The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service, the Honourable Fred A. Mitchell, represented The Bahamas at a Meeting held virtually with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, CARICOM Secretary General Carla Barnett and CARICOM Foreign Ministers. The meetings was convened on 21st September 2021, in the margins of the 76th United Nations General Assembly. The Meeting was presided over by Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy R. Sherman and Assistant Secretary, Brian Nichols.
Major topics of discussion included natural disasters, climate change, COVID-19 response and recovery, vaccines, and other matters concerning the pandemic. Other matters mentioned included previous collaboration between CARICOM Member States and the United States of America and the COVID-19 Summit to be hosted by President Biden, Wednesday, 22 September 2021.
Interventions made by CARICOM Foreign Ministers included Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, Guyana, Jamaica, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, The Bahamas, Suriname, Grenada, Dominica, and Haiti. Ministers thanked the USA for all of its assistance to CARICOM Countries, especially for the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters and climate change.
In his intervention, the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas formally congratulated the CARICOM Secretary-General, H.E. Carla Barnett, on her appointment as the first female Secretary General of CARICOM. He also expressed support for the statements made by other CARICOM Member States, particularly with respect to the pandemic and its impact on the economies of the region.
The common positions emanating from the Meeting included: (1) the recognition that the ability of SIDS countries to recover is a challenge and using Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita as a criteria for development assistance needs to be reviewed; (2) the need for more structured engagement in future between the US and CARICOM Countries; (3) working together to address the difficulties faced by SIDS countries especially regarding climate change, natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic and equal access to vaccines; and (4) CARICOM Member States continuing to collaborate and speak in unity in order to stand strong with resilience.