NASSAU, BAHAMAS – As CARICOM leaders are concerned about the escalation of violence in Haiti, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis will be a part of a CARICOM prime ministerial fact-finding mission to Haiti to inform regional leaders on the situation in that country, outlined a statement issued Sunday from the Office of the Prime Minister.
The fact-finding mission will also include the prime ministers of St. Lucia and Jamaica.
The decision was taken at the Caribbean Community’s 40th annual Heads of Government Meeting held in Gros Islet, St. Lucia, 3-5 July.
The Prime Minister returned to The Bahamas on Saturday, 6 July following discussions with regional leaders that covered such issues as tourism, finance, blacklisting, the Caribbean economy, and the Small Island Development States (SIDS) Resilience Foundation.
On the issue of blacklisting, Sunday’s statement outlined that CARICOM leaders agreed to refine their strategy and approach by making greater efforts to secure a more collaborative relationship with the European Union and the United States on tax governance and related matters.
According to the issued statement, Caribbean leaders also heard from chairman of the CARICOM Commission on the Economy (CCE), Professor Avinash Persaud, who stressed the need for CARICOM countries to develop more sustainable, resilient, inclusive and equitable development.
The statement further outlined that Prime Minister Minnis agreed that governments must find ways to empower people, by improving access to capital and assets.
“[The Bahamas] is on the right track when it comes to providing free education at the tertiary level, but we must find a way for smaller companies to access more opportunities to grow their businesses,” said the Prime Minister.
“A focus of my government, moving forward, will be to ensure that smaller companies have access to contracts that were previously monopolized by larger companies.
“The only way smaller companies can grow is if they are given the opportunity to bid for larger contracts. This is necessary if our people are to advance from poverty, to middle class, to wealth.”
The Prime Minister, while in St. Lucia, also held bilateral talks on climate change and early education with the Prime Minister of Norway, Her Excellency Erna Solberg, who also addressed CARICOM leaders as a Special Guest of the Meeting.
“The Prime Minister took part in a working dinner between Heads of Government, United Nations Secretary-General, His Excellency Antonio Guterres, who addressed the opening ceremony on 3 July, and Prime Minister Solberg,” the statement said.
“The Prime Minister’s Delivery Units of The Bahamas and St. Lucia also took part in a learning exchange.”
Prime Minister Minnis led a delegation to the conference which included Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Darren Henfield; Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar; The Bahamas Ambassador to CARICOM, His Excellency Reuben Rahming; Executive Chairman, Water & Sewerage Corporation Mr. Adrian Gibson, MP; Senior Policy Advisor, Mr. Joshua Sears; COO of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Mrs. Viana Gardiner; and Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Mrs. Joy Jibrilu.