Washington, DC – Caribbean Legislative Week, one of the main features of the annual observance of Caribbean American Heritage Month opened on June 3 in Washington DC with a critical agenda of issues up for discussion and decision. Meetings are scheduled at the US Congress, the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) and at the Organization of American States (OAS).
The Key Issues
Extension beyond 2020 of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) and the Trade Partnership Agreement; implementation of key provisions of the US/Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act; and issues associated with regional security, allocation of sugar quotas from the region; de-risking and correspondent banking, market access for fruits and vegetables and energy, are among the critical issues to be discussed, said Wesley Kirton, Co-Chair of the Private Sector Council at the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) which has organized the week’s activities.
A number of key US and Caribbean government and private sector officials are listed to participate in various meetings including the Legislative Forum in the US House of Representatives on Wednesday at which a number of Congresspersons and officials of the US State Department will participate.
The forum opens with a private roundtable breakfast involving 35 officials from both the US and the Caribbean. This breakfast, hosted by Core and Main, a US company, is intended to provide a forum for the frank exchange of views and the identification of possible solutions to some of the challenges in the business and economic relations between the US and the Caribbean.
This will be followed by the formal opening of the Forum with addresses by Sir Ronald Sanders, Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the US and the OAS on behalf of the Caribbean region and Ms. Katherine Dub, Director of the Caribbean Affairs, US State Department.
Plenary sessions on trade and investment are also slated for Wednesday morning at which panelists will be drawn from JAMPRO, The Guyanese American Chamber of Commerce; the Trinidad and Tobago and the US private sector.
Chairman of the West Indies Rum & Spirits Association (WIRSPA) and of Guyana’s Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) will be the keynote speaker at lunch.
A plenary devoted to security matters will form part of the day’s deliberations with Lt. Col. Michael Jones of CARICOM Impacs and Capt. Gerry Gouveia, chair of the governance and security committee of the Guyana Private Sector Commission among the main speakers.
On Thursday the deliberations move to the US Senate and later to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).