‘Don’t forget us’

-regional leaders urge Clinton

Chairman of CARICOM’s Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) Samuel Condor has urged the United States not to forget their friends in the region as that country moves closer to election mode.

Condor, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of St Kitts and Nevis was speaking at the opening of a high level meeting between the Foreign Ministers of CARICOM and the Dominican Republic and the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Montego Bay, Jamaica on Wednesday, according to a release from the CARICOM Secretariat at  Turkeyen.

The call was made in the context of the need for progress with projects and programmes identified for action by the two sides particularly in the last two years.

Condor also pointed out that the situation in the US with unemployment had a direct influence in the Caribbean and was not limited to the effect on tourist arrivals in the region.

“Given that remittances to the region from relatives in the US are a critical element for a significant number of our citizens, the likely impact of a slowdown in those remittances include challenges in respect of poverty alleviation,” Condor added.

Meanwhile Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jamaica,  Dr Kenneth Baugh welcomed the Secretary of State and looked forward to the further crafting of the vision for the future “given the roadmap charted in Bridgetown last year.” Dr Baugh was referring to the previous high level meeting which was held in June 2010, in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Dr Baugh highlighted issues of social and economic opportunities, safety and security, democratic governance and human rights as important to both sides. He added: “We need to recognise the realities which we face regardless of size, economic or political weight.”

He called on the US to continue to support the CARICOM vision for the future with a clear understanding of the region’s specific needs and vulnerabilities and “the logic which drives our integration.”

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