US embassy says region has to wait to see how Biden engages Caribbean

US embassy says region has to wait to see how Biden engages Caribbean

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

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JAMAICA and the rest of the Caribbean will just have to wait to see how the Administration of United States (US) President-elect Joe Biden will engage the region.

US officials yesterday told journalists at the round-table discussion at its Kingston embassy that they would not speculate on the possible posture of the incoming Administration.

“I know that you all know how the democracy works, but both John [McIntyre, Charg d’ Affaires at the US Embassy in Kingston] work for the current president of the United States until such time that he is no longer president. So it would simply not be our place to speculate on the policies that might be adopted by a future Administration,” said Nan Fife, US Office of Caribbean Affairs director.

“I am sure that you are all aware that the transition team is already at work in all the different agencies of the US Government in the State Department, so those briefings and conversations have begun… We can talk about the policy of any future Administration, once that Administration is in office,” added Fife, who joined the discussion from Washington.

She was supported by McIntyre who noted that this was his second presidential transition while based in the region.

“I am just saying that is my experience, because this is my fifth year in the Caribbean and this is my second transition and what she [Fife] said was perfect,” said McIntyre.

The US officials had called journalists to the Kingston embassy to announce details of the first US-Jamaica Strategic Dialogue which was held last week.

“This inaugural virtual meeting provided a platform to discuss how we can build upon the existing strong bilateral economic, health, disaster resilience and security cooperation,” said Fife.

“We also touched on some regional and global issues. Our intent is for this dialogue to become an annual event that will ensure strong, continuing collaboration on the important priorities for both nations,” added Fife.

In providing additional details on the first US-Jamaica Strategic Dialogue, McIntyre argued that this was another example of the enduring cultural and economic ties shared by both countries and their joint commitment to democratic and free market traditions.

“The dialogue highlighted all that we have collectively accomplished, and we can be proud of what we have achieved,” said McIntyre.

“We are particularly proud to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the Jamaican Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, in which Jamaica became the 12th country to join USTDA’s Global Procurement Initiative (GPI),” added McIntyre.

Launched in 2013, USTDA’s GPI educates public officials in emerging markets on how to establish procurement practices and policies that integrate life-cycle cost analysis and best-value determination in a fair, transparent manner.

The GPI helps partner countries acquire high-quality, long-lasting technologies, while building smart, sustainable infrastructure with overall savings to their government. These procurement methods also open markets to greater international competition.

“There is of course more work needed to shape the region in a fashion that we mutually desire.

“From the challenges faced by transnational criminal organisations that plague our region, to the uphill climb in recovering economically from the [novel coronavirus] pandemic, and the move we hope Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean will make toward a secure 5G future, we are optimistic that we can work hand in hand with the Government of Jamaica to achieve mutually beneficial results to these challenges in 2021 and beyond,” declared McIntyre.

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