The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed a total of US$165 million to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to help with curbing crime and violence among youths, controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic and climate change initiatives.
USAID and CARICOM signed accords on Tuesday for the multimillion dollar development assistance to help the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.
The agreement was signed by U.S Ambassador to Guyana and CARICOM, Perry Holloway, USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean Mission Director, Christopher Cushing and CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRoque during a brief ceremony at the CARICOM Secretariat.
Under the five-year development objective agreements, an estimated $89 million 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 to reduce the risks to human and natural assets resulting from climate change.
Among the CARICOM member states to benefit are Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and St Kitts.
During the ceremony Ambassador Holloway stated that “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 marginalised populations.”
Ambassador Holloway is confident that this funding will go a far way in bringing real relief to the lives of persons affected in the three above mentioned categories.
In welcoming the partnership, LaRoque said it was an indication of the strong friendship the U.S and the CARICOM share.
He said it was a continuation of a long and strong history of cooperation nd collaboration and believes the areas identified are right at the forefront of the issues facing the region. He described the development assistance as “timely” while also pointing to the regions own efforts to tackle crime, HIV/AIDS and climate change.