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Canadian PM Strengthens Ties With The Caribbean; Announces New Support For Haiti

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Photo credit: PMO.

Canadian PM Strengthens Ties With The Caribbean; Announces New Support For Haiti

OTTAWA, Ontario (Friday, February 17, 2023) — Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, concluded his visit, yesterday, to Nassau, The Bahamas — where he attended, as a special guest — the three-day 44th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM that ended today.

While there, he met with leaders of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to continue advancing support for the Haitian people, amidst the crisis in their country, while also strengthening ties with the region, driving economic growth, creating good jobs, and fighting climate change.

The Prime Minister worked closely with leaders to help address the political, security, and humanitarian crisis in Haiti. He announced $10 million in new funding to protect Haitian women and children along the Haiti-Dominican Republic border.

Canada has also committed $12.3 million to address the food and nutrition needs of vulnerable populations; help meet the safety and emergency sexual and reproductive health needs of vulnerable women and girls; prevent and respond to gender-based violence; and provide water, sanitation and hygiene to address and prevent cholera.

Prime Minister Trudeau also announced that Canada has imposed additional sanctions against two Haitian elites, who provide financial or operational support to gangs and are inflicting violence on the Haitian people.

He added that Canada will continue to provide support to bolster the capacity of the Haitian National Police to respond to the crisis, including by delivering three additional Haitian-purchased Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. Canada announced that it will deploy two Royal Canadian Navy Kingston-Class ships to Haiti in the coming weeks, in response to Haiti’s request for assistance as violence continues to escalate in the country.

As a steadfast partner of Haiti, Canada will continue to support an inclusive political dialogue in Haiti, lay the foundation for free and fair elections, and help Haitians restore peace and security in their country. 

During his bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Haiti, Trudeau urged Prime Minister Henry to bolster political consensus around the High Transitional Council.

In Nassau, Prime Minister Trudeau also announced $44.8 million in new initiatives to help support CARICOM in addressing the climate crisis, by protecting more biodiversity, and improving climate resilience and disaster preparedness. Canada will continue to advocate for small island and low-lying states in the Caribbean, who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change like rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

The Prime Minister also announced $1.8 million in new initiatives to help tackle escalating regional security challenges, including by targeting illicit drugs, the opioid crisis, irregular migration, and strengthening border and maritime security.

Prime Minister Trudeau also announced $11.48 million in new initiatives, including $2.5 million in Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) services for Indigenous people and other communities residing in the remote hinterland lacking access to quality health care and $8.98 million to the Empowering the Next Generation: Agency and Gender Equality for Youth (ENGAGE) project to support the foundation of a more empowered and equal generation of young people in Guyana.

While at the Conference, Prime Minister Trudeau signaled Canada’s commitment to keep working with the region, and revealed that Canada will be taking on the role of Chair of Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Board of Governors in June 2023 and will host the Board’s Annual Meeting in Canada in 2024.

Trudeau met with the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, and discussed their ambitions for mobilizing the international community to make progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in their roles as co-chairs of the UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocates group.

The prime ministers also talked about Mottley’s Bridgetown Initiative to modernize the global financial architecture. Prime Minister Trudeau said that Canada would continue to champion the interests of CARICOM and Small Island and Low-Lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS), particularly on shared interests such as climate resilience and access to concessional finance. Prime Minister Mottley thanked Prime Minister Trudeau for Canada’s leadership in helping to strengthen financial governance in the Caribbean region.

He also met with the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness and they discussed strengthening the bilateral relationship and their shared priorities, which include clean economic growth, climate resilience and biodiversity, access to concessional finance, disaster preparedness, and regional defence and security cooperation.

As co-chairs of the United Nations Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond Initiative, Holness and Trudeau highlighted the importance of mobilizing international cooperation on financing for development to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“Canada and CARICOM are united in longstanding partnerships and shared priorities. There are a lot of challenges we need to work together on: supporting the people of Haiti, delivering climate action and improving resilience, finding new economic opportunities for our businesses and workers, and above all, putting people at the centre of everything we do,” the Prime Minister said.

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