Jagdeo to lead Caricom in meeting with Obama
…will push for commitment in drug fight
By Tusika Martin in Trinidad
President Bharrat Jagdeo will this morning present the Caribbean Community’s position to United States President, Barack Obama, as the Fifth Summit of the Americas which officially opened last evening, enters its second day.
Guyana’s Head of State plans to highlight Caricom’s position on cooperation in the fight against the drug trade, the issue of tax havens, the financial crisis and the reform of financial institutions.
President Jagdeo told the media that the region is looking forward to a renewed and more enlightened partnership.
Speaking outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port of Spain, yesterday, at the end of the Caricom forum, President Jagdeo said that it is obvious that different countries have different interests and will never be able to see ‘eye to eye’ on all. However in the spirit of goodwill, if there is an enlightened partnership through which people can recognize the good in each other, then things can be successful.
“There are common issues that are critical for our region and its people. We have to work together… What I am looking forward to from this meeting is a new partnership based on respect.”
He told reporters that there are several issues of interest to the hemisphere that have already been agreed upon in the Draft Declaration of Port of Spain.
These include the commitment by leaders to work towards closer cooperation on issues, including the environment, drug trafficking, ensuring prosperity for people, education and health care.
“The key thing now is to single out a few issues and see if we can find practical solutions for these that can move our hemisphere forward. “
Responding to a question about tension between President Chavez and the United States President, the Guyanese leader said that both Presidents have spoken about partnership and improving relations with the US.
“So, I am hoping that that materializes…They are both important countries in our hemisphere.”
President Jagdeo told the international media that he is optimistic that the talks between the American President and the Venezuelan President will result in positive relations.
Speaking about climate change and its effects, the Guyanese leader used the opportunity again to advocate for strong agreement in Copenhagen late this year.
“We all need to commit to a strong agreement in Copenhagen. That agreement is critical in setting the framework for the resolution of climate change problems that we face in this hemisphere.”
Of particular interest to the Region, he said, would be the issue of adaptation for countries that have low lying coast especially those that are small island states.
“There has to be adequate funds in that agreement to provide for the adaptation needs for these countries…because we have large tracks of forest in our region, we are arguing that we can play a role in reducing the effects of climate change.”
Therefore, he said, the avoided deforestation, and, in some cases, reforestation initiatives should be a critical part of the Copenhagen agreement.