British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, attended the 9th UK-Caribbean Ministerial Forum in The Bahamas last weekend for talks on trade and investment, security and justice reform and global challenges like climate change. He was accompanied by Minister for the Caribbean, James Duddridge.
Taking place every two years, the Forum is a high-level dialogue on bilateral, regional
and international issues between the UK and the Caribbean community. At the talks, the Governments of the United Kingdom and the Caribbean reaffirmed the special relationship that exists between them.
The visit follows on from a series of activities recently carried out by the UK to support the Caribbean, including:
• supporting a conference in the Caribbean last month with representatives from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) on how to harness the economic opportunities presented by the recent influx of sargassum seaweed in the region.
• providing a £5.6 million package to enable sustainable “blue” (maritime related) growth in Commonwealth Small Island Developing States, including the Caribbean, during 2016-17.
• committing to supporting the Caribbean in facing the global health challenge of Zika virus, by first establishing a bespoke project team of UK public health experts to work with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
The visit is part of the Foreign Secretary’s Latin America tour, which has included stops in Colombia and Cuba, and concluded in Mexico.
Notes for Editors
1. The UK Caribbean Forum was established in the margins of the 1997 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to signal closer engagement between the UK and the Caribbean, with the first meeting held in Nassau in 1998. The Forum was last held in London in 2014 and before that in Grenada in 2012.
2. The Ninth UK Caribbean Ministerial Forum was held in Freeport, Grand
Bahama, The Bahamas, on 29-30 April 2016.
3. A communiqué has been published following the summit to summarise the agreements: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ninth-uk-caribbean-ministerial-forum-communique
4. During his visit to Jamaica and Grenada last year, the Prime Minister announced a package of additional UK support that included:
• £300m for the establishment of a UK Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund
• £30m to improve the disaster and climate resilience of health facilities.
• £30m for economic development to support private sector development and to improve public sector effectiveness.