CARICOM??and Mexican delegates meeting at the 2nd CARICOM-Mexico Summit in Barbados, yesterday at the Hilton Hotel. (C.Pitt/BGIS)??

CARICOM and Mexico plan to collaborate in the areas of higher education and the rebuilding of CARICOM member state, Haiti – which is still struggling to fully recover from the effects of a catastrophic earthquake that hit that island in 2010.

This was affirmed earlier this week when the Secretary-General of CARICOM, Irwin La Rocque, and Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Patricia Espinosa, signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) during the 2nd CARICOM Mexico Summit held at the Hilton Barbados.

Following the signing of the agreements, Barbados’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, provided the press with details.?? She was accompanied by Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, Bobby Morris, and, Barbados’ Ambassador to the United States of America and Permanent Representative to the Organisation of America States, John Beale.

"One [agreement] is a Memorandum of Understanding between the Mexican Agency of International Cooperation for Development and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in the area of higher education…" she said.

According to her, the agreement provided for much scope.?? She explained that there were several critical areas of cooperation that would "benefit the development of our respective countries".

The areas listed were biotechnology, health, engineering, environment, nanotechnology, tourism, natural disasters, trade and energy.?? She added Mexico had recorded "successes" in these areas and was very much willing to engage in cooperation with CARICOM.

"The cooperation would involve exchange of academics and graduate students and I would want to indicate… that we take advantage of these opportunities.?? We sign cooperation agreements and often times we do not maximize the opportunities therein," the Foreign Affairs Minister stressed.

She further pointed out that the Foreign Ministers agreed to a "follow up mechanism" to ensure that there was utilization of the various provisions in the agreement.

Minister McClean also explained that the second MOU addressed the rebuilding of Haiti facilitated by CARICOM and Mexico.??

"We know since the tragic earthquake we have had several promises of support internationally; but within that context, Mexico has actually engaged Haiti and has contributed in several significant ways to that effort to rebuild," she added.

She concluded: "We believe as CARICOM seeks to play its part (in that regard) that we could work more closely with Mexico."


Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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