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Two-day UK/Caribbean meeting in London: focus on partnership, security

By Rickey Singh

A TWO-day meeting of United Kingdom and Caribbean foreign ministers gets under way in London, England, today with the strengthening of “partnership” for economic development and security as priority agenda issues.
Officially slated as the Eighth UK/Caribbean Forum, it could well be the last so structured to continue participation by the Dominican Republic with the Caribbean Community states.
Unless, that is, the government in Santo Domingo shows willingness to amend its controversial new citizenship law that discriminates against immigrants primarily of Haitian desce­nt.
The government in London, as host for this week’s meeting, is expected to fully utilise its diplo­matic resources to avoid such a likely development, according to ministerial sources.
Nevertheless, as host, it is also fully aware of the expressed resolve by Caricom—whose membership includes Haiti—to scuttle the current arrangements for the UK-Caribbean Forum in favour of a now-being-touted “Caricom-European Union framework”.
In this approach, the government in London would remain an important “partner” for economic development and security cooperation, recognising the UK is already a very influential player within the EU.
Since Caricom foreign ministers have been mandated to press ahead with efforts to influence the Dominican Republic to amend its new citizenship law to end what has been condemned by, among others, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, as racial discrimination, it is doubtful they would be disposed to maintaining the prevailing UK/Carib­bean Forum, according to minis­terial sources.
Also on the work agenda for this week’s UK/Caribbean Forum is a review of the 31-point “Plan of Action” that resulted from the Seventh Forum two years ago, as well as issues like reparations.
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