CARIBBEAN LEADERS SAY PROPOSED CUTS TO THE U.S. State Department’s foreign aid budget could have serious implications for the region and the United States at a time when there is increasing concern about terrorism.
Hosted by Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-New York, and members of the Caribbean Congressional Caucus, hosted on Caribbean policy during the Trump era in New York Wednesday.
Featured speakers included Oscar Spencer, vice president of the Institute for Caribbean Studies, and Sally Yearwood, executive director of Caribbean-Central American Action, which promotes economic development.
Their talks focused on security, a bill proposing to tax remittances and the Trump administration’s recent decision to give Haitians a limited, six-month extension in the Temporary Protected Status program, potentially sending as many as 60,000 Haitians back to their country in January.
Curtis Ward, a former Jamaican ambassador to the United States said the Haitian economy cannot absorb 60,000 people in 60 months.
Most of Ward’s remarks, however, were focused on proposed U.S. aid cuts and possible implications for the United States’ third border, as the Caribbean Basin is sometimes known.
He said he fears that a proposed 28 percent reduction in the State Department’s budget would force it to slash programs like the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), introduced by President Barack Obama in 2009 to improve citizen safety throughout the Caribbean with U.S. assistance.
In addition, a proposed $800 million cut in the U.S. Treasury’s budget, he said, would “severely impact U.S. anti-money laundering” and efforts to halt terrorism financing in the Caribbean.