THIS WEEK IN THE BAHAMAS BY ELCOTT COLEBY
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Prime Minister Christie addresses youth and crime at CARICOM – US Summit
pills times;”> “Mr. President, here colleague Heads of Government, the three themes of today’s Meeting, Competitiveness, Security and Energy, could not be more relevant.” With that established theme, Prime Minister Christie outlined CARICOM’s expectations and objectives regarding these critical issues. He delivered the region’s statement at the CARICOM – US Summit in Kingston Jamaica on Thursday, 9th April 2015.
Reiterating the proposition that country competitiveness was intrinsically linked to human capital and youth development, the Prime Minister said that CARICOM is “dedicated to building the competitiveness which would serve to assist us in maintaining the progress we have made in the areas of human and social development while providing much needed jobs, particularly for our youth. That is where our partnership with your country is critical.”
“They are the future of this region” continued Mr. Christie, referring to the region’s youth. “I speak on behalf of us all when I say there is no more compelling mission than we have today than to help to secure their future; to dispel their sense of hopelessness; to fix the joblessness; to ensure that they get a good education; to help them become a part of the formal economies of our countries.”
Turning his attention to crime, a consequence of youth unemployment and underdevelopment, the Bahamas Prime Minister said “we cannot surrender them to the negative forces of crime and war in far flung climes. If this meeting produces anything today, it must be to ensure the future of our young people. If we fail in that mission, we do so at our peril.”
As regards the threat of transnational criminality to regional security, stability and prosperity, Mr. Christie extolled the value of continued bilateral cooperation in the face of this common and regional threat:
“There is no doubt that crime and security rank high among the principal threats and obstacles to such growth. We therefore value highly the co-operation and the collaboration with the United States in the area of security. We look forward to its continuation. In my own country, as the closest offshore country to the United States, the benefits of security cooperation are obvious to our people; the fight against transnational crime including illegal migration is urgent, the importation of guns from America wreaks havoc and needs to be stopped. That is but one country’s example of the sense of urgency we feel on crime and security across the region. More must be done in a practical way to stop the crime. Let us work together to build a zone of peace; to stop crime; to end the violence; promote our young and ensure our common futures.”
The CARICOM Heads of Government and President Obama headed to Panama City on Thursday evening for the Summit of the Americas where a United States President will meet a Cuban President for the first time in more than fifty years as the two leaders continue to normalize their relations. The Bahamas delegation includes National Security Minister Hon. Bernard Nottage; Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Fred Mitchell and Labour Minister Hon. D. Shane Gibson.
President Obama announces new initiatives on regional energy
Speaking at the CARICOM-US Summit in Jamaica on Thursday, United States President Barak Obama reiterated his country’s support for energy security for the region. His announcement was essentially a continuation of the dialogue that started when CARICOM Heads of Government met with US Vice President Joseph Biden a few weeks ago in Washington DC.
“Today we are announcing new partnerships including a new fund to mobilize private investment in clean energy projects in the Caribbean and in Central America and I’m confident that given the commitment of the CARICOM countries and the US commitment, that this is an issue in which we can make great strides over the short term and even greater strides over the long term.
Sandy Bottom/Armed Forces assist with CARICOM – US Summit security
As expected in the era of post 911, security was exceptionally tight during the CARICOM-US Summit this week in Jamaica, so much so that the government of Jamaica enlisted the assistance of the Bahamas government to shore up their ports and borders generally as well as to put more boots on the ground to strengthen personal security. The HMBS Sir Durward Knowles, one of the new vessels purchased by the government under the $232 million Sandy Bottom project was sent to Jamaica to assist with security as well as other personnel. Explaining how one of our armed forces and security infrastructure were assisting a regional partner was National Security Minister the Hon. Bernard J. Nottage.
“The HMBS Durward Knowles is here in Jamaica because the Jamaicans (the Jamaican government) asked whether or not we would be kind enough to assist them with the protection of the borders; follow the heads of countries that are here – and of course President Obama who is also here – so this is a major invitation for us” said Minister Nottage. Congratulations to the RBDF as the region called on you because of your proven competence and skills set.