Strengthening of United States CARICOM Partnership

Embassy of the United States of America         

100 Duke & Young Streets, Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana   

Building on the strong partnership with CARPHA and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the United States—through the United States Agency for International Development—announced $2.5 million in urgent COVID-19 assistance for countries in the Eastern Caribbean region, The Bahamas, Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago. This assistance will provide support for the operational costs of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, outreach activities to reduce vaccine hesitancy in collaboration with local influencers and celebrities, vaccine hesitancy surveys, and equipment procurement to support the development of COVID-19 vaccine information systems, laboratory detection and vaccine storage.

Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown, Mark Cullinane, announced the funding during a review of the USAID/CARICOM regional strategy on October 21.  He remarked that “This review speaks to the level of importance that the United States holds CARICOM as a strategic partner in the global COVID-19 response and advancing health security in the Caribbean..the United States will work proudly alongside our regional partners, PAHO, UNICEF, CARPHA and CARICOM in efforts to mitigate and eliminate the effects of the pandemic in Guyana and the wider Caribbean.”

USAID Regional Representative for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, Clinton. D. White, noted that “the new funding will also respond to urgent gaps in COVID-19 case management such as procuring oxygen, laboratory equipment, and other critical items to help reduce deaths from COVID-19 in Caribbean countries.”

CARICOM, Secretary General, Dr. Carla Barnett, expressed appreciation for this assistance, particularly on behalf of those CARICOM those Member States who would benefit, noting that “no Member State has been spared from this deadly virus and its devastating impact on the health and wellbeing of their citizens and their respective economies”. She anticipated that the resources, will assist the Member States “to intensify their logistical arrangements and communications to further support vaccine readiness while countering vaccine hesitancy and disinformation, which we anticipate will increase the numbers of persons vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus”.

This additional assistance from the historic American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 builds on the previous COVID-19 support provided to Caribbean countries. USAID has provided nearly $63 million in COVID-19 assistance to the Caribbean, including nearly $7.45 million specifically to the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, since the beginning of the pandemic to address the health, humanitarian, and economic impacts of COVID-19.

USAID’s COVID-19 assistance to Caribbean countries is helping to deliver vaccines and get shots in arms, expand access to COVID-19 testing and treatment, protect and train health workers, deliver life-saving health commodities and equipment, share reliable public health information, and safeguard global health security.