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CARICOM UK Forum “frank and cordial” – CARICOM & UK Officials

(From left: CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas; Rt. Hon. Phillip Hammond, Foreign Secretary of the UK, prior to the start of the meeting on Saturday in Freeport, Bahamas.

(From left: CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas; Rt. Hon. Phillip Hammond, Foreign Secretary of the UK, prior to the start of the meeting on Saturday in Freeport, Bahamas.

Mr Mitchell indicated the range of issues which engaged the ministers including climate change, health, financial services, correspondent banking, security and border threats. He announced that there would be six monthly follow-up meetings at the level of senior officials on both sides prior to the next Forum scheduled for the UK in 2018. Mr Hammond, who had announced assistance to the Region for the fight against the Zika virus at the opening ceremonyon Friday night, stated the relations with CARICOM countries were important to the UK. In reference to climate change, the Foreign Secretary said there was work still to be done despite the signing of the Paris Agreement on 22 April. He said the UK was committed to helping achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, a key element of the Community’s position on climate change.

The Foreign Secretary said he recognised the legitimacy of the financial services offered in the off-shore financial sector. However there were, he said, people who abused the services offered for illegitimate purposes. He added that it was important to ensure that these centres could not be accused of aiding and abetting such actions. Mr Mitchell pointed out that after the discussions on the issue there was a more complete understanding of the financial services sector in the Region and everyone was clear there were no ”negative moral implications” about the sector.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

(From left: CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas; Rt. Hon. Phillip Hammond, Foreign Secretary of the UK, prior to the start of the meeting on Saturday in Freeport, Bahamas.

(From left: CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas; Rt. Hon. Phillip Hammond, Foreign Secretary of the UK, prior to the start of the meeting on Saturday in Freeport, Bahamas.

Mr Mitchell indicated the range of issues which engaged the ministers including climate change, health, financial services, correspondent banking, security and border threats. He announced that there would be six monthly follow-up meetings at the level of senior officials on both sides prior to the next Forum scheduled for the UK in 2018. Mr Hammond, who had announced assistance to the Region for the fight against the Zika virus at the opening ceremonyon Friday night, stated the relations with CARICOM countries were important to the UK. In reference to climate change, the Foreign Secretary said there was work still to be done despite the signing of the Paris Agreement on 22 April. He said the UK was committed to helping achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, a key element of the Community’s position on climate change.

The Foreign Secretary said he recognised the legitimacy of the financial services offered in the off-shore financial sector. However there were, he said, people who abused the services offered for illegitimate purposes. He added that it was important to ensure that these centres could not be accused of aiding and abetting such actions. Mr Mitchell pointed out that after the discussions on the issue there was a more complete understanding of the financial services sector in the Region and everyone was clear there were no ”negative moral implications” about the sector.

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