Remarks by Prime Minister of Canada at engagement with CARICOM Heads of Government

Prime Minister of Canada, the Rt. Hon Justin Trudeau during engagement with CARICOM Heads of Government

CARICOM Heads of Government on Thursday, 16 February 2023, engaged with special guest, Prime Minister of Canada, the Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, during their Forty-Fourth Meeting now underway in The Bahamas.

Please read Prime Minister Trudeau’s remarks below:

• Thank you, Prime Minister Davis, for hosting us in The Bahamas.
• I am honoured to be invited to address this group of distinguished leaders from the Caribbean Community as a special guest.
• I cannot tell you how happy I am to be here among friends, in the Caribbean today.

Canada-CARICOM Relations

• Canada and the Caribbean share strong and long-standing connections.
o We have deep people-to-people ties – many of you know this firsthand, having studied in Canada. And I know many of you have family in Canada, too.
o We also share a long history of mutually beneficial trading relationships.
o And a history of shared values.

• As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of CARICOM this year, let’s mark the occasion with a renewed partnership between Canada and CARICOM.
o Let’s chart new strategic partnerships, built on modern realities.
o Let’s diversify our economic relationships and address climate change, and do both in ways that create good jobs in all our countries.

• Nos pays ont grandement bénéficié des liens qu’on entretient dans divers domaines : économique, universitaire, juridique, politique et, bien sûr, culturel.
o La culture des Caraïbes est présente au Canada depuis que les premiers immigrants de cette région sont arrivés au pays dans les années 1770.

o Hundreds of thousands of Canadians now claim Caribbean heritage, and each year we welcome Caribbean people to Canada, whether to study, to build a life and share their culture, or simply to visit.

• And people love to come here, to the Caribbean; Tourism is a major economic driver.
o Millions of Canadians visit the islands every year, typically.
o But the pandemic dealt a hard blow to tourism around the world.
o Fortunately, travel is rebounding.
o This is good for our tourism industries, and alsogood for business travel that opens up new economic opportunities.

• Canada is working to expand and simplify access for trusted travellers from CARICOM countries and other countries in the region
• Canada has long been a partner in economic development in the region and been there to help Caribbean countries when serious challenges arise.

Climate and Environment

• This includes the very present challenges that the Caribbean, and the world, are dealing with in the face of climate change.
• With many small island nations here today, you know that better than anyone – from the threats posed by powerful storms that are increasing in strength andfrequency, to the threats rising sea levels pose.

• Canada experienced this first-hand when Hurricane Fiona devastated Atlantic Canada last fall.
o We saw how fragile island ecosystems can bewhen the storm took lives, swept away homes, and destroyed our beaches and coasts.
• Those of you in this room know these realities all too well, from Hurricanes Maria, Juan. Harvey, Dorian, andothers.
• Caribbean nations understand the issue better than most.
• And you have seized this challenge to become global leaders on climate action.

• Le Canada s’est engagé à verser 5,3 milliards de dollars sur cinq ans pour soutenir la lutte contre les changements climatiques dans les pays en développement.
o Grâce à ce financement, on a pu soutenir l’Agence caribéenne de gestion des urgences en cas de catastrophe et on a pu fournir une couverture pour les primes d’assurance contre les risques de catastrophe, afin d’aider la région à faire face aux catastrophes climatiques.

• To build on this, today, I am announcing $44.8 million in new funding to tackle the climate crisis in the Caribbean.
• This funding will support projects with regionalorganizations like the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund, that will:
o improve marine and coastal ecosystem management,
o increase water security, and
o help governments better respond to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

Access to Finance

• We know that one of the significant challenges many CARICOM countries face, in dealing with climate change, is accessing climate and concessional financing.
• Canada applauds Prime Minister Mottley’s leadership on the Bridgetown Initiative, which has re-energized the conversation on International Financial Institution reformso they can better respond to the overlapping health, climate, debt, and liquidity crises affecting many CARICOM members.
• Canada is also honoured to have been selected by the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to chair the CDB Board of Governors.

• Le Canada a fait valoir les appels des petits États insulaires en développement et États côtiers à faible altitude [PEID] lors des principales réunions multilatérales tenues partout dans le monde, notamment celles du G7, du G20, de la Banque mondiale, du Fonds monétaire international et de l’ONU.
• On va continuer de défendre vos intérêts avec nos partenaires des secteurs public et privé.


• But we know that in order to have truly sustainable, long lasting economic prosperity, countries need robust, dynamic trade.
• The strong trade ties between us go back decades and remain strong today.
o In 2021, Canada’s two-way merchandise trade with CARICOM countries reached $1.9 billion, with bilateral trade in services reaching $3.9 billion.

• There are opportunities for businesses in all our economies in emerging sectors like clean technology, green infrastructure, renewable energy, and more.
• I want to announce today that Canada is seeking a renewal of its waiver from the World Trade Organization for our CARIBCAN trade program, to ensure that goods from the region can enter Canada duty-free beyond 2023.
o CARIBCAN was first announced by Canada at this same meeting in Nassau in 1985, so it is only fitting we renew that pledge here today.

The Crisis in Haiti

• But critical to prosperity is stability in the region. And, Canada, like you, is very concerned about the ongoing unrest and instability in Haiti.
• Right now, Haiti is confronted with unrelenting gang violence, political turmoil, and corruption.
o Armed groups are committing murder, rape, and other gender-based violence, kidnapping innocent people, and recruiting children, to terrorize and subjugate people.
o It hits close to home not only in the region, but also in Canada with our strong Haitian diaspora community.

• Prime Minister Henry is here with us, as leader of a CARICOM member state. Now is the moment to come together to confront the severity of this situation.
• As neighbours, and, for Canada, as a partner with decades of history of support for the people of Haiti, we need to work on long-lasting solutions that will:
o restore order and security,
o allow for essential aid to flow to those who urgently need it, and
o create the conditions for free and fair elections – so that the Haitian people can live in a stable and democratic society.

• The toll of human suffering in Haiti weighs heavily on me.
o As Canadians, our fundamental objective is to ease this suffering and empower Haitians to chart their own future.
o I had a very constructive conversation with Prime Minister Henry today.
o We are working closely together to help address the political, security, and humanitarian crisis in Haiti.

• We have provided direct support to bolster the Haitian National Police so that Haiti has the tools and support to solve this situation, including:
o deploying surveillance aircraft and vital strategic security equipment and vehicles, and
o an additional delivery of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles in the coming days.
• And today, I am announcing that Canada will also deploy Royal Canadian Navy vessels to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence, and maintain a maritime presence off the Haitian coast in the coming weeks.

• Canada continues to reinforce the capacities of the Haitian police to overpower armed gangs and hold those who support them accountable.

• De façon très urgente, il faut alimenter les capacités de la Police nationale d’Haïti pour qu’elle prenne le dessussur les gangs.
o Afin d’apprendre des leçons du passé, nous cherchons à renforcer les institutions haïtiennes, en partenariat avec les Haïtiens, et en appui à des objectifs définis par eux et dirigées par les Haïtiens eux-mêmes.
o En plus de ça, la mise en œuvre des autres éléments clés de la réponse intégrée du Canada en Haïti continue, sans relâche.

• Canada has also implemented robust sanctions against corrupt economic and political elites who have used their influence and resources to support criminal gangs and fuel instability in Haiti.
o To date, Canada has implemented targeted sanctions on 15 individuals.
o Today I am announcing a 6th round of autonomous sanctions against two more individuals.

Le Canada continue à encourager les pays partenaires à également mettre en place des sanctions ou autres mesures pour optimiser notre combat contre l’impunité et la corruption.

o We recognize the establishment of the High Transitional Council as a positive step towards political stability. And one that must be broadened.
• CARICOM must be an integral leader on this crisis, including through convening political dialogues and helping rally partners, around the globe, to provide much-needed assistance for Haiti.

• Canada has been there to provide humanitarian assistance for Haitian people throughout this crisis.
• Today I am announcing $10 million to support the International Office on Migration to strengthen the protection and resilience of Haitian women and children along the Haiti-Dominican Republic border and in migrants’ place of origin.
o And we will invest an additional $12.3 million in humanitarian assistance.
• Together, with CARICOM, Canada and international partners can help Haitians bring an end to the crisis and build a better, and more hopeful, future for their country.

Regional Security

• L’insécurité dans la région nous affecte tous, peu importe où elle se manifeste.
• Le Canada entretient depuis longtemps des partenariats en matière de sécurité et de défense avec les Caraïbes, et on veut, tout comme vous, bâtir un hémisphère plus sécuritaire, plus stable et plus prospère.

• However, we know that criminal elements are becoming more sophisticated, and more support is needed to stop the flow of illicit drugs, arms, and human trafficking.
• So Canada will provide $1.8 million to target illicit drug trafficking and strengthen border and maritime security in the Caribbean.
• Together, we can build a safer, better future, for the people in our countries, and around the world.


• There’s a whole range of things for us to work on together, and many of them are urgent.
o We must address the crisis in Haiti.
o We must deliver on climate action.
o We must find new opportunities for our businesses and workers and grow our economies.
o And, above all, we must put people at the centre of everything we do and build a future where everyone sees opportunities for themselves, their kids, and their grandkids.

• I look forward to strengthening our partnership, buildingon the already solid foundation of shared values, priorities, and mutual respect and friendships that binds us together.
• Merci

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