On Wednesday Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, one of Florida’s two representatives to the US Senate, addressed Caribbean American Diaspora Leaders at the 19th Annual Caribbean American Legislative Forum that is taking place from June 21t-22 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Rubio participated in a roundtable discussion at the Senate Dirksen Building,
South Florida’s Roxanne Valies, a vice-president of the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), a delegate to the Forum, said Rubio gave assurance that the Trump administration will support the U.S./Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act (HR 4939), signed into law by President Obama in December 2016.
Senator Rubio is chairman of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere which deals with matters concerning U.S. relations with countries in the Western Hemisphere, including the Caribbean region.
This subcommittee’s responsibilities include: terrorism and non-proliferation; crime and illicit narcotics; U.S. foreign assistance programs; and the promotion of U.S. trade and exports.
The US/Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act prioritizes U.S.-Caribbean relationship and requires the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to submit to Congress a multi-year strategy which among other things, outline an approach to: broaden engagement with the Caribbean community in the US; partner with governments of the Caribbean region to improve citizen security and reduce drug trafficking; improve diplomatic engagement with governments of the Caribbean; and assist Caribbean countries in the diversification of their economies.
Delegates were presented with the draft of the multi-year strategy prepared by the Department of State at the meeting with Rubio.
Rubio pointed out that the US is placing emphasis on the region and keeping an eye on potential terrorist activity and the regions security in general. He further said as a US senator from Florida he has a keen interest in positive US-Caribbean relations.
Trinidadian-American Jennifer Carroll, former Lieutenant Governor Of Florida chaired Wednesdays roundtable discussion. She said it is imperative that the Caribbean Diaspora be engaged with both Houses of US Government, and was “pleased to be part of the vanguard ushering in this relationship with Senator Rubio.”
Campaign Chair for National Caribbean American Heritage Month. Dr. Claire Nelson, founder and president of ICS said, “We were thrilled to have Senator Rubio address us as we seek to advance the implementation of Public Law 114-291. Florida shares the border of the Caribbean Sea with 36 Caribbean nations, so dialogue with one of the leading policy makers representing Florida is critical to our interests.”