The Caribbean Initiative will sharpen focus on the region’s strategic importance as a key US partner and bring increased recognition to the importance of the Caribbean amid vast hemispheric challenges

WASHINGTON, DC — February 26, 2021 — Today, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center kicked off its Caribbean Initiative programing with a high-profile event featuring Dr. the Hon. Keith Christopher Rowley, prime minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and current chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

The Caribbean Initiative, which was introduced in September 2020, will lead a targeted effort to highlight the geo-strategic importance of the Caribbean region to the US and the hemisphere. Its immediate portfolio will include the development of the Financial Inclusion Task Force — composed of bankers, international financial institutions, and leading experts — to identify innovative solutions to the underbanked region and serve as an ongoing forum to address financing for regional climate change adaptation.

Prime Minister Rowley focused his remarks on resetting US-Caribbean relations and creating a forward-facing framework for a robust and constructive partnership, a key goal of the Caribbean Initiative. Prime Minister Rowley touched on the most critical the issues related to hemispheric security and prosperity, including the health pandemic, climate change adaptation, financial inclusion, energy security, migration, and the future of US-Caribbean ties.

Jason Marczak, director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, said, “The Caribbean region faces extraordinary challenges that require new ideas and new alliances to meet the moment. The Caribbean Initiative will deliver incisive thought leadership that will yield innovative and implementable policy options to achieve long-term prosperity. I join our founder Adrienne Arsht and our Board Member Melanie Chen in congratulating the Caribbean Initiative as it launches its work in the region.”

The Caribbean Initiative will deliver incisive thought leadership that will yield innovative and implementable policy options to achieve long-term prosperity.

Jason Marczak, director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center

The Caribbean Initiative will benefit from the strategic work of several other Atlantic Council Centers including the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, GeoEconomics Center, and the New American Engagement Initiative. “The wider Caribbean has for centuries been a region of inward and outward migration of all the world’s peoples and, consequently, has been a continuous theater for geopolitics by the great powers of each era,” explained Vicki Assevero, an international lawyer and the Atlantic Council Senior Fellow leading the Caribbean Initiative. “With the new administration settling in, this is an ideal moment to pivot and rebuild trust with some of America’s staunchest allies and create transformative partnerships that accelerate recovery, including with the CARICOM and OECS secretariats.”

With the new administration settling in, this is an ideal moment to pivot and rebuild trust with some of America’s staunchest allies and create transformative partnerships that accelerate recovery, including with the CARICOM and OECS secretariats.

Vicki Assevero, Senior Fellow leading the Caribbean Initiative

Prime Minister Rowley expressed his enthusiasm for the Caribbean Initiative’s mission, saying, “The way forward in CARICOM’s relationship with the United States is continued close collaboration and partnership on regional and international issues and a renewed commitment to pursue ardently the sustainable development of all our citizens.”

The way forward in CARICOM’s relationship with the United States is continued close collaboration and partnership on regional and international issues and a renewed commitment to pursue ardently the sustainable development of all our citizens.

Prime Minister Rowley

The Caribbean Initiative will lead several significant projects in the months ahead covering financial inclusion, financing climate change adaptation, and innovation and productivity within the digital economy.

To learn more about the Caribbean Initiative, please visit here. Video of the launch event with Prime Minister Rowley can be found here.

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