Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, had “fruitful discussions” with U.S. Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters, on Friday.
Pompeo, who is currently on a tour of the Western Hemisphere, met with Ambassador LaRocque after wrapping up his official business with the Guyana government on Friday morning.
In a subsequent tweet, Pompeo described the meeting with the CARICOM SG as “important”. During the engagement, the U.S. Secretary of State thanked CARICOM for its support for democracy in Guyana, which helped ensure a credible outcome of the March 2, 2020 elections.
CARICOM had fielded a team of scrutineers to monitor the recount exercise, which revealed that the PPP/C won the elections with over 15,000 votes.
The U.S. Secretary of State himself had played a prominent role in pushing for democracy in Guyana during that tumultuous period. In fact, he had announced visa restrictions back in July against Guyanese officials responsible for undermining democracy here.
Nevertheless, Pompeo asked for CARICOM’s continued support in speaking out against regional threats to democracy during Friday’s meeting.
“The Secretary and the Secretary-General also discussed the importance of regional security and the U.S. Caribbean Resilience Partnership, which assists in planning for natural disasters in the region,” Principal Deputy Spokesperson of the State Department, Cale Brown, said.
See below for a full statement from CARICOM today on the meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State:
Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque had fruitful discussions with United States Secretary of State Mr Michael Pompeo at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters, Turkeyen, Guyana on Friday 18 September.
The discussions included exchanges on the Covid-19 Pandemic and the severe economic fall-out being experienced by CARICOM Member States, the renewal of the Caribbean Basin Trade and Partnership Act (CBPTA), the de-risking of regional banks by US financial institutions and co-operation under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).
The Secretary-General took the opportunity to thank Mr Pompeo for the response by him and US Treasury Secretary Mr Steve Mnuchin to the issues raised in a letter to them by the then Chair of the Community, the Honourable Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados earlier this year. The Community sought US support for initiatives to assist in combatting among other things, the economic fall-out from the pandemic.
Ambassador LaRocque emphasised the need for CARICOM Member States to have access to concessional development financing which is denied to them due to the criteria applied of GDP per capita and the classification of Member States as middle income in that context. This access, he noted, was critical as the Region sought to emerge from the grave economic crisis brought on by Covid-19 as well as to build resilience to natural disasters.