Canada seeks to improve relations with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Canadian Minister of International Development, Harjit Sajjan, visited Jamaica and Barbados from January 9 to January 14. He stated that the purpose of his trip was to explore opportunities for strengthening partnerships and to continue building relationships in the region.
Harjit Sajjan met with Kerrie D. Symmonds, Barbados’ Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, to discuss regional development issues and opportunities.
Their discussion centred on the economic recovery challenges faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS), climate finance, and collaborative solutions between Canada, Barbados and CARICOM to address the humanitarian crisis in Haiti.
On his official Facebook page, Sajjan posted photos of his tour of the site where the regional logistics hub in Barbados will be built to support communities most vulnerable to climate disasters.
Meanwhile, Minister Sajjan met with government officials to discuss shared priorities, including justice, human rights, gender equality, and health, including the COVID-19 vaccination campaign during his visit to Jamaica,
“We have a very important relationship with Jamaica and also within the Caribbean. This is an opportunity for us to look at how we can work together.” Sajjan emphasized that his focus is on climate resilience and disaster response.
“As you know, this area (the Caribbean) is prone to a lot of hurricanes and disasters. So it [is] one area that I [will] be focusing on and looking at the response [to see] how we can also assist,” as he indicated.
Sajjan stated that a significant outcome of his trip was the opportunity to learn the country’s vision through meetings with government representatives.
He added, “This allows us to have a conversation and offer our advice on various things we can support.”
Sajjan also visited Jamaica project sites and met with beneficiaries who have experienced agricultural expansion under projects implemented by WUSC Caribbean, with funding from Global Affairs Canada.
The discussions also highlighted the climate-smart approaches utilised to earn an income from agriculture, while using agricultural practices that preserve the environment. Women and Youth farmers also shared their successful journeys on these projects.