Good afternoon everyone. I am happy to be in lovely Tobago once again and I am glad you are here to share this special occasion with us. Your presence underscores our commitment to work together as governments and as public and private sector partners. We are neighbors, friends, and family: we share the principles of democracy, economic ties, cultural linkages, and familial bonds. It is moments like today how we showcase what we can achieve together.
Senior officials and private sector representatives of the U.S. Government and Trinidad and Tobago Government joined other leaders from the Western Hemisphere last month in Los Angeles for the Ninth Summit of the Americas based on the theme: “Building a Sustainable, Resilient and Equitable Future.” During the summit, hemispheric leaders responded to our region’s most pressing issues, including climate adaptation and citizen security. The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes the unique and evolving climate and security challenges facing Caribbean countries and nations, and we are committed to working together on solutions.
One of the ways the United States is working on these challenges is through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative – commonly known as CBSI. Through CBSI, we partner with 13 Caribbean countries to reduce illicit trafficking, improve citizen safety and security, and prevent youth crime and violence.
The CBSI program helps countries build institutional capacity across their intelligence, crime, justice, and corrections institutions to make all of us safer, promote domestic and regional cooperation to combat transnational criminal threats, reduce violent crime, implement justice sector reform, and reduce and deter corruption.
Through CBSI and our other initiatives, the U.S. Embassy will continue to recognize the specific areas where we can advance our shared bilateral strategic interests with this twin-island republic, and especially Tobago. In the past year, we partnered with the Ministry of Health to deliver medical ventilators to Tobago to help the severely ill during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also worked with the Tobago Emergency Management Authority to provide equipment that bolsters Tobago’s disaster preparedness and with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, or TTPS, in Tobago to build their capacity to investigate white-collar crimes.
Today, I am pleased that we have this special opportunity to positively impact both climate change and citizen security. This is a project to demonstrate what is possible, and to showcase how the specific actions we take in our daily lives can reduce the footprint we leave on the environment. This project is also a chance to improve community safety for citizens and visitors, to build trust between communities and law enforcement, to demonstrate that we can achieve more when our governments and private sectors work together, and also to educate and inspire.
To borrow the phrase from the Tobago Tourism Agency, “Tobago beyond Ordinary,” we sought to go beyond the ordinary in finding an innovative way to work with the Tobago police to enhance security and encourage more people to visit Tobago to discover its world-renowned beauty while harnessing the friendliness, authenticity, and warmth of the Tobagonian people.
With that inspiration, today we are providing the Tourism Oriented Police of the TTPS 12 law enforcement electric bicycles funded by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, or INL. These RECON eBikes, which are also used by U.S. military, federal agencies, and municipal police departments, will assist the Tourism Oriented Police unit to patrol larger areas more frequently, and improve their response time to an incident. The American Chamber of Commerce, and in particular Amerijet, partnered with INL to fund two portable solar powered eBike charging stations, one which will be deployed here at Shirvan, and the other at the Roxborough Police Station. These units can store and charge enough solar energy to power eight eBikes, including four at a time, in under two and a half hours. We look forward to seeing the Tourism Oriented Police officers on the road and keeping safe citizens and visitors as they enjoy Tobago’s world class destinations and hospitality.
We work with the TTPS and all Trinidad and Tobago national security agencies because we are again neighbors, friends, and family and we help to keep each other safe. The U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain and the TTPS have a partnership build on trust, friendship, and mutual interest- we are eager build on that friendship.
We look forward to continuing to collaborate on initiatives that advance our shared climate change, security, and law enforcement goals, and strengthen the strategic bilateral relationship between our two countries, including Tobago. Thank you and I wish everyone a pleasant afternoon.