Trinidad and Tobago and Canada have agreed to co-host a CARICOM Public-Private Partnerships Seminar and business-to-business meetings in Port-of-Spain later this year.
This is one of the issues noted in a joint statement issued by Prime Ministers Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Stephen Harper following their discussions Thursday in Ottawa.
The seminar will bring together representatives from government, the private sector, international financial institutions and multilateral development banks from Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, the broader CARICOM and international community. The focus of the gathering would be to share best practices in this field and determine how they can be applied.
The statement noted Persad-Bissessar’s role as incoming chair of the Caribbean Community in July 2013. It said the two leaders discussed the status of trade talks between Canada and CARICOM, without giving any specifics.
It acknowledged their shared vision for a more integrated Caribbean region and expressed the hope that under Trinidad and Tobago’s Chairmanship of CARICOM, leaders there would be advanced reform of regional integration.
The two Prime Ministers affirmed the importance of bilateral trade and investment, the centrality of free markets to mutual prosperity, and a keen desire to strengthen collaboration in the financial, oil and gas, and energy sectors.
Canadian investment in Trinidad and Tobago has grown substantially, now exceeding CA$1.3 billion. Annual two-way merchandise trade grew by 45 per cent between 2005 and 2012, and is now approaching $600 million.
Security was also an important part of the discussions between the two leaders. The statement said the leaders welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of National Security and Canadian Commercial Corporation Concerning the Development and Implementation of Projects in the Field of Defence, Security, and Related Infrastructure.
The MoU will facilitate closer ties between the two countries through the provision by Canadian companies of technology and services to enhance the capacity of defence and security institutions in Trinidad and Tobago.
To this end, both leaders expressed satisfaction with the launch of negotiations between the Air Guard of Trinidad and Tobago with Provincial Aerospace Limited of Canada with respect to two Long-Range Multi-Mission Aircraft.
The Prime Ministers also noted that Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program is supporting Trinidad and Tobago in modernizing criminal investigations.
Further, Prime Ministers Harper and Persad-Bissessar said they are pleased to collaborate to improve the Caribbean region’s preparedness and ability to respond effectively to natural disasters by way of Trinidad and Tobago’s participation in the Caribbean Disaster Management Harmonised Implementation Program, which is led by the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency and supported by Canada.
Trinidad and Tobago has been part of Canada’s Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP) since 1970.
In support of their shared desire to expand defence relations, the Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two nations to help Trinidad and Tobago take on a greater role to provide regional military capacity building training.
The leaders also announced that Canada would appoint its first Canadian Defence Attaché accredited to Trinidad and Tobago. No announcement was made with respect to the date on which the attaché would take up duties in Port of Spain.
Office of the Prime Minister