BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 9TH 2013 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas is expected to be among regional leaders to meet with United States Vice President, the Hon. Joseph Biden in Trinidad and Tobago later this month.
Mr. Biden announced Wednesday that he will visit Trinidad and Tobago during the week of May 26 as part of his travel in the region and said he looks forward to meeting with the Prime Minister of that country, the Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Mr. Biden also said he is eager to meet with other Caribbean leaders, whom Persad-Bissessar has invited to travel to Port of Spain, to discuss inclusive economic growth, development, energy and security cooperation throughout the Caribbean basin.
A release from the White House, forwarded by the US Embassy in Port of Spain, stated that Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will travel to Brazil, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
“In each country, the Vice-President will meet with key leaders to discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues.
“In Brazil, he looks forward to the opportunity to meet with President Rousseff and Vice-President Temer and discuss ways to deepen our economic and commercial partnership and further our engagement on the broad array of bilateral, regional, and global issues that connect our two countries.”
“In Colombia, the Vice-President will meet with President Santos to build on security relations and focus on ways to further the prosperity of our two countries.
“In Trinidad and Tobago, the Vice-President looks forward to meeting with Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar as well as leaders of other Caribbean countries, whom Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar has graciously offered to invite. This trip will be an important chance to discuss our collective efforts to promote economic growth and development, access to energy and our ongoing collaboration on citizen security,” the release said.
Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar said in a statement she welcomes the visit of Biden and his wife to Trinidad and Tobago. The Prime Minister confirmed that she had invited regional heads to discuss collective efforts to promote economic growth, energy interdependence and development in the region.
US Chargé d’Affaires Thomas Smitham said, “The visit of Vice-President Biden is recognition on the part of the US government of the importance of our partnership with the Caribbean region. We look forward to a warm and productive visit in Trinidad and Tobago with Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar and to engagement in Port of Spain with other Caribbean leaders. This is an excellent opportunity to reflect on what we have accomplished together since President Obama’s visit in 2009 (for the Fifth Summit of the Americas), and look ahead to continued cooperation. And we know Vice-President Biden will enjoy a very warm welcome from the people of T&T.”
The visit of the US Vice-President follows the visit of Persad-Bissessar to Washington in April during which she discussed with US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns several matters of critical interest to Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) including the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, assistance in the fight against the illegal drug trade and the process of criminal deportations from the US.
In keeping with the decision taken by the Caricom Conference in February in Haiti, Persad-Bissessar, who will assume the chairmanship of Caricom on July 1, also discussed the convening of a Caricom-US Summit.
The visit is seen as part of “the continued strengthening of diplomatic relations between the United States and Trinidad and Tobago”. Late last month, Persad-Bissessar visited Washington, where she held talks with US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.