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MONTEGO BAY — CARICOM Community (CARICOM) Foreign Ministers have deemed June 22 high-level talks with United States Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton a success, with a number of critical issues explored.

 Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh, addressing a press conference held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel to provide details of the meeting, said discussions focused on initiatives to improve gains under the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) and other trade agreements.

“We discussed…means to develop and build the productive capacities within our (countries) to take advantage of the Caribbean Basin Initiative as well as other trading agreements that we do have, in terms of having greater and more diversified productive capacities, and exports and products to take advantage of those markets,” he outlined.

He said that Jamaica is pleased about the commitment given for a CARICOM summit with US President, Barack Obama “as soon as is possible in the future."

“We believe that today’s discussions have indeed cemented the commitment between CARICOM, the Dominican Republic and the United States for continued dialogue.  We look forward to deepening our relations with the clear objective of improving the quality of life for all our peoples across the region,” Dr. Baugh stated.

Chairman of the Council of Foreign and Community Relations of CARICOM, Sam Condor, noted that the engagement was rich and insightful.

He said the responses from the US Secretary of State were genuine and sincere and showed a full understanding of the issues of the Caribbean society and the Caribbean peoples. 

“If half of what was discussed comes to realisation, then we would be standing in good stead,” stated Mr. Candor, who is also Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Mrs. Clinton, in her remarks, said she was pleased to have participated in the CARICOM ministers meeting, stating that it was an indication of the strong bond between the US and the Caribbean.

The one-day meeting, which involved the Dominican Republic, also looked at CARICOM’s role in the reconstruction effort in Haiti; reviewed security cooperation between the US and countries of the region over the last year under the CBI; and initiatives towards youth development in the region.

Also discussed were joint efforts on climate change and renewable energy; and a partnership dubbed: ‘International Diaspora Engagement Alliance (IDEA)’, aimed at fostering collaboration between Caribbean entrepreneurs and its Diaspora around the world.

                                      

By BRYAN MILLER, JIS Reporter