by Linda Straker
- Summit of the Americas scheduled for 6-19 June in Los Angeles
- Biden Administration wants every Head of Government to attend Summit
- First summit held in 1994 during Clinton Administration
Former US Senator Christopher Dodd, who is the Special Advisor for the 9th Summit of the Americas which is scheduled to take place in Los Angeles from 6-19 June 2022, is hopeful that one of the Heads of Government that he will meet before the Summit is Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell.
Dodd, who was on a regional visit from 18-21 April met with several regional Heads. During that trip, he spoke with the heads of Governments of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Haiti.
During a news conference on Thursday, 28 April, Dodd told regional journalists that “I hope I can soon meet with the leaders of Grenada and St Kitts.” He explained the purpose of the trip, to discuss with the Heads matters that are important to them. “I made it my mission to listen to the Caricom Heads of Government to hear what is on their minds and the minds of their constituents; what matters to them, and how we can ensure that the Summit beginning about a month from now, its agenda reflects the priorities of the Caribbean.”
“I told them that I wanted to be a good listener because the first step of this process is to listen carefully to what people have to say, so it was that in mind that we had these conversations over the 2 days.” Dodd served as the United States Senator from Connecticut from 1981 to 2011 and in the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 1981. He told journalists that there are several items that are of importance to President Biden and his administration for the upcoming Summit and the words sustainable, resilience, and equitable are of high priority. “These words are describing what we hope the summit will strive to be. There are a lot of issues specifically under that heading and we will be talking about that at the summit. The whole idea is for us to come together… It’s a critically important Summit and here we will be doing it again, this time in Los Angeles,” he said.
The Biden Administration wants every Head of Government to attend the Summit. “We need everyone to attend. We want to amplify the voice of our Caricom countries. These 14 nations can have a huge influence on the agenda of the summit and so we need to make sure that people are going to be there,” he said.
The Summits of the Americas are institutionalised gatherings of the heads of state and government of the Western Hemisphere where leaders discuss common policy issues, affirm shared values, and commit to concerted actions at the national and regional level to address continuing and new challenges faced in the Americas.
The first was held in 1994 during the Bill Clinton Administration. Among the issues identified to be on the agenda for the 2022 Summit as matters affecting Caricom are climate change, effects of the pandemic, and natural disasters such as hurricanes.