Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Brian Nichols along with Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry led a 22-strong U.S. delegation to The Bahamas to attend the 44th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) held in Nassau, Bahamas February 15-17, 2023.
Accompanying Secretaries Nichols and Kerry were Special Presidential Advisor for the Americas, former Senator Chris Dodd, Reta Jo Lewis, president and chair of the Board of Director of the U.S. Export-Import Bank and Amy Pope, U.S. candidate for Director General of the International Organization for Migration.
On Tuesday, February 14, U.S. Charge d’Affaires Usha Pitts hosted a reception welcoming the delegation to The Bahamas.
In his address, SPEC Kerry told government officials their reason for coming to The Bahamas for CARICOM was to listen to the concerns of regional leaders and hear first-hand the challenges they face in dealing with the effects of climate change, among other matters.
“I just want to say to all of you, it takes everybody. Every country has got to be a part of this journey and you know The Bahamas and other countries in the region don’t contribute a lot to it, but we all have a vested interest in making certain that we’re on a track to do what our citizens want us to do and citizens around the world want us to do, which is to respond to this crisis,” he said.
“We want to listen to you. How do you deal with the resilience issue? What are the choices in terms of adaptation? What are options in terms of our ability to deal with food production and quick response to increasingly intense storms which take their wrath on the islands again and again and again, most recently, with Dorian.”
He added: “So, my friends, we’re all in this together. Different layers of contribution, different levels of responsibility, but every one of us has to take measure of our responsibility to live up to the hopes and aspirations of our kids and grandkids.”
Among the attendees were CARICOM Chairman, Bahamian Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis, CARICOM Secretary-General Dr Carla Barnett, Bahamian Ambassador to the U.S. Wendall Jones and Foreign Affairs Minister, Fred Mitchell.