Time to speak up

The United States’ most senior diplomat in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean thinks Caribbean governments are being too quiet and should be prepared to “challenge” the US more.

US Ambassador Larry Palmer in discussion with local officials.

Ambassador Dr. Larry Palmer complained yesterday that, since taking up his post here several months ago, he was not hearing much from the region on what it wanted out of its partnership with the US.

He said the time had come for it to move beyond a simple donor and recipient relationship. Palmer made the statement during an address at a Rotary Club of

Barbados South luncheon at Accra Hotel. Speaking on the topic The Roadmap To Deepening US Ties In The Caribbean, the career diplomat said the US would continue to help the region with achieving common goals and values, including human development and rights, boosting security, disaster preparedness and relief and opening more trade opportunities.

But in order for this to take place, he said, there was a need for officials in Barbados and the Caribbean to speak up.

“True friends challenge one another, … families hold each other accountable. One thing that has struck me in my first six months here is that I need to and would like to hear more from the countries in the region. A good partner needs feedback and indeed I want to be a good partner,” he said.

“I want to hear when we have disagreements, I want more input so that I can carry that input to Washington and dribble it upstairs, I want to make our partnership a truly equal two way rewarding relationship.”

Palmer said one area he hoped to see improved cooperation was in the development of youth entrepreneurship. (SC)

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