Caricom chairman in talks with China’s president
Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie, the chairman of Caricom, of which Bermuda is an associate member, has had talks with the Chinese President Xi Jinping on behalf of the organisation.
The meeting was held last Wednesday at the Great Hall of the People during Mr Christie’s visit for the China/Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) forum.
“With the joint efforts of both sides, the outcomes of the meetings are being implemented and the relationship between China and Caribbean countries has scored continuous progress, which benefited the two peoples,” Mr Xi said, according to a statement.
Mr Christie was said to have pointed to the 17-year Bahamas and China diplomatic relationship, to the education cooperation between the two countries, which provides students in the Bahamas with more opportunities in the engagement of higher education, and the mutual visa-waiver agreement.
He is also believed to have stated that Caricom welcomed China’s preferential financial support and hoped that the superpower would provide more assistance for improving human resources capabilities in Caribbean countries.
“As the rotating chairmanship of the Caricom, Bahamas will make positive efforts for Caricom-China cooperation and Latin America-China cooperation,” a Chinese foreign affairs ministry statement read. “China stands ready, together with all Caricom members, to promote China-Latin American overall cooperation to a new high.”
The Bahamas has close economic ties with China. According to the online publication, Caribbean Journal, Nassau’s almost-completed Baha Mar, which is the largest resort project in the Caribbean, was built by China’s State Construction Engineering Corporation.
The publication also reported that China was an equity investor in the $3.5 billion project. It is targeting a March 27 opening date.
The 15-member Caricom is committed to policies of economic integration based on a regional single market and economy, and coordination of foreign and defence policies, as well as cooperation in culture.
Associate members such as Bermuda are involved only in the third leg of Caricom’s role, which includes cooperation in education, health, labour relations, tourism, drug control and security, transportation, youth and sport.