CARICOM HEADS TO MEET PRESIDENT OBAMA

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Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean

Climate change will be high on Barbados’ agenda during talks which are scheduled to be held today between Caricom Heads of Government and the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

This was revealed yesterday by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, who noted that as a vulnerable, small developing country in the region climate change was an important issue for Barbados.

“That is something we want to focus on, and I believe too, that the President of the United States understands and has bought into. The specifics as to how we will operationalise matters relating to that, we will want to work out,” she pointed out.

Minister McClean also stressed that the current financial crisis was a matter of concern for the region and would need to be addressed. “The financial services sector is a major plank in our economy, and, therefore, it is important that there is a commitment to understanding the important part it plays in our viability as a country and as a region,” she observed.

The Foreign Affairs Minister opined that security would be another area of focus. She stated: “The scourge of the drug trade is something that concerns not only Caricom and Barbados specifically, but also the United States of America.

"It has the potential for not only creating the consequences of drug use, but the level of violence and criminality that goes with it. Countries like ours are very vulnerable to that kind of situation, and, therefore, we have to rethink matters of security and matters related to the whole issue of the illicit trade in drugs.”

Senator McClean surmised that avenues for mutual benefits to the region and the United States, as well as exploring opportunities for greater trade at the level of the private sector, investment and the facilitation of the local economies, should also be discussed during the high level meeting. 

“Notwithstanding that we are small markets individually, the proximity of the members of Caricom to the US also suggests that there is a lot scope for greater ties,” she added.

President Obama is expected to arrive in Trinidad and Tobago later today.

gapplewhaite@barbados.gov.bb

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