Tuesday 20 August, 2019

Trump may harm CARICOM goals, says Foreign Minister

Left: Senator Maxine McClean, Barbados' Minister of Foreign Affairs chatting with ELma Gene Issac, Ambassador to CARICOM and the OECS for Saint Lucia

Left: Senator Maxine McClean, Barbados' Minister of Foreign Affairs chatting with ELma Gene Issac, Ambassador to CARICOM and the OECS for Saint Lucia

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean has warned CARICOM must watch closely and put measures in place to deal with newly adopted policies from the Trump-led US Administration.

Senator McClean delivered remarks at the opening ceremony of the Twentieth Meeting of the Council for Foreign Relations and Community Relations (COFCOR) at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Center lastThursday. COFCOR’s meeting brings together delegates and Foreign Ministers from CARICOM members states for a two-day conference to discuss issues pertinent to the region foreign policy.

Senator McClean told the delegates although there is no clear indication of US’ intention for developing new foreign policy specific to the region, some policies have the potential to harm CARICOM.

“As we meet there are no signs that the United States Administration has formulated a policy for engaging our region. Nonetheless, policies being adopted and implemented by the US Government are already having an impact on our sustainable development priorities and aspirations.”

She noted that US President Donald Trump appears to be straddling the fence on whether to withdraw his country from the Paris Agreement signed back in 2015, openly calling climate change a ‘hoax’ as in reported in various US media houses.

McClean said this is a priority issue for CARICOM member states as the region’s strategic development plans will be linked to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in conjunction with the Paris Agreement.  

“We also have to determine what effect the new stand of the United States Administration on climate change may have on the objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change and other efforts to mitigate climate change. This is a priority issue of CARICOM.”

Another area of concern for COFCOR, Senator McClean noted was the expected exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU) along with its impact on economics, trade and political relations. She said this can only be mitigated through ‘preparedness and coordinated efforts’ to shape the future relationship with the UK.

She added any changes to international policy will impact multilateral arrangements and she urged delegates to move with haste to devise a clear policy on engagement with the European Union on the exit of UK as well as the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP-EU) relationship after the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020.

Senator McClean has been selected to serve as the new Chairperson of COFCOR.

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