Trudeau meets with Caribbean leaders in the Bahamas

Justin Trudeau and Victor Geneus of Haiti

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is meeting with his counterparts from 20 Caribbean governments at the 44th Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) which opened yesterday in the Bahamas.

As CARICOM celebrates its 50th anniversary, Trudeau is participating as a “special guest” in group discussions and bilateral meetings with the Caribbean leaders at the three-day conference.

A news release from Trudeau’s office, said he will work to strengthen Canada’s partnership with countries in the Caribbean region, including by advancing democracy, human rights, economic growth that benefits everyone, and developing clean energy.

The release also said that Haiti will be a key discussion topic as leaders wrestle with ways to support a country beset by political instability and rising gang violence.

Hundreds have been killed and kidnapped by gangs who have filled a power vacuum in Haiti, where no elections have taken place since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Haitian government has called for international military support to stabilize the country, and U.S. officials have said Canada would be an ideal option to lead such a force, but Trudeau has said Ottawa will only act based on a political consensus of Haitians.

Canada announced last week it sent a long-range patrol aircraft to Haiti to help monitor gang activity, co-ordinate the delivery of vital security equipment and provide humanitarian support.

(The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is a grouping of 15 Full Members and five Associate Members. The Full Members are Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago. The Associate Members are Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and Turks & Caicos Islands.