We, the Ministers of Government of CARICOM Member States, gathered together at our Thirty-Ninth Meeting of the Community Council of Ministers, on January 9 -10, 2017 in Georgetown, Guyana, welcome the recent passing in the United States Congress, on December 13, 2016 of the US-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act of 2016 (H.R. 4939), which calls for a new long-term strategy to strengthen ties between the United States Government and the Caribbean region, and its signature into Public Law by President Barack Obama, on December 16, 2016;
2. We note with satisfaction the overwhelming bipartisan support received in both Houses of Congress for the Act and thank its sponsors, Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former Chair of the Committee, for their tireless efforts;
3. We recognize that this Act is both timely and significant, and commend both Houses of Congress and the US Administration for this proactive and collaborative approach to engagement with the Caribbean region. We believe that the multi-year strategy mandated by this Act will engender increased interaction between the Caribbean and the United States, especially in the areas of security, trade, economic development, energy, education and diaspora engagement. We are keen to urgently advance dialogue on the specific interests of the Caribbean region;
4. Being deeply appreciative of the Caribbean’s good working relationship with past US Administrations, we look forward to working with Congress and the Administration of President-elect Donald Trump on further strengthening US-Caribbean relations.