United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Government Minister Dr Amery Browne yesterday held bi-lateral talks in Washington, DC, which included exploring additional ways to work together to reduce the flow of illegal guns into Trinidad and Tobago and the region.
Last week US Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Candace Bond told the Express that the US had assisted in establishing a gun intelligence unit, headquartered in Port of Spain, to help the region tackle the issue of illegal guns.
At the meeting in Washington, Secretary Blinkin said there are more than 10,000 Americans visiting Trinidad and Tobago every year for tourism and business.
This is a number they want to see increase.
The meeting took place at the United States Department of State, where Browne was accompanied by Retired Brigadier General Anthony WJ Phillips-Spencer, T&T Ambassador to the US, along with senior Embassy staff members; and Blinken was joined by Bond and other US Department of State senior staff members.
Blinken said the US and T&T are working together to continue to strengthen democracy, to forge ahead on building even greater economic prosperity and working on challenges of regional security.
He said: “Of course, we have deep connections between our people. There are more than 10,000 Americans visiting Trinidad and Tobago every year for tourism, for business, and we want to see that increase. We have a very vibrant diaspora here in the United States which we very much welcome.”
In June 2022, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and his delegation attended the Summit of the Americas meeting in California.
Blinkin said they were instructed by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to follow up and to make good on the important discussion and initiatives that came out of that meeting, and the bi-lateral meeting with Browne was a good opportunity to do that.
Browne acknowledged the US and T&T have been working closely on a number of critical issues.
He said some of the priorities for the Caribbean are shared with the US and include energy security, food security and improving access to financing for development.
“And we share a significant diaspora but we also share principles in common—respect for democracy, a desire for peace in our region, and to see countries working more closely together,” he said.
Following the meeting, US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said Blinkin and Browne discussed the importance both countries place on support for democracy within the Western Hemisphere.
“The Secretary also expressed appreciation for Trinidad and Tobago’s votes supporting Ukraine and the UN Charter at the United Nations. He noted democracies need to stand together to counter those who seek to suppress freedom and abuse human rights,” said Price.
The T&T Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a release stating that matters of mutual interest for both countries included food security, energy security, access to international development financing, democracy, security and peace in the region, migration and the situation in Haiti.
The release stated that Browne also reminded of the upcoming Caricom Symposium on Crime as a public health concern to be hosted by Trinidad and Tobago.
While in Washington, Browne also met with senior members of the Atlantic Council.
Discussions focused on the Council’s advocacy at the US Senate and House of Representatives on behalf of Caribbean countries, on regional priorities such as de-risking and correspondent banking, financial inclusion, access to international development financing, energy security, and climate change.
Browne also met with non-resident ambassadors accredited to Trinidad and Tobago.
The ministry stated that in recognition of the official visit of Browne, the Embassy hosted a luncheon in honour of non-resident missions in Washington, DC, accredited to Trinidad and Tobago.
The release said the meeting provided an opportunity to further strengthen existing relations with the countries represented, and to explore opportunities for increased co-operation.
On Tuesday, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Washington, D.C. with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, U.K. Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss, and British Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office Secretary Emma Browne for a joint working meeting.
The meeting, which preceded the G7 Foreign Ministers Summit, was part of a larger effort to further strengthen the strong U.S.-U.K. relationship and to enhance cooperation on a wide range of bilateral, global, and regional issues.
During their visit, the U.K. officials met with various members of the Trump Administration and outlined their priorities for the post-Brexit era and how the U.K. and U.S. can work together to promote values and interests of both countries.
The British Foreign Secretary and his counterparts discussed a broad range of topics of mutual interest, including the United Nations, Iran negotiations, countering Russian aggression, and climate change. In addition, the parties discussed the situation in Afghanistan, the continuing challenge of North Korea and its nuclear program, and the implementation of the global Compact on Migration.
The U.K. representatives also discussed the stability of the Middle East region and potential avenues the two countries can pursue to foster greater regional security.
The meeting, which was described as “warm and productive,” concluded with a joint press conference. Secretary Blinken highlighted the long history of the “special relationship” between the U.S. and U.K. and expressed his commitment to “continue to develop a robust and dynamic partnership in the days and years ahead.”
The U.K. Foreign Secretary noted that the discussion between the two sides had produced substantial results and that their joint efforts to promote their shared interests and values would ensure greater global peace and stability.
The meetings in D.C. mark yet another milestone in the burgeoning relationship between the two countries and signify an appreciation for the important role both nations play in upholding a peaceful and prosperous world order.