Island nations facing ‘triple crisis’, Barbados PM says in meeting with Trudeau

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LOS ANGELES — The Prime Minister of Barbados is making the case for small island nations struggling to cope with a “triple crisis” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

LOS ANGELES — The Prime Minister of Barbados is making the case for small island nations struggling to cope with a “triple crisis” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mia Mottley says Barbados is dealing with the real impacts of climate change alongside COVID-19 and rising fuel and food prices.

Mottley made the comments ahead of a bilateral meeting in Los Angeles with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

She says she looks forward to working on the Sustainable Development Goals with Canada and thanked Trudeau for the role her country has played in the growth of her country.

Mottley says she wants to be sure the world sees island nations at this week’s Summit of the Americas and recognizes the problems they find themselves in.

Trudeau, for his part, acknowledged that the pandemic has significantly set the world back in its efforts to help developing countries achieve their economic and social goals.

“It’s a triple crisis that we’ve been dealing with for the past few years,” Mottley said in a photo op with Trudeau ahead of the meeting.

She cited in particular the “existential crisis” of the climate, COVID-19 and soaring fuel and food prices, triggered by the pandemic but now aggravated by the war in Ukraine.

Mottley also mentioned the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance in his part of the world, which renders life-saving drugs and treatments ineffective and kills 1.2 million people every year.

“Bob Marley would say, ‘So much trouble in the world,'” Mottley said.

“We don’t expect things to change immediately. But what we expect is fairness, what we expect is transparency, what we expect is that just as we want to see people here, we want people to see us, smell us and hear us too.”

Trudeau was due to lead a roundtable later Wednesday with a group of Latin American and Caribbean leaders to discuss climate change, uphold democratic values ​​and promote gender equality.

“Canada believes that collective and inclusive action is necessary to effectively defend and promote democracy,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

“The Prime Minister will argue that urgent action is needed to address the interconnected crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, which is why Canada is identifying funding initiatives that would help address these issues in Latin America and across the Caribbean.

Barbados, Belize, Chile, Ecuador and Jamaica will participate in the roundtable.

Trudeau’s office said it will also explain that one of the cornerstones of Canada’s engagement in the Americas is gender equality, adding that realizing human rights for women and girls “can also revitalize and consolidate democracies in this contested era”.

Additionally, leaders should discuss the importance of countering foreign interference and disinformation in the defense of democracy. Canada is seeing an increase in attacks and acts of intimidation against journalists and other media professionals in the Americas, the statement said.

Leaders will also discuss how to leverage the Inter-American Democratic Charter, a 2001 pact to strengthen democracies in the hemisphere, against new threats to democracy.

Trudeau also met Wednesday with Shilpan Amin, the president of General Motors International, about electric vehicles, hemispheric climate goals and efforts to boost economic growth.

In Ottawa, Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the people of the hemisphere would benefit greatly if countries did more together to improve economic integration and export opportunities.

“I think it’s an economic zone where Canada can play a leading role with the Caribbean, with Central America, with South America,” Champagne said on his way to a caucus meeting.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 8, 2022.

James McCarten, The Canadian Press


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