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The Caricom-Saudi Summit

LettersThe Caricom-Saudi Summit

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Dear Editor:

In reference to Marco Lopez’ comment, “COP28—One Week Down; One to Go”, published in the Amandala on December 10th, 2023, which was very informative, I believe that a significant part of the context, necessary for a fuller understanding of the overall outcomes/benefits flowing from COP28, was missing. The following, the substance of a report adapted from CARIBBEAN LIFE, a weekly newspaper which caters to the need for news from the Caribbean by West Indians here in Gotham City, should repair this defect. It is estimated that some 1¼ million of our commune are West Indians or of West Indian ancestry. So, whatever happens across the Caribbean resonates loudly in this City—like the recent gathering of Caribbean leaders at what the paper labeled the CARICOM SAUDI SUMMIT, one of many side-shows that played out in the shadows of COP28 held recently in Saudi Arabia.

A staff writer for the news magazine goes behind the marquees, highlighting trade and climate change at the just concluded Partners Conference, in search of a Saudi motive that gave rise to their sponsorship of the large delegation of Caricom reps; and he thinks he got it—the 2030 World Expo. See, the Saudis, according to Caribbean Life, were competing with Italy and South Korea (after Russia and Ukraine withdrew) for this mega billion-dollar event which, more than the money, would bring them a much-needed international diplomatic facelift. The Caricom tote bag had 14 votes, which Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud needed when the UN made the final choice. So did the group’s Secretary General, who was one of the delegation’s members. In return, then, for unloading the contents of their tote bags into the lap of the Saudis, the regional leaders got to tap into a Saudi 30-billion dollar soft loan development fund. On November 29th, Riyadh was chosen as the venue for the 2030 bashment.

Sounds like a good deal all around: the Saudis got their wish and the Caricom delegation’s tote bags were restocked. With Saudi cash. It is hoped that our other friends who are not in love with the Saudis don’t begin to look askance at us who appear to be.

Hart Tillett
Gotham City

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