The Islamic Post Blog

Economic Impact of the Summit of the Americas by Khalida
May 10, 2009, 2:00 pm
Filed under: Business/Economy, Latino/Caribe, May Volume I - 2009

By Sabeerah Abdul Majied

Islamic Post Staff Writer

More than 70 world leaders participated in the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad from April 17-19, 2009. It was the first time this prestigious event has been held in the Caribbean and in a CARICOM member state. The Summit is the only forum where the 34 democratically elected Heads of State and Governments of the Western Hemisphere meet to share their vision for the development of the hemisphere. The leaders deliberated on matters related to the political, economic, social, and security challenges confronting the region. Prime Minister Manning noted in an address to parliament that the summit has implications for, “the lives of some 2.8 billion people living in the Americas and the Commonwealth.”
Critics have raised issue with the tremendous cost to the tiny Republic –$2b according to Trinidad’s Newsday– for hosting the event. However the Prime Minister believes that it is a progressive vision which could yield development, progress and greater regional integration.
Preparation for the summit progressed with the readying of official venues such as the Hyatt Regency Trinidad and the Diplomatic Centre for the event. Further, two cruise ships anchored in the Port of Spain Harbor provided additional accommodation for delegates and other international participants. National security was upgraded to meet the standard required for hosting US President Barak Obama and other heads of state. Signs of preparation were most visible at the Piarco International Airport which accommodated the largest number of non- commercial aircrafts ever to land on its runway.
The theme of the Summit, “Securing Our Citizens’ Future by Promoting Human Prosperity, Energy Security and Environmental Sustainability” focused discussions on issues related to the global economic situation, environmental management, social protection and poverty eradication. Education, public security systems and entrepreneurship was also discussed. The collective responses and agreements will inform yet another conference- the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which Trinidad will also host from November 27-29, 2009.
In 1994 the leaders of the Western Hemisphere met for the first summit in Miami on the initiative of President Clinton. Since then a 2nd summit was held in Chile (1998). This was followed by the 3rd summit in Canada (2001) and the 4th in Argentina (2005). The summits have provided a forum for sharing experiences and developing solutions to problems that affect the people of the Americas.


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