GEORGETOWN: Canada’s ambassador to CARICOM, David Devine, says the Caribbean remains “a foreign policy priority for Canada”, and that his country was committed to strengthening public security across the region.
Devine made his remarks during a ceremony to present his letters of credence to Irwin LaRoque, Secretary-General of CARICOM.
He said that Canada was advancing security cooperation with CARICOM countries through the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP). The program spans areas such as drugs, human trafficking interdiction, combating violent organized crime and police and judicial reforms.
Devine also said Canada would continue to favour and support regional integration by ramping up a Can$600 million 10-year development cooperation package that was announced in 2007. He added that his government was encouraged by the progress made in the third round of talks on the CARICOM-Canada trade and development agreement.
Canada desired a conclusion on “this major regional issue”, he said.
“We anticipate the continuation of the fruitful nature and cordial spirit that has characterized the negotiations, which will eventually lead to an agreement that replaces the 20-year-old CARIBCAN trade agreement.”
He said Canada was keen to continue the advancement of trade and investment opportunities in the Caribbean region, as economic development was the key to prosperity.
“I look forward to working on promoting not only Canadian investment in regional markets, but also the expansion of trade linkages emerging from out of CARICOM towards Canada, for the mutual prosperity of our countries,” Devine said.
He said that part of his tenure as Canada’s representative to CARICOM would be dedicated to building upon the successful cooperation between the two parties on important issues at multilateral fora such as the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the Organisation of American States.