On April 1st, 2022, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saint Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Mark Brantley participated virtually in the second CARICOM-CANADA Foreign Ministers’ Group Meeting. The Meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Eamon Courtenay, current Chair of the Council of CARICOM Foreign Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Ms. Melanie Joly. This meeting provided a unique opportunity for CARICOM Foreign Ministers to candidly exchange views with their Canadian counterpart on six (6) broad themes: Regional Security and Stability, Global Issues and Multilateral Cooperation, Building a Resilient and Sustainable Economic Recovery.
However, in their presentations and interventions, CARICOM’s top diplomats were able to focus on specific topics of major interest to the Region inter alia, Climate Change, Climate Financing, Justice and Citizen Security and the Multi-dimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI).
Presenting on Financing for Development, Minister Brantley called for the implementation of a multi-dimensional vulnerability index, and an end to correspondent banking and blacklisting. Minister Brantley acknowledged the myriad levels of cooperation on account of the excellent bonds of friendship between Canada and the region. He also emphasized that both CARICOM and Canada have reached defining moments in their collective and intertwined history. Minister Brantley asserted, “Today a confluence of crises demands that we do more, not just for today, but for the future. We are at a critical time in the crossroads of history that may soon become known as our defining moment… This meeting cannot be one of mere pleasantries and business as usual”.
Before concluding, Minister Brantley proffered three (3) recommendations: 1. consideration for a shared position via a joint declaration on access to finance; 2. expanding the dialogue between CARICOM and Canada to include Ministers of Agriculture and Energy to safeguard food and energy systems and 3. rallying Canada’s support for the Caribbean Development Bank’s proposal for allocation of two (2) percent of the latter’s special drawing rights at the IMF towards climate change adaptation and resilience.
Before the meeting ended, Minister Joly committed to advocating on behalf of SIDS for a multidimensional vulnerability Index at the imminent G7 meeting.