The Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Darren A Henfield, recently, at the invitation extended to him, by the Government of Romania, participated in a series of meetings in Bucharest, Romania.
During the period 11 -12 March, 2019, Minister Henfield, along with other CARICOM Foreign Ministers and the Secretary General of CARICOM Irwin LaRocque, engaged in political dialogue with H.E. Mrs. Ana Birchall, Vice Prime Minister of Romania for strategic partnerships, H.E. Mr. Teodor Meleşcanu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania and other senior level officials of Romania. This was followed by his participation in an “International Conference on Building Resilience to Natural Disasters”. Also attending the Conference were representatives of Asian and African countries.
Over the course of the conference, the delegations engaged with Romanian political and technical officials on lessons learned and they shared best practices on coping with natural disasters.
Discussions took into consideration the social, economic and environmental impact to states seeking to mitigate against natural disasters, and the attendant costs of efforts to proactively build resilience to those disasters, particularly for small island developing states (SIDS).
Minister Henfield in his intervention, outlined the devastating impact of hurricanes on The Bahamas from as far back as the 1960s and shared the continual challenges of infrastructural and redevelopment exercises faced by the Bahamas and its sister CARICOM countries. He underscored the importance of building resilience to withstand the impact of natural disasters. Other speakers provided corroborating information pertaining to their respective countries.
CARICOM Ministers thanked Romania, who is the current President of Council of the European Union for its leadership in promoting initiatives to build disaster resilience and for its support in speaking out about the dangers of climate change. Romania also promised CARICOM that it would speak against the unfair practice of Blacklisting by the EU Commission. Romania is also a candidate for a seat on the UN Security Council.
At the conclusion of the Conference, a MOU “For The Establishment Of A Consultation And Cooperation Mechanism” was signed by Secretary General LaRocque on behalf of the Caribbean Community and Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Melescanu on behalf of the Romanian Government. The Romanian Government will offer to the region, capacity building courses in areas such as diplomacy and disaster preparedness/mitigation. All present agreed to the continuation of dialogue.
Minister Henfield was accompanied by former Ambassador to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Captain Godfrey Rolle, MFA, and Captain Stephen Russell, the Director of NEMA.
L-R Secretary- General to #CARICOM Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, His Excellency Teodor Melescanu, Romanian Foreign Minister and The Hon. Darren Henfield, Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman, Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) at a press conference after the signing the MOU between the Caribbean Community and the Government of Romania.
Minister Henfield (front row) former Ambassador to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Captain Godfrey Rolle, (2nd row) and Captain Stephen Russell, the Director of NEMA (3rd row).