US Assistant Secretary of State, Brian Nichols (third from right), in talks with Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley while other members of his team and local government officials listen attentively. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley is grateful for the improvement in relations between Barbados and the United States of America but she has made it clear that greater involvement is needed to assist CARICOM in tackling supply chain issues and other matters affecting the region.

Ms. Mottley stated this position as she engaged US Assistant Secretary of State, Brian Nichols, and his team during a meeting at Ilaro Court ahead of the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles next month.

The Prime Minister raised a number of issues, including the need for food security to be placed on the meeting’s agenda, owing to a worsening global supply chain situation that is impacting the region’s ability to feed its people.

Ms. Mottley expressed the belief that a clear identification of the crops that can be reaped in 10 to 16 weeks, and guaranteed market access in the Americas, were vital to meeting the basic needs of the region in the interim.  

“I really feel that we cannot only be talking about climate and energy security at the Summit of the Americas.  We have to tackle the issue of food security…,” she insisted.

The Prime Minister also suggested that a package of assistance needed to be worked out that was germane to the realities of the region, and offered to meet with US representatives to fine-tune the document.

She stated: “…But let’s work together to see how a development package can not only keep Caribbean people at home, but can help with the right-sizing of where we want to go in the future.”

Addressing food security, Assistant Secretary of State Nichols shared that Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently chaired a United Nations Security Council meeting, where the issue was discussed and commitments made to “reorient the fuel supply chain to address the needs of countries in our hemisphere who are all hurting with regard to price inflation or simple unavailability of staple goods”.

“This is an urgent issue that we must address,” he emphasised.

The diplomat gave the undertaking that matters pertaining to security, energy and financing will be discussed at the upcoming summit to ensure that the region can continue its quest of attaining growth and development.

Among the topics discussed by the two officials were opportunities in technology training to undertake remote work and in cyber security; renewable energy; green financing; and education exchange programmes. The lack of access to financial assistance from developmental agencies was also highlighted during the talks.  

Mr. Nichols congratulated the Prime Minister on her selection as one of the 100 most influential people of Time Magazine, adding that she was held in “high regard” by US President Joe Biden, his Vice President Kamala Harris and other high-ranking officials.

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