PM Harris and Other CARICOM Heads Hold High-level Dialogue With U.S. Vice President to Strengthen Areas of Cooperation
Among the issues discussed during Friday’s US-Caribbean Leaders virtual meeting included security cooperation, health matters, climate resilience and energy security as well as economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vice President Harris used the occasion to assure the regional leaders that as their neighbor, the United States of America stands ready to assist the Caribbean region in a number of areas.
“As a neighbor in the Western Hemisphere, the United States shares a common bond with the nations of the Caribbean. As neighbors, we know that partnership is key to our shared prosperity and security. We also know that we have common challenges and that is why I’ve convened this meeting to strengthen our partnership and chart a path forward together,” the United States Vice President said.
In his remarks during the important dialogue, the St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister highlighted the urgent need for economic recovery post COVID-19. Dr. Harris also emphasized the role of the USA in the empowerment of the Caribbean people through skills enhancement by way of scholarships, bursaries and grants.
Additionally, Prime Minister Harris stressed the importance of the Citizenship by Investment Programmes as a pathway for further development.
He said, “Our CBI Programmes have recently come under intense scrutiny, as the European Union through its most recent directive implies that member countries which rely on the revenues of citizenship by investment programmes as a mean of assisting with their development, are likely to have these funding sources curbed. This can potentially result in stunted growth, economic depression, greater public indebtedness, fiscal strain, longer-term developmental challenges and social discord.”
Prime Minister Harris further indicated that the time has come for new ideas and new tools. He added, “It is our view that there is a great deal that the US can offer, through your good offices, in promoting and lending support to the development agenda for the Caribbean sharing of its well-established innovative approaches to help in propelling our region forward.”
The honourable Prime Minister was supported in today’s meeting by Cabinet Secretary, Mrs. Josephine Huggins; Financial Secretary, Mrs. Hilary Hazel and Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Andrew Skerritt.
Underscoring the importance of continued dialogue, Vice President Harris recommended that the US-Caribbean Leaders meeting be made an annual event moving forward.