JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders remain committed to strengthening relations with the United States (US).
  • The Prime Minister said the CARICOM leaders welcomed the engagement with President Obama on regional and international issues of interest. These include the security and well-being of citizens; trade and economic relations; and joined action on the environment, including climate change.
  • President Obama said it is also important to ensure that the Governments of the region and the US are open and transparent and uphold human rights for all citizens.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders remain committed to strengthening relations with the United States (US).

The Prime Minister was speaking at the CARICOM-US Summit today (April 9), at the University of the West Indies’ Regional Headquarters in St. Andrew.

“Our dialogue today reaffirms our strong partnership and also signals our desire to take CARICOM-US relations to a higher level, capitalising of the gains of the past and exploring new opportunities for the future,” she said.

The Prime Minister said the CARICOM leaders welcomed the engagement with President Obama on regional and international issues of interest. These include the security and well-being of citizens; trade and economic relations; and joined action on the environment, including climate change.

The Prime Minister said the Caribbean also fully embraces the recent positive development in US-Cuba relations.

“We commend you, Mr. President and (Cuba’s) President Raul Castro for this bold and courageous move to renew USA-Cuba bilateral relations for the common good of all our peoples,” she said.

In his remarks, President Obama said the bonds between the US and the Caribbean are “extraordinarily strong”.

“We are bound by friendship and shared values and by family and we have a great stake in each other’s success,” he said.

The President noted that through the CARICOM-US Summit, leaders could focus on some of the unique opportunities and challenges that the region faces and “make sure that we deepen or co-operation in economic growth and how we can further integrate the region”.

President Obama said it is also important to ensure that the Governments of the region and the US are open and transparent and uphold human rights for all citizens.

He said the US Government is also committed to combating transnational crime through its Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.

The President further thanked the Prime Minister and the people of Jamaica for “their wonderful hospitality”.

CARICOM Chairman, Hon. Perry Christie, said the meeting is important because it reinforces the symbiotic relationship between the US and the region. “We are joined by history, by migration, by commerce and geography,” he said.

Mr. Christie, who is also Prime Minister of The Bahamas, said the people of the Caribbean look to the US to reinforce the message of social mobility, the promise of societal growth, economic development, equity and fairness.

“At the core of the mission is that of the development of our people, to make their lives better, free from crime and violence, with incomes that support a good living for themselves and their families, and to ensure a bright future for our young people,” he said.

The summit was one of the scheduled activities of the President’s visit to Jamaica. He arrived in the island last evening (April 8).

Earlier this morning, President Obama held bilateral talks with the Jamaican Government. He also hosted a youth forum at the UWI Mona campus, and participated in a wreath laying ceremony at National Heroes Park.

The President left Jamaica today for Panama to attend the Seventh Summit of the Americas.

 

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