Above: Mexico and CARICOM begin talks in Barbados Monday (CJ Photo)
By Alexander Britell
BRIDGETOWN — Haiti’s reconstruction efforts will receive support following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Mexico and the Caribbean Community.
Mexico signed the MoU with CARICOM’s Foreign Ministers Sunday, ahead of Monday’s second CARICOM-Mexico Summit in Bridgetown.
“We know that since the tragic earthquake we’ve had several promises of support internationally, but within the context of that, Mexico has actually engaged Haiti and has contributed in several significant ways to that effort to rebuild,” said Barbados Foreign Minister Sen. Maxine McClean. “We believe that as CARICOM seeks to play its part, that we could work more closely with Mexico.”
Since 2010, Mexico has reportedly spent $23 million in the execution of development projects in agriculture, education and health Haiti, along with providing a number of scholarships to Haitian students.
The two countries’ ties were strengthened during a visit by Mexican President Felipe Calderon to Port-au-Prince last month.
Calderon will arrive in Bridgetown Sunday night ahead of Monday’s joint summit, the second of its kind. The first was held in Mexico in 2010.
Mexico and CARICOM also signed a cooperation agreement Sunday on sectors including biotechnology, health, nanotechnology, engineering, trade and energy among others.
The two pacts were signed by CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque and Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa.
“We sign cooperation agreements and often times we do not maximize the opportunities therein — in the face of that, at the level of foreign ministers, we also agree that a critical component of a Memorandum of Understanding would be the need to have built into this some mechanism for follow up,” McClean said.
Mexico was the first country to sign an agreement for a Joint Commission with CARICOM in 1974.
Monday’s summit will focus on a range of issues including trade and investment, along with a particular emphasis on collaboration ahead of the upcoming G20 Meeting.