Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque had “fruitful” discussions with United States Secretary of State Mr Michael Pompeo at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters, Turkeyen, Guyana on Friday 18 September.
This was confirmed by a tweet on the account of Mike Pompeo, a prolific tweeter.
Important meeting with @CARICOMORG Secretary-General LaRocque. I commended the Caribbean Community and Common Market for its support for a democratic resolution in Guyana and discussed ways we can work together to improve resiliency against natural disasters. #USCaribbean2020 pic.twitter.com/zlddvLjs3u
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 18, 2020
The discussions apparently included exchanges of ideas on the Covid-19 Pandemic and the severe economic fall-out being experienced by CARICOM Member States, the renewal of the Caribbean Basin Trade and Partnership Act (CBPTA), the de-risking of regional banks by US financial institutions and co-operation under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).
The Secretary-General took the opportunity to thank Pompeo for the response by him and US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to the issues raised in a letter to them by the then Chair of the Community, the Honourable Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados earlier this year. The Community had sought US support for initiatives to assist in combatting the economic effects of the pandemic.
Ambassador LaRocque emphasized the need for CARICOM Member States to have access to concessional development financing which is denied to them due to the criteria applied of GDP per capita and the classification of Member States as middle income in that context.
This access, he noted, was critical as the Region sought to emerge from the grave economic crisis brought on by Covid-19 as well as to build resilience to natural disasters.
Pompeo, who is currently on a tour of the Western Hemisphere, met with Ambassador LaRocque after wrapping up his official business with the Guyana government on Friday morning.
During the engagement, the U.S. Secretary of State thanked CARICOM for its support for democracy in Guyana, which helped ensure a credible outcome of the March 2, 2020 elections whose result was in limbo for several months after the result was too close to call.