St. Lucian Prime Minister Allen Chastanet
St. Lucian Prime Minister Allen Chastanet (Wikimedia Commons)

A Florida-Caribbean conference will take place in the United States this year, aimed at integrating the region’s lobbying efforts in Washington, said St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.

He announced during a news conference last week that the initiative will be held in early December and had been discussed and endorsed by regional leaders during the annual CARICOM summit that ended in St. Lucia on July 5.

“The governor of Florida, the senators of Florida, the congresspersons, both of the Democrat and the Republican parties, and also the mayor of Miami have endorsed this conference,” Chastanet said. “The expectation is that at a very high level that we can start integrating with the Florida politicians and assist us in our lobbying efforts in Washington.”

Chastanet said Florida was chosen “because it is a state where we have the greatest amount of economic impact.”

“In fact, almost 80 cents of every dollar that a U.S. tourist spends in our region goes back to America and so between the airlines, cruise ships, the same natural disasters that are affecting us are also affecting Florida,” he said.

Chastanet said the same issues and sources of crime with regard to drug trafficking “are coming in the same region, so there are a lot of synergies to be had by both groups in terms of working together and I guess the last one, which is a critical one, is that the Caribbean diaspora is significant in Florida.”

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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