Above: Clinton in Guatemala last week (State Department Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended a high-level meeting between foreign ministers and CARICOM yesterday in Montego Bay, where she announced several new U.S. initiatives aimed at the Caribbean and expressed optimism for the U.S.-Jamaica relationship.
“I am very heartened and pleased by the [U.S.-Jamaica relationship],” Clinton told a forum at the Ritz-Carlton Montego Bay yesterday. “We have worked very hard over the last two and a half years, certainly since I’ve been Secretary of State under President Obama’s Administration, to deepen and broaden the relationship between Jamaica and the United States.”
She also praised Jamaica for an “impressive” accomplishment in financial and economic terms. The forum was attended by a number of Caribbean foreign ministers, including Jamaican Foreign Minister Kenneth Baugh and
“I am delighted to have participated once again in this high-level meeting, which is an indication of our strong commitment between the United States and the Caribbean,” Clinton told the forum.
Clinton announced that the U.S. is deepening its financial commitment to the Caribbean Basin security initiative, with $77 million in funding for the fiscal year 2011, an increase of 70 percent over the previous year.
“We are working with individual countries as well as the region to identify the priorities that the countries have,” Clinton said. “So in some countries, we’re working on training police officers and improving law enforcement techniques. With others, we’re working how to better collect data and information that will assist the government in providing support to law enforcement.”
She also announced a Caribbean Climate Change Adaptation Initiative, which will connect the University of the West Indies with American universities. Six Caribbean countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, will receive grants for alternative energy.
Targeting the Diaspora, the U.S. State Department recently launched the International Diaspora Engagement Alliance, IDEA, which aims to bridge the gap between diaspora communities and businesses in their countries of origin.
“We have chosen the Caribbean to be the first region in the world to demonstrate the impact of this alliance,” she said.