Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris met Tuesday with the new Australian High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. John Kenneth Pilbeam who is also accredited by Australia as its Ambassador to CARICOM.
Ambassador Pilbeam, who took up his appointment in February, has non-resident accreditation to 13 Caribbean countries including St. Kitts and Nevis.
The Ambassador took the opportunity to present Prime Minister Harris with his credentials during the Federation’s commemoration of Diplomatic Week 2016, which runs from April 3rd to April 8th. Ambassador Pilbeam presented his credentials to Dr. Harris in the Prime Minister’s Office at Government Headquarters on Tuesday, April 5th.
In announcing the appointment of Mr. Pilbeam, Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Julie Bishop, stated in December that, “Australia has a long-standing relationship with Caribbean countries, underpinned by strong historical, sporting and people-to-people links. Our cooperation with the region focuses on climate change, economic diplomacy, responding to natural disasters, and coral reef management.”
CARICOM and the Australian Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on November 29th, 2009 in Port of Spain, Trinidad. A report titled “Australian Aid Latin America and Caribbean Programs,” which is posted on the website of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), states in its executive summary that, “In the Caribbean ($82.7m 2010 – 2014), Australia focused on climate change, emergency assistance and disaster risk reduction (~$40.2m); people-to-people linkages ($16.5m); and economic resilience ($10m) in addition to direct bilateral assistance ($16m).”
Ambassador Pilbeam, a career officer with DFAT, succeeds Mr. Ross Tysoe AO. Mr. Tysoe, an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), took up his appointment in Trinidad in January 2013.
In 2004, Australia opened its High Commission in Port of Spain.