The United States has for a long time been central in the economic activities of the Caribbean. This long history of economic cooperation and for some – economic interference – has conjured different outcomes for the Caribbean through different stages of history. Today, however, the Caribbean, in a large part depends on the US for economic support and tries to facilitate the US as far as economic cooperation is concerned.
At a recent meeting held in Trinidad and Tobago including Vice President Joe Biden along with Caribbean leaders, a feasible framework for trade and investment was reached between the US and CARICOM. In this latest in the spate of financial cooperation, the leaders also discussed a wide range of issues related to investment, security, energy and commerce.
The Caribbean, Facing Unique Challenges
At the post-conference, Biden announced that he was well aware of the ‘unique challenges’ being faced by Caribbean nations. He added that the Obama administration’s goal is, “Not simply growth, but growth that reaches everybody.”
Image Credit: http://jamaica-gleaner.com – Biden and Caribbean leaders
The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative
Not long ago, the Caribbean was the main route for drug smuggling to the US. Today, Central America, especially Mexico has taken over this role, however, the US still has interest in preserving the Caribbean’s progress.
The leaders discussed their combined efforts to combat drug trafficking and related transnational crimes. Such concerns are under a programme launched in 2009, the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, wherein over US$200 million has being committed so far.
It is common knowledge that the US releases convicted criminals to the Caribbean annually. Due to various immigration and customs restrictions, deportee information is withheld from home countries. At the meeting, officials repeated the plea for federal and state entities to release deportee information so that they may be better integrated into society upon arrival in their home nations.
Agreements with Trinidad and Tobago
Officials from the Trinidad and Tobago government have been invited to view US navy vessels that are currently being decommissioned. This will be in an effort to see if the vessels may be used to patrol the bordersof the Caribbean Sea. Trinidad has also ratified a status of forces agreement with Washington spelling out legal protection for the US forces upon temporary stays in the country.
Image Credit: http://www.caribjournal.com –Vice President Joe Biden and Trinidad’s PM KamlaPersad-Bissessar
-Renewable Energy Agreement
Biden further disclosed that Washington and the government of Trinidad and Tobago have recently signed a memorandum of understanding, (MOU) that will see both countries launching a renewable-energy research centre that will serve the entire region. “There’s probably no group of nations better suited to take advantage of renewable-energy possibilities than here in the Caribbean,” he said.
Biden’s trip to the region was slated to last for six days. After the Caribbean, Biden took a trip to Brazil.
By: Norvan Martin