Friends from across the Americas and the Caribbean, good evening.
What a pleasure to be with you all tonight, as we celebrate the time-honoured relationship between the United States and the nations of CARICOM.
It is no secret that ours is a shared history and that our tomorrows are closely intertwined.
More and more, the challenges we face are refusing to confine ourselves to the boundaries of nation and region. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly apparent that what happens in one country can have rippling effects on the entire hemisphere.
But let us not treat this reality as an excuse to sequester ourselves. Rather, let us work expeditiously to bridge the gaps between us and strengthen durable partnerships.
Together, we are better equipped to confront the existential threats of climate change; together, we are better equipped to pursue a people-centred approach to development; and together, we are better equipped to address social inequality in all its forms.
Unity will be the key to cultivating a just, equitable, and prosperous hemisphere.
We have already seen the power of cooperation proven by the success of CARICOM nations in lobbying for a loss and damage fund at COP27. We have also seen it in the security partnership between the United States and The Bahamas, an enterprise that has endured since our independence in 1973.
Most recently, that partnership saw the donation of 20 new hybrid SUVs to The Bahamas – a contribution that will go a long way in assisting the crime-fighting efforts of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. On behalf of the Caribbean Community, I also acknowledge the 5.5 million Pfizer vaccines donated by the US in 2021, at the request of the Chair of CARICOM Dr. the Hon. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
For those gifts and many others, we say thank you. And we look forward to future collaboration not only in the realm of security, but trade, health, and human rights.
As we, the leaders of CARICOM, zealously pursue the sustainable development of our respective territories, know that the continued investment of the United States will go a long way in safeguarding harmony and strengthening resilience within our region. Collaboration in the areas of economic diversification, clean energy transition, and climate resilience is especially welcomed.
My friends, let me say once more, we stand to gain so much by coming together. The fabric of our societies is already interwoven. Our Caribbean sons and daughters are going on to do great things in the United States. Having just witnessed the immense talent of Rihanna at the Super Bowl halftime show, I think it’s safe to say that the Caribbean-American connection is an impressive one, capable of astounding not merely at the level of the hemisphere, but the entire globe.
Moving forward, I would be delighted to see new opportunities emerge for deepening cultural and educational exchange between the Caribbean and the United States. The future is certainly ripe for fresh enterprises in the sectors of tourism, education, and the orange economy, so let us innovate and endeavour to strengthen the existing ties between our regions.
In closing, I extend my heartfelt appreciation to the United States for its ongoing commitment to supporting the nations of CARICOM as we build a more secure and prosperous future for our people. I look forward to sharing in the fruits of our labour and I trust ours is a partnership that will carry on promoting peace, stability, and wellbeing in the Americas.