe Biden to consider joining the Caribbean Development Bank which serves CARICOM to aid in the region’s recovery process, and he restated his call for further cooperation amongst the world’s major powers.
“My government applauds and celebrates renewed, revigorated and sustained US attention to the mutual economic prosperity of the US and the nations of our hemisphere. President Biden is providing much appreciated leadership in this regard. But we recognise that the United States alone cannot do everything. Hence, we urge cooperation between the US government and other governments, such as China, which is playing a constructive role throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.”