By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
REGIONAL leaders are expected to discuss COVID-19’s impact, the effects of climate change as well as disaster preparedness at the ninth Summit of the Americas scheduled to be held in Los Angeles this summer.
The summit, held every three years, will take place on June 6–9 in California under the theme “Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future”.
Special advisor for the summit, US Senator Christopher Dodd said yesterday the event will not only allow for regional leaders to affirm shared interests, but also to discuss national issues of concern and come up with solutions to challenges being faced in the hemisphere.
He was speaking during a virtual press briefing about the upcoming event and its significance for people in the Caribbean.
“When President Biden, my friend and colleague in the Senate for 30 years asked me to serve as the special advisory for the ninth summit of Americas, he shared with me how much he values the summit process and how important he considers the countries and people in the Caribbean to that summit process as well,” Senator Dodd said.
“That’s why my very first trip as special advisor was to Bridgetown, Barbados. From April 18 to the 20, I made it my mission to carefully listen to CARICOM as a government, to hear what is on their minds and the minds of their constituents, what matters to them and how we can ensure that this summit, beginning from about a month from now reflects the priorities of the Caribbean.”
He also said: “We need to be able to discuss the issues that are critically important to our respective countries and that we listen to each other about those particular issues and that we do everything we can to try and cooperate and collaborate so we can lead the agenda and not just expressing our views and opinions but we’re actually working on ways that we can do the things needed to get back on our feet: the climate change issues, the financial reform issues, obviously the effects of the pandemic and what’s that meant to our respective countries, particularly in the CARICOM nations, the natural disasters – the repetitive hurricanes that you face.
“I was highly moved when I learned of my conversations with my colleagues in the CARICOM nations and what happened in Antigua and Barbuda where an entire population in Barbuda had to be moved to Antigua after that hurricane. That was the level of devastation and I think we all know what’s coming down the road again and we need to be talking about how we can work together in preparing these events that we’re going to be sharing in the coming days so we can pull together and come up with ideas on how to cooperate in those matters.”
Prime Minister Phillip “Brave” Davis is expected to attend this year’s summit, which will be his first as head of government of The Bahamas. In 2018, his predecessor, Dr Hubert Minnis travelled to Lima, Peru, to attend the eighth Summit of the Americas.