U.S. Strategy for Engagement in the Caribbean

US and CARICOM Flags at NYSE

Caribbean 2020: A Multi-Year Strategy To Increase the Security, Prosperity, and Well-Being of the People of the United States and the Caribbean

The Caribbean region is the United States’ “third border,” characterized by common interests and societal ties that yield daily, tangible benefits for U.S. citizens. The United States is the primary trading partner for the Caribbean, representing a vibrant economic partnership that in 2016 saw a $4.6 billion trade surplus for the United States, 14 million U.S. tourist visits, and 11,042 Caribbean students studying in the United States. We also face many common threats across the region. Small, but significant, numbers of violent extremists from the region have joined ISIS. Caribbean countries have some of the highest murder rates in the world. Rising crime and endemic corruption threaten governments’ ability to provide security and good governance. They also drive irregular migration to the United States. As the United States works to secure its southern border, we should prepare for transnational criminal organizations to shift more of their operations to the Caribbean as a transit point for drugs, migrants, weapons, and other illicit activity.

This strategy, coordinated with the interagency, identifies the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development’s priorities for United States engagement with the Caribbean region in the areas of security, diplomacy, prosperity, energy, education, and health. On security, we will work with our Caribbean partners to ensure ISIS is denied a foothold in the region, dismantle illicit trafficking networks, enhance maritime security, confront violent and organized crime, and increase the sharing of threat information among countries. Our diplomacy will both raise the political level of our dialogue with the Caribbean and focus it more tightly on this strategy’s six priorities. We will increase our own and our neighbors’ prosperity by promoting sustainable growth, open markets for U.S. exports, and private sector-led investment and development. On energy, exports of U.S. natural gas and the use of U.S. renewable energy technologies will provide cleaner, cheaper alternatives to heavy fuel oil and lessen reliance on Venezuela.

On education, we will focus our resources on exchanges and programs for students, scholars, teachers, and other professionals that provide mutual benefits to U.S. and Caribbean communities and promote economic development and entrepreneurship. In the area of health, we will continue to partner with countries in the region in the fight against infectious diseases, like HIV/AIDS and Zika, recognizing deadly pathogens are threats that know no borders.

Read more at: US State Department

CARICOM Official lauds work of Regional Cultural Committee

Ms. Myrna Bernard, Director, Human Development, CARICOM Secretariat speaking during the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Fifth Meeting of the Regional Cultural Committee of the Caribbean Community,
Ms. Myrna Bernard, Director, Human Development, CARICOM Secretariat speaking during the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Fifth Meeting of the Regional Cultural Committee of the Caribbean Community,

Director of Human Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Ms Myrna Bernard, on Wednesday lauded the Regional Cultural Committee (RCC) for its many achievements over the past two decades.

Ms. Bernard was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Fifth Meeting of the Regional Cultural Committee at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, 21-23 July, 2017. Ms. Myrna Bernard  said the RCC was instrumental in developing a Regional cultural policy in 1994, and noted that the policy still served as a reference document and a model for cultural policies in some Member States where policies are still being developed.

In fact, the vision of the Ideal Caribbean Person, detailed in that document, has served as a foundation to guide many a strategy and conversation on Human Development. The Conference of Heads in 1997 adopted it during their deliberations on HRD; in 2010, the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development CCYD updated and used it as basis for informing the Paramaribo Youth Strategy, and the most recent (2017) Development of the CARICOM HRD 2030 Strategy, has also used that conceptualisation of the Ideal Caribbean Person.


Put your money where your mouth is! – Barbados Culture Minister


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Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth of Barbados, the Hon. Stephen Lashley, is of the view that regional Governments needed to redirect some of their resources to the cultural industries if they were truly interested in regional economic expansion and development.

He said funding that was going to some traditional sectors that may not necessarily be bringing in the returns that were needed could be diverted to the cultural industries. The Minister was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Fifth meeting of the Regional Cultural Committee at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, 21-23 June, 2017.

In his remarks, Minister Lashley pointed out that when the CARICOM Heads of Government met at the Twenty-Sixth Inter-Sessional Meeting in The Bahamas in February, 2015, they recognised that cultural and creative industries represented a sector with great potential to contribute to the economic development of the Region. According to the Minister, the Heads reaffirmed the significance of the cultural and creative industries to CARICOM integration, to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), for cultural identity, diversity and youth engagement. He said they also agreed to place greater emphasis on a development pathway based on knowledge and the creative economy and by leveraging the human, cultural and national assets of the Community, for development in all its dimensions. (more…)

CYAs prioritise agriculture and education for the upcoming year

CARICOM Youth Ambassadors (CYAs) last week visited the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana for an Orientation and Capacity-Building workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to help the CYAs familiarise themselves with their duties and to introduce them to the staff at the CARICOM Secretariat, as well as help them to devise specific plans through which they can conduct their duties as Youth Ambassadors for the Region. Coming out of the workshop, the CYAs determined that they would focus on two keys areas – agriculture and education.

Incoming Dean of the CYA Corps, Andre Brown of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, gives more details of their plan in the video below. Stay tuned for more information on the workshop and how the Youth Ambassadors intend to implement their working plans.


Plans for implementation of CARICOM HRD Strategy moving ahead

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Plans for the implementation of CARICOM Human Resource Development Strategy continue to move forward with the recent hosting (30 May-1June, 2017) of a Workshop that was geared at outlining specific ways in which the process would be tackled. Human Resource Development professionals gathered in Guyana for the workshop at the Guyana Marriott Hotel in Georgetown.

Check out the video below for the details on the issues that were discussed and some of the strategies that were formulated.