NEW YORK – The time “is opportune” for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to engage the investment and trade partners of the United States, given the significant development and transformation of the Community, the Hon. Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda told the breakfast launch of the New York Conference on the Caribbean on Thursday, June 19.
At the function at the Brooklyn Borough Hall, Brooklyn, New York Prime Minister Spencer anticipated that the two-day Conference would open up the doors for further dialogue and concrete initiatives to spur economic growth in the Caribbean.
The two-day New York Conference on the Caribbean is geared at boosting existing ties with the United States in general and New York in particular, in the areas of education, trade and investment. High level meetings will be held between Heads of Government and key officials including Congressman Charles Rangel, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives; Mr. David Paterson, New York Governor; Mr. Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York; Mr. Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President, and top executives of Wall Street.
New York City, Prime Minister Spencer said, was a fitting place to continue the rich discourse started in Washington DC last year at the historic Conference on the Caribbean. With the financial capital of the world located in New York, it was most appropriate that discussions over the next few days would focus on investment and trade opportunities, the Prime Minister added.
“The moment is opportune for us as a Region to engage in this interface with existing and prospective investment and trade partners. CARICOM is undergoing significant development and transformation. The positive developments in our investment environment will provide an attractive climate and framework for fruitful discussions,” the Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Spencer also referred to strengthening the considerable informal links between regional tertiary institutions and their counterparts in New York, given the importance that regional governments have placed on education and training to fuel the development of the Region’s human resource capacity.
“It is no secret that many of our best and brightest leave our shores – a significant number of them are here in the US, many of them are in New York, and I dare say, a number of them are right here in this room! It is therefore imperative that the Caribbean strengthens its education institutions in order to provide for regional as well as international demand in critical areas,” he said.
Shortly after the opening, delegates gathered at the Marriott, a stone’s throw away from the Brooklyn Borough Hall for an Education Symposium, the first substantive session of the Conference.
In the afternoon, Conference delegates began trade and investment talks with representatives of the business community in New York at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge.
`Trade and Foreign Direct Investment as Instruments to spur Economic Growth and Achieve Sustainable Development in the Caribbean was the theme of a luncheon event. Other encounters focusing on trade and investment were hosted by the New York Empire State Development Corporation at the Marriott.
On Friday, June 20 delegates will discuss investment at several meetings with top executives of Wall Street. The general theme of those meetings is `The Role of International Institutions in Assisting Small States to Achieve Competitive Advantage in the Global Marketplace’.
The launch on Thursday was hosted by Mr. Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President, Congressman Rangel, and the CARICOM Consular Corps of New York. Both Mr. Markowitz and Congressman Rangel welcomed the Heads of Government and their delegations to the City and expressed the hope for a successful Conference.
Hon. Charles Hynes, Brooklyn District Attorney, Hon. McChesney Emmanuel, Chairman, New York Caribbean Consular Corps and Mr. Halim Majeed of the Caribbean-American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also addressed the opening ceremony.
The New York Conference on the Caribbean coincides with events to mark Caribbean-American Heritage Month in the United States.