CARICOM Leaders ready for talks with President Obama

Greater Georgetown, Guyana –   Competitiveness, energy and security will be the focus of the highly anticipated Summit between the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. The event takes place on Thursday April 9 in Kingston, Jamaica.

The Hon Perry Christie, CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of The Bahamas

Co-chaired by Chairman of CARICOM the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, and President Obama, the encounter follows on the heels on another high level engagement between Caribbean leaders and US Vice President Joe Biden, late January in Washington DC at the Caribbean Energy Security Summit. Both co-chairs are expected to address a short opening session.

Thursday’s meeting will be the third time that CARICOM leaders have met with President Obama. Previous meetings had taken place in the margins of the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009 and Colombia in 2012.

The themes of Thursday’s Summit reflect the major concerns of the Community as many of the Member States seek to emerge from the lingering effects of the global economic and financial crisis. With economic growth as a main goal of the Community, discussions related to competitiveness with the Region’s main trading partner is a significant element of the meeting.

The Community welcomed the announcement at the Energy Security Summit in Washington of a shift in US policy with respect to supporting concessional development financing for the Region in three defined areas, energy, climate change and disaster management. Lack of access to such financing is a major impediment to the Region’s growth prospects. Many Member States have been deemed ineligible for such funds having been graduated to middle income status by International Financial Institutions and some Development Partners with the use of GDP as a primary criterion.

The CARICOM-US summit on Thursday is part of a two-day official visit by President Obama to Jamaica preceding the involvement of both parties in the 7th Summit of the Americas in Panama on 10-11 April, 2015.

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