Prime Minister of Canada, Rt. Hon Justin Trudeau has pledged upwards of $45 million to the Caribbean Community amid a strengthening of diplomatic ties between CARICOM and Canada.

Trudeau was a special guest at last week’s CARICOM Summit, where he was joined by the Conference of Heads of Government in the Bahamas. 

Among topics of discussion throughout that week were the situation in Haiti, Climate Change and Climate Financing, Trade and Regional Security.

Canada hopes to assist the Caribbean with its fight against illicit trade through $1.8 million in funding to target the war on drugs and strengthen maritime security.

Trudeau stressed that such assistance is critical to addressing the issues of the drug and arms trade and human trafficking as criminal elements become more sophisticated.

Also on the issue of security, Trudeau announced new efforts being made to monitor and assist in the situation in Haiti which included pumping both humanitarian financing and navy resources towards assisting the police and citizenry there.

Canada has pledged funding totalling $44.8 million towards addressing the climate crisis in the Caribbean.

These funds will support organisations such as the CARICOM Climate Change Centre and the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund to improve marine and coastal ecosystem management, increase water security and help regional governments to respond to the impacts of climate change.

On trade, Trudeau has announced that Canada is seeking the renewal of CARIBAN – the waiver from the World Trade Organisation which allows for Caribbean goods to enter Canada duty-free.

He revealed that in 2021, CARICOM – Canada reciprocal trade reached $1.9 billion, while bilateral trade in services reached $3.9 billion. This, the Canadian Prime Minister told CARICOM, highlighted the strong ties between the two parties. 

This bond he said is critical to addressing urgent issues, together.

During meetings  with Trudeau, CARICOM heads are said to have emphasised the need for increased people to people contact with Canada and sought the restoration of visa-free travel.

In the coming days Canada is expected to announce new measures to simplify access to “trusted travellers” from CARICOM.