Antigua and Barbuda, along with 14 other Caricom member states, will be traveling to Canada next week to attend the “first Canada-Caricom Summit on Canadian soil” and meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The summit will be co-chaired by Trudeau and the current Chair of Caricom, Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit. The event is scheduled to take place from October 17 to 19.
The summit is being held to celebrate Caricom’s 50th anniversary and to highlight Canada’s strong ties with the Caribbean.
It will provide an opportunity for leaders to strengthen cooperation and chart a better future for both regions.
PM Trudeau previously met with his Caricom counterparts in the Bahamas during the 44th Heads of Government meeting, hosted by Bahamas PM Philip Davis and his government. During this meeting, Trudeau addressed several issues that they needed to tackle collectively, including the crisis in Haiti, climate action, and opportunities for socio-economic development.
Trudeau announced $10 million to support the International Office on Migration to strengthen the protection and resilience of Haitian women and children along the Haiti-Dominican Republic border and in migrants’ places of origin. He also announced an additional $12.3 million in humanitarian assistance.
Under the summit’s theme of “Strategic Partners for a Resilient Future,” Trudeau and Caricom leaders will discuss shared priorities, such as building inclusive and sustainable economies, increasing trade and investment, and promoting multilateral collaboration.
They will also work together to fight climate change and explore ways to improve access to financing for small island developing states in the Caribbean.
Trudeau will highlight the importance of reinforcing democratic values, promoting human rights, and strengthening coordination on regional security, including responding to the ongoing security, political, and humanitarian crises in Haiti.
The summit will also provide an opportunity for Caricom leaders to engage with Canadian business leaders and investors to further commercial opportunities in the region.
Antigua and Barbuda will be represented by non-resident High Commissioner to Canada, Sir Ronald Sanders, who also serves as the country’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American States (OAS).
It is unclear whether Sir Ronald or any other potential member of the delegation will take the opportunity to advance some of the government’s bilateral concerns with Canada, immigration perhaps being the most pressing issue.