Remarks by Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith On The Occasion Of The Fourth CARICOM-India Ministerial Meeting

Minister Kamina Johnson Smith (c) is flanked by CARICOM Secretary-General, Dr. Carla Barnett (l) and Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs of India

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, Senator, the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, on Friday 21 April 2023, made remarks at the opening of the Fourth CARICOM-India Ministerial Meeting at the CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana.

Please see the Minister’s remarks below:

  • Your Excellency Dr. S. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs of India;
  • Colleagues Ministers and Heads of Delegation of CARICOM Member States;
  • Your Excellency Dr. Carla Barnett, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community;
  • Senior Officials of CARICOM and India;
  • Ladies and Gentlemen;

Good morning.

I express my deep appreciation to the Government of India and to the Government of Guyana for making space within their important bi-lateral agenda, for fellow CARICOM Member States to assemble here in Georgetown, and virtually, for this CARICOM-India Ministerial meeting.  Minister Todd, thank you for facilitating and welcoming us. Minister Greene, I hope I will not disappoint as you have charged me, as incoming Chair of the Council on Foreign and Community Relations with Co-Chairing today’s proceedings and with welcoming [to the Region and to the Headquarters of our Community and Secretariat] our friend and colleague, the Minister of External Affairs of India.

With the First CARICOM-India Summit Level Meeting held in September 2019 having set the tone for deepened political engagement, it has been, and is still our responsibility as Ministers, to perpetuate the momentum generated from that pivotal meeting.

Excellency, in our last engagement in the margins of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly,  we expressed our intention to strengthen the collaboration between us.  Since then, your country has taken the Presidency of the G20 under the theme of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, One Earth, One Family, One Future – affirming the value of all life and our interconnectedness on Earth and within the Universe.  CARICOM Member States take your Presidency, the messaging of your theme and this engagement – as an excellent context within which to expand on our earlier discussions and to identify new areas for enhanced collaboration in the multilateral sphere, to promote our mutual interests as developing states. 

The Caribbean Community has benefitted from its cooperation with India in many areas. Through collaboration with the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme we have engaged in capacity-building projects and programmes in health, agriculture, disaster management, fisheries, information and communication technology (ICT), and diplomacy. Under the principle of Vaccine Maitri, India was among the first countries to donate vaccines to CARICOM Member States during the Covid-19 pandemic, thus demonstrating its commitment to the welfare of developing nations and further, to equitable access to vaccines. India’s generosity helped Caribbean Countries address an unprecedented global crisis and saved Caribbean lives.

Excellency, we regret that the CARICOM-India Joint Commission could not meet on this occasion. We are aware that it is intended to meet biennially and I offer assurances that our officials will propose new dates. CARICOM countries welcome the opportunity to review existing technical cooperation and explore new initiatives to pursue jointly our development priorities.

Colleagues, our engagement today also gives us time to reflect on the common values shared by CARICOM and India, namely our commitments to democracy, sustainable development and multilateralism. These principles provide a foundation for co-operation between the Caribbean Community and India in international fora. We share a firm understanding that traditional development financing frameworks do not meet all the needs of the developing South; and that climate change presents an existential threat to our societies, acknowledging the realities of a global crisis where Small Island and low-lying coastal Developing States (SIDS) are paying the price for the advancement of developed states.

Partnerships with larger nations and economies, such as India, are essential to amplify the concerns of the Caribbean Community and other SIDS on the global stage.  We know that in the context of the G20, India has sought to highlight the concerns of small vulnerable states such as ours, including on food security. We have every faith, that this will continue.  With solidarity and collective action, we can pave a way forward to secure prosperity for future generations.


Our agenda comprises areas of sectoral cooperation as well as those on our multilateral agenda, which are of interest to both sides of this partnership.  I am confident that our discussions will be fruitful and reflect the spirit of cooperation that defines CARICOM-India relations. We look forward to a productive meeting.

I thank you.

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