Above: the CARICOM Heads of Government in Trinidad
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The visit to Trinidad and Tobago this week by United States Vice President Joe Biden was an “important precursor” to a summit with US President Barack Obama, Haiti President Michel Martelly said in a statement following Biden’s visit.
Martelly, who is currently the Chairman of CARICOM, recently called for the US to convene a high-level summit with CARICOM. Obama has visited the region just once since taking office in 2008, however, traveling to Trinidad in 2009 for the Summit of the Americas.
“We have come out of a very frank but cordial session with the Vice President and we believe that today’s discussion further strengthens the relationship between the Caribbean and the United States,” Martelly said. “It would no doubt help the United States to articulate clearly its policy toward the Caribbean which would provide an overarching framework for the relationship and cooperation.”
The talks, which culminated in the signing of a trade agreement, covered issues including criminal deportees, intelligence sharing, financial intelligence and the global Arms Trade Treaty.
The two sides additionally discussed a growing issue in the Caribbean — the treatment of regional countries as middle-income and thus entitled to fewer financing opportunities.
It’s not yet clear when the two sides will hold the proposed regional summit.
In recent years, several countries have held high-level summits with CARICOM, including China, Chile, the United Kingdom and, most recently, Mexico.
Following Biden’s visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Trinidad this week.