The shared interests between Sweden and the Caribbean promises to be strengthened following last week’s presentation of credentials by Claes Hammar, Sweden’s plenipotentiary representative to the Caribbean Community (Caricom).
During a ceremony at the Caricom Secretariat, Secretary General Irwin LaRocque noted that the Hammar’s accreditation to the community was a welcome one.
“Your accreditation comes after years of building relations with members of the community through the establishment of honorary consulates in each Caricom member state and the signing of tax information exchange agreements,” LaRocque said.
LaRocque added that Sweden was also a member of the northern countries with which the community has been engaging regularly in the margins of the annual United Nations General Assembly.
The secretary general also pointed to Sweden’s commitment to involve itself in areas close to the community’s heart through its contribution to a monument in honour of the victims of slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
In his address, Hammar said that following Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010, Sweden provided support to the country. He further stated that support to the nation will continue following a visit he paid to the Caribbean country last month.
Climate change was noted as a shared area of importance between Sweden and Caricom and LaRocque expressed hopes of further collaboration in this capacity. “The effects of climate change on our environment threatens our very existence,” LaRocque opined.
LaRocque also noted the benefits the forged partnership could have on the less privileged. “There are areas in which a significant amount of work needs to be done to give those less privileged a chance at a better life and raise their standard of living,” he said.
“There are distinct possibilities for us to work together to improve, for example, the prospects of our youth, to rescale the large cohort of the unemployed and help build the human resource capital so necessary for sustainable development.”
Though Sweden has been accredited in each Caricom member state, Hammar shared that his accreditation to Caricom afforded a new opportunity to Sweden.
“We see this as a historic and significant step in our wish to deepen our relationships with this important region,” Hammar said.
The foreign policy of Sweden aims to actively contribute to freedom, peace and reconciliation around the world and works towards human rights, democracy and sustainable development, Hammar said.