‘Going it alone will not work’

PM touts shared interests of region  

As he welcomed regional and global leaders to The Bahamas for the 44th CARICOM Heads of Government meeting, Prime Minister Philip Davis last night called for unity among countries to solve many of the complex issues the region faces.

“None of us will be safe until we are all safe,” said Davis at the opening ceremony of the meeting at Atlantis.

“None of us will develop sustainably or securely, if we leave our neighbors behind.

“None of us will truly prosper if our resources are forever taxed by the poverty and instability of those nearby.

“Going it alone will not work.”

Davis noted that rising oil prices, inflation, war and divisions in society are among the issues still plaguing countries around the world.

Important agenda items for the meeting, which ends tomorrow, include the political, economic and national security crisis in Haiti, climate change, food security and energy.

On Haiti, Davis has repeatedly said that any solution must be Haitian-led.

“Colleagues and friends, I believe we are in vigorous agreement that the crisis in Haiti requires our urgent attention,” said the prime minister, who is also chairman of CARICOM.

“The turmoil and suffering there continue to worsen.

“As a near neighbor, The Bahamas is under great strain, and many other countries in our region are also heavily impacted.

“We will all benefit if Haiti is again a fully functioning state.

“We should learn from the failures of past efforts to help, rather than use those disappointments as an excuse for inaction.

“I pray that we can agree on a series of concrete steps to help move towards a solution for the Haitian people, and the region as a whole.

“We have learned that inaction has its own costs and consequences.”

Among those in attendance, inclusive of leaders from CARICOM countries, were Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; John Kerry, US President Joseph Biden’s special envoy for climate; former US Senator Chris Dodd, who is a special advisor to the president; and Brian Nichols, US assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs.

Davis, who has made climate change a signature issue of his administration, said last night that CARICOM members must work together on the issue.

“Yet, even though we in the CARICOM region are especially vulnerable to the rising sea levels and temperatures, erosion of our coastal communities, and hurricanes, which are more frequent and more intense, by working together, we show that we are not powerless,” he said.

“I have no doubt that in joining our voices last year to present an agreed position at COP27, we helped to influence the shift in position relating to ‘loss and damage’ arising from the impact of climate change.”

Davis noted that investment and cooperation in education, infrastructure, food and energy security “will help to support our collective national development”.

“For all the loss and havoc wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, it did teach us valuable lessons about what’s important, and about what we need to do to save lives and livelihoods,” he said.

“For example, here in The Bahamas, we have in the past talked about the need to ensure food security.

“But since the advent of the pandemic, we recognized that the need to be able to feed ourselves was not just an economic nicety, but a matter of survival.”

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the news editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to news editor in January 2023.

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