U.S. President Barack Obama with Minister of Foreign Affairs of St. Kitts/Nevis, Mark Brantley, in Jamaica on April 9, 2015. (Mark Brantley image)
News Americas, KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thurs. April 9, 2015: Twelve Caricom heads of state along with a foreign minister of Belize and St. Kitts/Nevis as well as the ambassador of Suriname and the CARICOM secretary general, gathered earlier this afternoon in Kingston for a meeting with President Barack Obama.
Those heads of state meeting with the US President were: Prime Minister of Jamaica and host of the event, Portia Simpson-Miller, Prime Minister; Prime Minister of The Bahamas and Chair of the Conference of Heads of Government Perry G. Christie; Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Finance and Corporate Governance Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne; Prime Minister of Barbados Freundel J. Stuart, Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Grenada Dr. Keith C. Mitchell; President of Guyana Donald Ramotar; President of Haiti Joseph Michel Martelly; Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Dr. Kenny D. Anthony; Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves.
Representing Belize was Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General of Belize Wilfred Elrington and Ambassador of Suriname in Washington, Subhas Mungra. Also present was Amb. Irwin LaRocque, the Secretary-General of the CARICOM Secretariat in Guyana and St. Kitts/Nevis minister of foreign affairs as well as Deputy Premier of Nevis, Mark Brantley.
President Obama’s motorcade arrived at 11:30 at the University of West Indies for the US-CARICOM bilaterals.
Jamaican Prime Minister Simpson Miller stood on a red carpet in the center of the entrance-way greeting Caribbean leaders with double cheek-kisses.
PM Gonsalves held onto Simpson Miller and turned to the cameras to say: “Isn’t she the most beautiful prime minister in the world? Let me hear ya say ‘yea.’ ”
At 12:10 p.m., President Obama strode out to the hall and greeted a line of Caribbean leaders and other dignitaries. He hugged Simpson Miller and shook hands as he moved down the line, stopping when he reached the E. Nigel Harris, the vice chancellor of the university, to say: “We are thrilled to be here. Sorry we’re taking over this building.”
To which Harris responded, “For you, we’d do anything.”
The CARICOM leaders and the US President then posed for a photo and retreated into an adjacent room, where they stayed for several minutes. Then all the Caribbean leaders walked out with President Obama and took their places against a large blue and white CARICOM backdrop, and smiled for a photo, raising their hands to wave.