Canada-Caribbean Institute praises efforts to strengthen international ties

The Canada-Caribbean Institute (CCI), co-founded by Brock University and the University of the West Indies, is congratulating the Government of Canada and CARICOM Member States for their recent efforts to advance mutual relations and development.

A meeting of foreign ministers on Friday, April 1 saw a discussion focused on strengthened collaboration on security, multilateral co-operation and building a sustainable COVID-19 recovery. The ministers also called for the establishment of a joint commission to serve as a permanent mechanism that will formally deepen the partnership while advancing collaboration and co-operation. The commission will be launched at the inaugural Canada-CARICOM Summit in the coming months.

“This is exactly the agenda that will help secure the positive, future relationship between Canada and the Caribbean,” said Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies and Co-Chair of the CCI. “The commitment to advance this agenda in the context of a permanent co-ordination mechanism, and under the full guidance of leaders, will promote success.”

The idea for the establishment of the CCI was conceptualized by Beckles and former President and Vice-Chancellor of Brock University, Gervan Fearon — the first Caribbean descendant to head a Canadian university.

Lynn Wells, Brock University Interim President and Vice-Chancellor, and Co-chair of the CCI, said that beyond government-to-government efforts, work is also underway to deepen the long-standing trade and economic links between businesses and organizations in Canada and the Caribbean.

She noted that Trade Minister Mary Ng will lead a Canadian trade mission to the Caribbean from April 12 to 14.

“There are many synergies in the areas of financial services, natural resources, clean technology tourism and the education sectors that can be looked to for commercial arrangements and partnerships,” Wells said.  “In the education sector alone, we can look to areas such as encouraging research collaboration, student exchanges and scholarship administration.”

Wells and Beckles committed the CCI to assist governments in harnessing the work of its member institutions to identify impediments and opportunities for advancing this future agenda.

The Co-Chairs also announced the CCI, in collaboration with CARICOM and the Canada International Council, will be hosting a virtual CARICOM-Canada Policy Forum, “Canada-CARICOM: Shaping an Evolving Partnership for Sustainable Development,” on May 25.

More information on this event will be available in the near future on the CCI website.

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