NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Philip Davis said that he is seeking to expand collaboration with member countries across the region as incoming chairman of CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market) this year.
In a New Year’s message, Davis said more pressure would be put on external entities for smaller developing countries to be treated fairly.
“There are some other initiatives that we have on the board that we as a collective community have to put our shoulders and voices behind to ensure that we, as small island developing states get our fair share of what the renewable market has to offer,” he said.
Davis expressed confidence he gained momentum for this effort at the Conference of Parties (COP 27) last November.
He added that the government is aiming to take on the issue of CARICOM getting its fair share in the international sphere through strengthening collaboration with member countries.
“We saw that by collaborating here during August, with respect to what I call a pre-COP 26/27 meeting were able to get a lot of things done at COP 27, like loss and damage,” Davis continued.
“And we are working closer, ever closer to reworking what I call the model for accessing consecratory loans and grants for small island states like ourselves who are being devastated because of the effects of climate change.”
The prime minister also described the collaboration as urgent and necessary as members of the small block of countries grapple with post-pandemic global economic impacts, and the need to expand on technological development.
“Working alone, none of us will be able to overcome the existential threat posed by climate change. Working alone, none of us will be able to fully seize the opportunities of the new world order, where old certainties are fast disappearing, and new technologies favour the agile and the clever.
“We all share common histories— trials, traumas, and triumphs. As regional neighbours, we have, through the years, encountered many of the same hurdles, beat down the same walls, and conquered the same challenges. And indeed, we owe it to ourselves and each other to recognise that we are and always have been in this tog,” Davis said.
Additionally, with both CARICOM and The Bahamas celebrating their 50th anniversaries this year, Davis noted the need to “build on the foundations of the last 50 years”.
Food security, renewable energy, and climate change advocacy were also named as major priorities.
Davis explained that the overall community was on track to reduce food imports by 25 percent by 2025 and embrace greener alternatives to fossil fuel-based energy.
“We will also continue to work closely and vigorously with other Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS) to continue our advocacy on the many issues relating to climate change, which impact us all. In particular, we will aggressively push for the ‘Loss and Damage Fund’ agreed at COP27 in Egypt, to be made fully operational,” Davis said.
Davis also pledged support to assist Haiti as CARICOM chair.
“We are determined to help Haiti resolve its challenges,” he said.
“The beleaguered people of Haiti desperately need respite from the political, economic, and security crises which have engulfed the country. We will continue to support all stakeholders to craft a Haitian-led solution.
“For CARICOM, the resolution of the immediate crisis will be a first step towards the crafting of a long-term sustainable development plan for Haiti,” the prime minister stated.
Davis gave well wishes to the member states and vowed to put his support behind building up the well-being of the region.
“This New Year holds much promise for our Caribbean Community. Over the next 50 years, we will continue to seek to strengthen our partnership, so that the lives of all of our peoples are made better,” Davis said.
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