Published On: Wed, May 29th, 2013

Statement to the Press by His Excellency Michel Martelly, President of the Republic of Haiti and Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) following discussion with Mr. Joe Biden, Vice President, United States of America

Statement to the Press by His Excellency Michel Martelly, President of the Republic of Haiti and Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government

of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

following discussion with Mr. Joe Biden, Vice President, United States of America

28 May, 2013

Port of Spain

Trinidad and Tobago

Michell MartellyWe have come out of a very frank but cordial session with the Vice President and we believe that today’s discussion further strengthens the relationship between the Caribbean and the United States.  It would no doubt help the United States to articulate clearly its policy toward the Caribbean which would provide an overarching framework for the relationship and cooperation.

 

The Caribbean took the opportunity to emphasise the importance of its sustainable economic growth and the need for the United States to partner with the Region in achieving this. Trade is important in facilitating such growth and we stressed the importance of trade being conducted on a level playing field and with respect for the rules established by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).  In that regard, we called for the US to engage early and meaningfully with CARICOM countries with a view to addressing in a sympathetic manner the region’s concerns with regard to rum and to internet gaming.

The importance of renewable and affordable energy was highlighted as an important contributing factor to the Region’s economic growth. Both sides agreed that the greatest hedge of small states with regard to their growth and development was access to education and high tech capability. In that regard there was agreement that the two sides would work together in the field of Information and Communication Technology to build human capacity and encourage innovation to assist in building competitiveness which in turn would benefit the efforts of the region towards economic growth. We welcomed the interest displayed by the Vice President with regard to the efforts of the Community to create a single ICT space.

We also registered our concerns about graduation and we stressed to the Vice President the need for the United States to use its influence in the multilateral financial institutions and the G20, to encourage a review of the decreasing access to concessional financing being experienced by CARICOM countries categorised as middle-income.

In a short while we will be signing the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) which we expect will be the driver for strengthened trade and investment ties between us. It would serve as a mechanism for CARICOM and the US to develop practical strategies on a wide range of trade, investment and economic cooperation issues. This would be essential to spurring economic development and diversification of the economies of the region, and thereby contributing to improvement in the well-being of our citizens.

Both sides recognised that the CARICOM Basin Security Initiative constituted an important mechanism to promote actions that will further strengthen security cooperation between us and enhance regional and international security.  In this regard, the need for the increased provision of assets was underlined by the Caribbean side.  The topical issues of deportees and immigration were also raised.

We repeated our plea for increased information and intelligence sharing with respect to criminal deportees. With regard to current efforts by the US to reform their immigration policies, we raised the concern that greater consideration needed to be given to family reunification.

The importance of the US sharing Financial Intelligence in our fight against Money Laundering was also touched upon.

We also urged the US to reaffirm its commitment to support the Arms Trade Treaty and to use its international reach and diplomacy to promote the signing, ratification and implementation of that Treaty.

Overall the Meeting with the Vice-President was viewed as an important precursor to a Summit with President Obama.

 

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