BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 2nd, 2016 (PRESS SEC) – Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris is in the U.S. capital today, where he is leading a delegation that includes the Cabinet Secretary, Mrs. Josephine Huggins; the Minister of Energy et. al., Honourable Ian Liburd, and officials from the St. Kitts and Nevis Embassy in Washington, D.C.
The delegation is scheduled to attend the U.S.-Caribbean-Central American Energy Summit at the U.S. Department of State on Tuesday, May 3rd and Wednesday, May 4th.
The Energy Summit, which is being hosted by the Honourable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice President of the United States of America, will include a closed-door Caribbean-focused session with Vice President Biden, as well as a Caribbean-focused public-private sector session and a plenary session with all participants.
In addition to energy security and border security, “de-risking” will also be discussed at the series of meetings. De-risking is the practice whereby a number of major banks have either terminated their correspondent banking relationships with banks in the Caribbean or threatened to discontinue them. According to the International Monetary Fund, as of June 2015, at least 10 banks in the region in five countries have lost all or some of their correspondent banking relationships.
This week’s Energy Summit forms part of the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative, which is coordinated by the Department of State. The Caribbean Energy Security Initiative was launched on June 19th, 2014 to provide technical assistance for improved governance in the Caribbean energy sector.
Seven months later, on January 26th, 2015, Vice President Biden hosted the first-ever Caribbean Energy Security Summit in Washington, D.C. The primary goal of that Summit was to help Caribbean countries create the necessary conditions for attracting private-sector investment.
There, Vice President Biden announced that the U.S. government was in the process of establishing an Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to be devoted entirely to getting clean energy projects in the Caribbean connected to financing.
Then on April 9th, 2015 at the U.S.-CARICOM Summit in Jamaica, President Barack Obama announced several new initiatives that would be focused on deepening the United States’ Energy Cooperation with CARICOM. One such initiative was an Energy Security Task Force aimed at evaluating the progress of the cooperation and identifying concrete steps to advance energy sector reform, regional integration and clean energy development.
This week’s Energy Summit is described as the culmination of the Energy Security Task Force. The Summit will serve as an opportunity to highlight recent successes, discuss Task Force recommendations and identify a path forward to achieve mutual objectives, according to meeting notes that were distributed to participating officials in advance of the U.S.-Caribbean-Central American Energy Summit.