Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith at the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Caribbean Community (Caricom)
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, has highlighted the correlation between access to finance for development and the effectiveness of countries in the region in mitigating the impact of climate change , the Covid-19 pandemic, the negotiation of alternative energy transitions and food security.
The Minister was speaking at the meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the Central American Integration System (SICA) in Panama City on Tuesday, May 3, as the two deputy regions seek to strengthen their alliances, with a view to developing a coordinated and strategic response to issues of common interest to both regions.
On the specific issue of energy security, Johnson Smith said: “Ensuring an affordable energy transition is critical and an issue that has become even more relevant following the conflict in Ukraine. From both a market and climate perspective, reliance on fossil fuels is problematic, hence the importance now for the region to cooperate to secure unprecedented levels of investment in the energy transition.
“Given that government resources are limited, countries like ours need to do more to attract private sector funding, so that public funding can be better used to leverage projects and reduce risk, allowing us to achieve our development goals,” added the Minister.
The meeting, a three-level engagement between Caricom-European Union (EU), SICA-Caricom-EU and SICA-Caricom, included a meeting with HE Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security and Vice-President of the European Commission, who called on the countries of the region “to be more united than ever”.
Hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama, HE Erika Mouynes, the Caricom-SICA meeting followed the fourth Caricom-SICA Summit, held in March 2022 in San Pedro, Belize. The Caricom countries present at the meeting were: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad -and-Tobago, alongside the Secretary General of Caricom, Dr. Carla Barnett. The SICA Member States present were Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama.