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Vice-President Kamala Harris reaffirms U.S.’s ‘strong commitment’ to the Caribbean region

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Posted: Sunday, May 1, 2022. 1:59 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Vice-President of the United States Kamala Harris, daughter of a Jamaican-born retired economist born in Oakland, USA, has renewed American commitments to the Caribbean during a virtual meeting on Friday, the Jamaica Observer reports via the Caribbean Media Corporation.

Harris, joined by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General Dr Carla Barnett and regional leaders from Belize to Guyana, said the U.S. recognized the common bond it shares with its Caribbean neighbours, which is key to shared prosperity and security and wanted to strengthen our partnership and chart a path forward together through common challenges.

She listed several of those challenges, including economic recovery, security, and climate and energy. The U.S. remains the largest trading partner for most of CARICOM, and is prepared to work on efforts to address regional crime and security issues and improve climate resilience and adaptation.

On security, Harris informed the leaders that the U.S. will expand its assistance to the Caribbean through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI). The vice president also discussed new funding to combat firearms trafficking, enhance maritime security, and support training for police and others, according to the White House.

Harris further noted that for the U.S., the Caribbean is also a source of culture: “As we all know, our nations have extensive people-to-people ties…Millions of Americans have Caribbean heritage. Millions of Americans travel to the Caribbean each year for vacation, to visit friends and family, and to engage with the richness of that history. From South Florida to New York and beyond, Caribbean culture has become a meaningful part of American culture, and we are all grateful for that. At the same time, we recognize that we find ourselves collectively in a challenging time.”

“In light of this, I want to be clear: The United States is committed to you, our neighbours, and we will take on these challenges together,” she said. “Convenings like this haven’t happened very often. So, today, as a demonstration of our administration’s commitment, I propose this be an annual meeting.”

“They agreed our governments will stay in close touch, including at the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles,” continued the White House, stating that that summit will take place in June.

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