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Caricom, US ink agreement to fight several social issues

United States Ambassador to the 15-nation Caribbean Community (Caricom) (left) and the Secretary General of Caricom, Irwin La Rocque signing a US$165 million agreement to fund several key projects over the next five years

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) signed accords Tuesday representing a US$165 million development assistance contribution from the United States Government to the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. 

CARICOM Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin LaRoque, and USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean Mission Director, Christopher Cushing, initialed the five-year Development Objective Agreements (DOAGs) during a brief ceremony at the CARICOM Secretariat in Guyana. U.S. Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, was among several dignitaries who witnessed the signing.

The agreements will spearhead USAID’s 2015-2019 Regional Development Cooperation Strategy that covers youth, HIV/AIDS, and climate change programming in Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Kitts & Nevis, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, and Guyana.

An estimated $89 million in funding will go towards reducing youth crime and violence in target communities; $52 million is earmarked for achieving epidemic control of HIV/AIDS among key populations; and a total of $31 million will support initiatives that reduce the risks to human and natural assets resulting from climate vulnerability.

During the ceremony, Ambassador Holloway stated: “The United States Government and USAID are pleased to partner with CARICOM in these initiatives which will improve the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable groups, including youth and socially marginalized populations. Our success over the years has been possible largely due to the support of our partners, without whom implementation would not be possible. CARICOM, by virtue of its commitment to improving the economic, social, cultural, and technological advancement of Caribbean people remains a beacon in this regard. ”

In welcoming the partnership initiative, Ambassador La Roque added: “These Agreements are rendering assistance in areas that have been identified as critical to the well-being of our citizens. Combatting the challenges posed by climate change, HIV/AIDS, and crime and violence, with reference to youth participation,  is right at the forefront of the issues facing our Community today.”

USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean partners with national and regional organizations to support programs that help to create resilient societies, empower youth, support climate change adaptation, and foster positive health outcomes.