Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says Caricom leaders will seek opportunities for “partnership in development” when the first-ever Caricom-Japan Summit is held in Port of Spain today.
Gonsalves, however, said the 15-member bloc is aware Japan is lobbying for its support as the Asian heavyweight seeks to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
“They are canvassing for it, but they are not the only people who canvass to get a seat as non-permanent members of the Security Council.
“The fact that he has to leave from Japan to come to the Caribbean is indicative of the importance of the countries in the region on a number of matters,” Gonsalves told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) on Saturday.
In an indication that Japan holds a favourable status within the region in its quest for that UN seat, Gonsalves, the current Caricom chairman, said: “Japan is a very strong candidate... and they have had a history of working in the Caribbean, particularly in the area of education and fisheries.
“I will like to see that broadened, but they are a very responsible country,” he said, noting that of the developed countries, Japan has the second largest economy after the United States.
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet Caricom leaders this morning, then hold bilateral talks with each head of government. A number of agreements are also to be signed.
“We are hoping that we can put together, individual countries and Caricom as a whole, a programme for partnership in development, which will involve resources and also for us to collaborate together... to fight for peace and justice globally,” Gonsalves said.
This year marks 20 years of relations between Caricom and Japan.