Caribbean leaders react to President Obama’s re-election

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Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that he wanted Washington to re-direct its focus in the Caribbean to developmental issues. (File photo)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday November 7, 2012 – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries Wednesday said they were looking forward to continued good relationship between the United States and the Caribbean following the re-election of President Barack Obama.

Obama, the first Black ever to occupy the White House, scored a convincing victory in Tuesday presidential election by winning more than 300 Electoral College as against 206 for his main challenger Mitt Romney of the Republican Party.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said he had already sent off a congratulatory message to President Obama and his running mate, Vice President Joe Biden on their “overwhelming victory”.

Gonsalves described president Obama, who first won the presidential elections in 2008, as a “friend of St. Vincent and the Grenadines…and the Caribbean.

“We want to strengthen our links and throughout the region and certainly here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines there is a sense of joy at his very impressive election victory,” he said, adding “we are sure in his next four years as president of the United States that the bonds of friendship would be strengthened”.

In his congratulatory message, Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that he wanted Washington to re-direct its focus in the Caribbean to developmental issues.

“”Clearly this was a keenly contested elections, one which was clearly divided as we all witnessed, but the people of the United States have spoken and they have decided in a very large fashion that President Obama is the person they would like to lead the United States for the next four years.

“The relationship between the United States and Dominica continues to be strong, based on mutual respect…we work very diligently on matters relating to regional security and we look forward to advancing those efforts.

“Clearly, the US focus is on anti terrorism matters and they moved away from issues relating to development in the region. But I am hoping that the new term of President Obama there would be some kind of re-direction towards developmental issues,” Skerrit said.

He said that the election had also sent a message to the opposition bent on criticising without providing solutions.

“By simply saying we should spend more here and you should do more other there is not really the basis on which someone should elect you and I think what Obama has been doing for the United States in terms of addressing the matters of the economy …recognises there is no quick fix…”

“So there are lessons for many of us in the region and our hope is that the US can get back its work as quickly as possible because the continuation of the situation in America in so far as the economy is concerned, so far as the high jobless rates will continue to affect us in the region.

“So it is in our interest to ensure that …the US economy bounces back as quickly as possible,” he added.

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas in a congratulatory letter to President Obama said that the American people hade “reaffirmed their faith and confidence in your vision, your leadership and your ability to move the country forward in the face of differences and diversity.

“Your diligence, tenacity, and fervour of the first four years have inspired them to believe that indeed, “the best is yet to come”. You have been afforded a great opportunity to pursue your goal of building on the progress you have begun, reaching across the aisle to build consensus for the common good.”

Dr. Douglas said that the infectious sentiment of hope with which Obama began his first term has returned to infuse the road ahead and “although destined to be beset by immense challenges, I believe that this spirit of optimism will pervade during the coming years, contributing to a legacy of hope at the end of your tenure as the first African American President of the great United States of America”.

The St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister said that the entire region was looking forward to improved relations with Washington particularly through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative and similar cooperation programmes.

“The global challenges which continue to confront us can only be surmounted together and as hemispheric counterparts, let us recommit to the tasks ahead to ensure that our shared destiny will remain stable, secure and peaceful,” he added.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Kamla Persad Bissessar in a brief message texted to a local newspaper said Obama had “earned his re-election” noting “he remained grounded in the politics of hope and delivery to the people.

“Congrats President Obama, Obama lives on,” she added.

Guyana’s President said Obama had won a “hard fought and well deserved victory” while Prime Minister Samuel Hinds said that Georgetown was looking forward to continued good relationship with Washington. (CMC)

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