PRIME MINISTER ROWLEY:  Good morning, Mr. Secretary and team.  It gives me great pleasure once again to welcome you back to our place of work.  I hope you had a restful night, and I hope that you will come to the conclusion that the visit to Trinidad and Tobago is always worth it.  Your team has been working very hard with us; Ambassador Bond (inaudible) here.  And welcome to my friend.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  (Inaudible), Mr. Prime Minister. 

PRIME MINISTER ROWLEY:  (Inaudible) welcome again to Trinidad and Tobago (inaudible). 

Well, we’ve had a very special, I’d say, week, and we have made it so worthwhile.  On behalf of my colleagues at CARICOM, and (inaudible) affairs (inaudible).  And (inaudible) in the weeks and months ahead and see significant progress.  We at CARICOM, and we in Trinidad and Tobago as a leader in CARICOM, we (inaudible) that we’re better off if we have these kinds of contacts and we get the opportunity to talk to the decision-makers.  (Inaudible) arrangements sometimes go awry.  But this access to the decision-makers, which I would like to call the post-Los Angeles period, we’ve seen significant progress through diplomatic arrangements.  And our technical people are now in a much, much better position to carry out the expectations of the decisions that we have made. 

So thank you, Mr. Secretary.  And your presence here gives the very best signal of the quality of the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and its (inaudible) major trading partner (inaudible).  So thank you.  Welcome from (inaudible). 

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, Prime Minister, thank you for your incredibly gracious hospitality.  I wanted to, on behalf of the President, also congratulate you, congratulate the people of Trinidad and Tobago as well for hosting the 50th anniversary of meetings in celebration of CARICOM.  It’s a remarkable achievement in our hemisphere.  And the partnership that we’ve built with CARICOM, especially over the last couple of years, is of great importance to us.  So it’s important for us to be here.  Yesterday, I think the fact that we had such a strong delegation from our Congress as well, a bipartisan delegation, is further evidence of the importance that we attach to the relationship we have to work with (inaudible) with CARICOM. 

And to Trinidad and Tobago’s leadership in our region, we’ve had for many, many years a strong, powerful bond between our countries, especially between our peoples (inaudible) citizens (inaudible) now from Trinidad and Tobago.  Many Americans come to visit here for tourism, for business.  And more than that, I think we’re bonded together by the fact that we both share a deep commitment to democracy, and trying to create opportunity for our people, and to do so with equity and fairness.  The many challenges – regional, global – that we’re involved in (inaudible) leadership on climate is just one of them.   But we couldn’t be more appreciative of the partnership that we have (inaudible).

We had a very good – it was a very good day yesterday, and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss with you right now some of the important aspects of our bilateral relationship, as well as to, I hope, compare notes on some of the broader challenges (inaudible).

Again, thank you to you, to the entire team.  It’s very, very good to be here.  My only regret is it’s too short.  So we’ll have to come back.  Thank you. 

U.S. Department of State

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