Council Hosts Dinner of Caribbean Foreign Ministers and Bi-partisan Caribbean Congressional Caucus
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Program Manager, Latin American & Caribbean
Inter-American Economic Council
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 548-0400 / (202) 548-0427 (fax)
Barry S. Featherman, President & CEO of the Inter-American Economic Council, addresses meeting of CARICOM & bi-partisan Congressional Caribbean Caucus
On Wednesday October 1, 2003, the Inter-American Economic Council ["Council"] hosted a dinner discussion meeting on Capitol Hill on behalf of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Foreign Ministers and the bi-partisan Congressional Caribbean Caucus.
Mr. Barry S. Featherman, in his capacity as President & CEO of the Council, observed that this dinner was a historic event as a first contact between a bi-partisan congressional group and CARICOM Ministers. The dinner was well attended and served to identify critical issues in relations to CARICOM/U.S. relations on the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) process and other regional issues. Foreign Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honorable Timothy Harris, was the keynote speaker at the event together with the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caribbean Caucus, Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) and Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ).
Also addressing the meeting were Foreign Minister of Guyana, the Honorable Rudy Insanally, and the President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Compton Bourne. Dr. Bourne underscored the importance of the United States's relations with the Caribbean community and praised the efforts of the Congressional Caribbean Caucus and the Council for providing the medium for the exchange of pertinent issues affecting the region. Currently, the Council and the CDB are discussing the development of a co-operative agreement.
Additional Members of Congress who attended the dinner were Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), Rep. Phil English (R-PA), Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY), Rep. Donna Christensen (D-VI), Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Wally Herger ( R-CA), and Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ).
The Congressional Caribbean Caucus was established as a follow up to two historic visits by Congress Members to Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados in January of this year through the coordination of the Inter-American Economic Council. The Council's goal is to work with sub-regional groups within Latin America and the Caribbean in facilitating understanding and greater sensitivity and appreciation of specific regional issues.
In their addresses, Council Chairman, Senator Christopher R. Thomas, and Council President, Barry S. Featherman both pointed to a number of future interchanges for increasing the dialogue within the region. Both Congressional Caribbean Caucus members and CARICOM Ministers present agreed to continue their dialogues through the Council's future regional interchanges. Amongst the upcoming meetings the Council is convening are an Andean Trade Ministerial Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia on October 16-19, 2003 and a Business Roundtable at the IberoAmerican Summit of Heads of State and Heads of Government in Santa Cruz de La Sierra, Bolivia on November 13-15, 2003.