SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Very good.  Well, good morning, everyone.  And it’s a great pleasure for me to receive Prime Minister Rowley here in Washington, especially after the very warm hospitality I was shown in Port of Spain last year. 

Trinidad and Tobago is a vital partner for the United States, and we are working together in many areas, including to advance energy security and climate resilience – something that the people of Trinidad and Tobago feel very strongly.  And we’re doing this, in particular, under the United States-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis, which is a vital initiative that our countries are engaged in.

We’re partnering as well to fight violent crime and firearms trafficking, and this is a priority for the work that we’re doing, as well as of course seeking and building up prosperity and opportunity in the region as a whole.  We have vital work that we’re doing as well to address other regional challenges, whether it’s in Venezuela or whether it’s in Haiti.  But in all of these areas and others, including the strengthening of our own bilateral ties, which I’ve been very, very pleased to see over the last couple of years, this really is a vital partnership. 

And I’m just grateful, Prime Minister, to have you here in Washington, especially after the very both memorable and positive visit to Port of Spain last year.  So welcome.

PRIME MINISTER ROWLEY:  Thank you very much, Secretary Blinken.  I am very pleased that in a very hectic schedule that you are engaged in that you would have made the time to receive my delegation.  And the relationship between the United States, Trinidad and Tobago, and the wider CARICOM, it’s extremely important to us.  And we keep emphasizing that it’s also important to the United States. 

The U.S., our major trading partner, and with a lot of our citizens residing in and working and living in the United States – I think every time I go to an office on these trips, I meet some national from Trinidad and Tobago, or whose parentage is of Trinidad and Tobago, in the United States. 

We are very proud of the international obligations that we meet.  And we keep emphasizing that we might be small, but we are not insignificant.  And we acknowledge our trading relations, our diplomatic situations, and the challenges in the Caribbean that you mention.  So, in recent years, we are happy that we’ve been – we have raised issues with you, and you have in fact been taking them on board.  The safety and security challenges are extremely important to us, and the energy security matters of day-to-day conversations.  And we believe that you are part of that, and thanks for being a part of it.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thanks, everyone.

U.S. Department of State

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