JIS News

Leaders and delegations from some 34 western hemispheric countries, including Jamaica, are converging on Trinidad and Tobago for the 5th Summit of the Americas, which gets underway Friday (April 17) at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port-of- Spain at 5:00 p.m.
The 3-day Summit, which runs through to Sunday, is being held under the theme: ‘Securing Our Citizens’ Future by Promoting Human Prosperity, Energy Security, and Environmental Sustainability’, with participants expected from North, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean, which comprise the nations of the Western Hemisphere.
The occasion marks the first time that Mr. Golding is attending the event in his capacity as Prime Minister. The last Summit was held in Argentina in 2005.
The Summit will be a monumental occasion, as it is being hosted in the Caribbean for the first time. It was initiated by former United States President, Bill Clinton, in 1994, in Miami, Florida. Subsequent summits were held in Chile in 1998; Canada in 2001; and Argentina in 2005.
It will also be the first time that current US President, Barack Obama, will be meeting western hemispheric Heads of Government in a forum of this magnitude since taking office in January.
Expectations of the Summit are high, against the background of the prevailing global economic downturn, and the recent US$1.1 trillion commitment from members of the G20 Group of Countries, to resuscitate the global economy. The commitment was made during the G20 Summit in London, England on April 2.
On Saturday (April 18), regional heads will engage in bilateral plenary sessions and discussions on matters pertaining to Human Prosperity, Environmental Sustainability, and Energy Security, agenda items on which decisions were taken during the 2005 Mar-del-Plata Summit in Argentina.
Prior to this, Canadian and CARICOM Heads will meet to discuss matters of mutual interest. On Sunday, the Heads of State/Government will be in retreat, after which it is expected that the Declaration of Commitment for Port of Spain will be signed.
The Summit will end on Sunday afternoon with a press conference at the Diplomatic Centre in Port-of-Spain.
The spouses of the Heads of Government will also be involved in a number of planned activities. These include dialogue on the topic: ‘Promoting Environmental Sustainability as a Catalyst for Poverty Reduction’; touring the Wild Fowl Trust; and participating in an entrepreneurship symposium on the topic: ‘Transforming Local Talent into Sustainable Industries as a Catalyst to Poverty Reduction.’
Several fora have also been scheduled for delegates from countries attending. These include: a Private Sector Forum; Civil Society Forum; Youth Forum of the Americas; and dialogue between Ministers of Foreign Affairs and social actors.
Other activities include: a cocktail reception and cultural show, and an official dinner to be hosted by Trinidad’s Prime Minister Patrick Manning, and Mrs. Manning.
Prime Minister Golding is slated to return to the island on Sunday (April 19). Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is also attending the Summit, is expected to arrive in Jamaica, from Trinidad and Tobago, for a two-day visit on the same date.

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