(CMC) – The United States has sought to re-assure the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping that it is working with the 15-member integration grouping to find solutions to urgent challenges facing the region.
“We’re working together in our region and beyond to try to find solutions to urgent challenges, to include climate, to include food security, energy security,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken before meeting at the State Department with Guyana President Irfaan Ali.
“We’re working on issues together, and I think coming out of the Summit of the Americas, in particular, there is a lot more energy in those efforts, including some things that we’re working on very actively right now that I know we’ll be sharing in the weeks ahead.
“I would note that, quite remarkably, I think something like 86 per cent of Guyana is forest. It’s a remarkable contributor in that way alone to the challenges that we face with climate change, but the United States is very eager to continue to deepen and strengthen the partnership that we have on all of these issues and more.”
The US Secretary of State noted that Georgetown is also the seat of CARICOM, “and this for us is a very important and vital institution, one which – with which President Biden, Vice President Harris had, I think, a very significant and important engagement at the Summit of the Americas.
“So, I look forward to continuing the conversations that we all started there and to deepening the work that we’ve already begun between our countries,” Blinken said.
Ali, who is leading a high-powered delegation that includes his Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd, said he was “very pleased to be here at a very important time in the development of Guyana, as we seek to further strengthen our relationship with the United States, who we view as an important strategic partner.
“We just came out of a very successful Summit of the Americas in which we identified some critical issues for CARICOM as a region – that is food security, energy security, financing, and the issue of climate change,” he said.
Ali said, in all these areas, Guyana is “already providing leadership, and we are committing ourselves to continue to provide that leadership.
“We are pursuing an energy path that seeks to balance our newfound natural resource of oil and gas, but we are not doing that at the detriment of our credentials on the environment and climate change,” he said.
“As you rightfully pointed out, our forests stores 19.5 kilotons of carbon. We are a net zero country and we look forward to discussing how jointly we can continue to work on the issues of food security, climate, financing, working in the region in terms of debt crisis facing CARICOM, but, more importantly, finding a balanced development strategy, and doing so staying true to the value system, principles that both of us believe so strongly in – that is democratic society where transparency, accountability, and strong governance support for the development of Guyana.
“So, I am very pleased to continue this conversation we started at the Summit of the Americas and to work with you on strengthening our partnership,” the Guyanese president said.