CARICOM foreign ministers pictured here with UAE officials in Dubai
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (GIS) -- Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have been invited and urged to move with alacrity and purpose to establish a diplomatic mission in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with the seat in Dubai.
This invitation was extended to representative Caribbean ministers of foreign affairs by minister of state in the UAE, Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy, and endorsed by vice president and prime minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in meeting with the Caribbean foreign ministers in Dubai last Wednesday.
Nickolas Steele, Grenada's minister of foreign affairs and international business, spearheaded the proposal to establish a diplomatic presence in the UAE. Steele has engaged other ministers of CARICOM in the drive for closer ties, believing that the region's interests and engagement with the UAE will be best served if the countries move forward as a bloc, than going it alone.
Steele and his colleagues cautioned that, although the proposal is to work under one CARICOM mission umbrella, the individual Caribbean countries must work to ensure that their diplomatic integrity and interests are represented and preserved.
Within the framework of formalized diplomatic relations with the UAE, major cooperation agreements have been reached and others expected to follow. Among those is the provision of strategic assistance in much of the Caribbean's key developmental agenda areas: health, education, housing and infrastructure.
Both regions will also move forward speedily with enacting cultural exchange programs that will enable CARICOM countries to extend their tentacles and promote their attractiveness in and to, a non-traditional business market, well in advance of the EXPO 2020, which will be hosted by the UAE.
The EXPO 2020 is expected to attract, over a period of six months, 25 million visitors to the UAE, and create approximately 277,000 jobs that will spread beyond the natural borders of the UAE. The Caribbean region is hoping to benefit from some of these opportunities.
While the enactment of the formalized relationship was the result of Steele's vision, other representative ministers of foreign affairs of CARICOM joined him at the negotiating table with the UAE officials. Foreign ministers Fred Mitchell from The Bahamas; Maxine McClean from Barbados; Camillo Gonsalves from St Vincent and Patrice Nesbit from St Kitts; as well as other ministers' representatives from Trinidad and Guyana, all endorsed the agreement.
Grenada and the UAE have enjoyed diplomatic relations for some time now, and the recent initiatives undertaken by their respective foreign ministers are geared toward strengthening that connection.
Grenada and the Bahamas have already laid the groundwork to open individual missions in Dubai, with a view to extending their countries’ interests and visibility in what has been hailed as the most innovative and fast-growing region of the world -- the United Arab Emirates.