President Kagame in Trinidad and Tobago for meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government

On 5 July 2023 at 06:52

President Paul Kagame has arrived in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, where he will attend the 45th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), as the organization celebrates its 50th anniversary.

According to Rwanda’s Presidency, Kagame will begin his visit by addressing a Special Plenary session of CARICOM before attending a closed caucus session alongside leaders of both associate members and member states of the organization.

CARICOM is a grouping of twenty countries established in Trinidad and Tobago in July 1973, when Prime Ministers of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago signed the Treaty of Chaguaramas with the aim of functional regional cooperation and integration.

The Treaty was later revised in 2002 to allow for the eventual establishment of a single market and a single economy.

President Kagame is also expected to be hosted to dinner by Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Christopher Rowley.

He is invited to attend the meting after Rwanda embarked on a journey to cement ties with Caribbean countries through his previous visits to Jamaica and Barbados.

During his visit to Jamaica in April last year, Kagame joined Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness for ‘Think Jamaica 2022’, a public dialogue discussing various topics including the future of Africa-Caribbean partnerships.

The Head of State that there is deep connection between Africa and the Caribbean countries.

“The Caribbean and Africa have a lot in common, beginning with people. There is that deep connection that the geographical distance can’t eliminate. So, the first thing we have to do is create that environment and possibility for people to travel [for instance] from Caribbean to Rwanda and East Africa or other parts of Africa and vice versa,” he noted.

Kagame observed that this can be achieved through fixing visa related issues.

“We have to deal with visa issues and make sure we create waivers so that we really encourage this connection knowing that we have interest in one another, we can benefit one another. There is a lot we can do, whether it is trade [and more] different things. But we have to be very practical with the right things first, which is first even to carry the message to people and say why not connect as close as we can. I think these are the practical things we have to do,” he stated.

CARICOM country members include Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Haiti, Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana, Montserrat, St. Lucia, Suriname, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as Trinidad and Tobago.

President Kagame arriving in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago.
President Kagame has arrived in Trinidad and Tobago for meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government.