Haiti Tech Summit draws over 500 participants, high profile Silicon Valley reps
Cote de Arcadins, Haiti June 8, 2017 – Over 100 speakers, including representatives from tech powerhouses such as Airbnb, Facebook, Google and Uber joined more than 450 attendees in the first Haiti Tech Summit hosted for two days on the country’s western region this week.
The summit was the brainchild of Haiti-American tech entrepreneur Christine Souffrant Ntim who developed a mobile app to help tourists find street vendors. Keynote speaker on the opening night was Ben Horowitz of Andreesen Horowitz while Haiti’s President, Jovonel Moise and former Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis also addressed guests. Panels at the summit covered entrepreneurship, branding and developing smart cities.
Ntim has a 13-year plan for the summit which she believes is the length of time needed to transform Haiti. “We know Haiti can actually transform itself, be a new global case study for what happens when you actually get the right influences in the room to transform a nation.”
US VP Kamala Harris and PM Davis Co-Host US-Caribbean Leaders Meeting, in The Bahamas
NASSAU, The Bahamas — Vice-President of the United States Kamala Harris arrived in The Bahamas on Air Force 2, landing at Odyssey Aviation, on June 8, 2023. She became the highest-ranking sitting US official to visit The Bahamas, since its Independence in 1973. Vice-President Harris joined Prime Minister and Minister Finance the Hon. Philip Davis in co-hosting the US-Caribbean Leaders Meeting, which was held at Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Thursday.
Among those there to greet her upon her arrival were Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service the Hon. Frederick Mitchell; Minister of Education and Technical & Vocational Training the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin; Minister of State for the Public Service the Hon. Pia Glover-Rolle; US Charge d’Affaires, a.i., Ms. Usha E. Pitts; senior representatives of the Royal Bahamas Police and Defence Forces and a combined forces Colour Guard; special invited guests; civic and social group representatives; local members of her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority family; and students from a number of public and private schools.
As her convoy made its way to Paradise Island, scores of onlookers – many of them tourists who were on vacation – cheered and waved, many with cellphones in hand to capture a glimpse of the historic visit.
Before the US-Caribbean Leaders Meeting, Prime Minister Davis greeted Vice-President Harris and they were the leads in a Bilateral Meeting. Also present for that meeting were various Cabinet Ministers.
According to the Office of the Prime Minister’s social media pages, both nations reaffirmed their commitment to fortify connections and address important regional concerns by building on their prior engagements. Their dialogue also reportedly paved the way for a successful summit, later that day, with a focus on attaining goals for sustainable development and climate resilience. Topics that were discussed, according to the Prime Minister’s social media pages, were collaboration and progress on climate change, regional security, and economic development.
After the Bilateral meeting, they took part in the multilateral US-Caribbean Leaders Meeting. During his Public Opening Statement to the Press, Prime Minister Davis welcomed visiting “friends and colleagues” to The Bahamas.
“Today, we are very pleased to welcome Vice-President Harris to join our Caribbean nations,” Prime Minister Davis said. “Madam Vice-President: I believe we all feel and appreciate the depth and sincerity of your commitment to the region and to our people. We will make the most of our time together, I’m sure.
“Indeed, our discussions will cover a broad range of issues: Energy and Food Security, Climate Resilience, Development Finance and Economic Opportunity, and Regional Co-operation and Security,” he added. “The agenda is ambitious – reflecting the urgency of addressing these challenges, and the real opportunity we see to make progress.”
Prime Minister Davis pointed out that they were not “starting anew”; but were building on the work and dialogue of June 2022’s Summit of the Americas, in Los Angeles, and in regional meetings held since.
“Coming together here in The Bahamas, let us seize the moment — to accelerate and deepen our engagement, and to work together to produce tangible outcomes,” he said.
“Madam Vice-President: it has been many years since we had an official visit from a President or Vice-President of The United States,” Prime Minister Davis added. “You hosted us very graciously at the White House earlier this year, and today I have the honour of extending to you our warmest welcome.
“We look forward to working together in close partnership to build solutions and a better way forward for us all.”
During her remarks, Vice-President Harris congratulated The Bahamas and CARICOM on their respective 50th anniversaries.
She also pointed out that as neighbors, the United States shared common bonds and interests with the Caribbean nations. She added that the partnership, was essential to “our mutual security and prosperity.”
“Our nations have extensive people-to-people ties,” Vice-President Harris said. “In fact, in the United States this month, we celebrate Caribbean American Heritage Month.”
She added: “Strengthening the U.S.-Caribbean relationship is a priority for me, as it is for President Joe Biden. And these meetings have proven — I believe, at a leader level, have proven to be very important and essential to the strength of these relationships.”
Vice-President Harris noted that, regarding the “existential threat” of the climate crisis, Caribbean nations were on the front lines. She pointed out that the US and regional leaders had discussed, for example, powerful storms that can wipe out economic progress; low-lying islands that face erosion, flooding, and deadly storm surge from rising seas.
“These discussions resulted in the launch of our U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis — or, as we call it, PACC 2030 — last year at the Summit of the Americas,” she noted. “PACC 2030 is designed to help accelerate the Caribbean’s transition to clean energy and to promote energy security and climate resilience.”
Vice-President Harris stated that, since they last met in Los Angeles in 2022, the United States had helped to facilitate clean energy projects throughout the region.
She said: “I’ll offer some examples: in St. Lucia, the work that we have done thus far to deploy solar microgrids to power schools, hospitals, and water treatment plants; Dominica and St. Kitts, to develop commercial geothermal power projects; Antigua and Barbuda, to train a clean energy workforce; and the Dominican Republic, to integrate battery storage in their energy grid.”
“Our work together has also helped build capacity for disaster preparedness,” she added. “For example, the administrator of NOAA led a group of U.S. experts to Barbados to support regional resilience, including early warning systems and sharing climate information with communities.”
Vice President Harris said that they established a network of Caribbean-based scientific experts to create new climate mitigation and adaptation methods; and in Jamaica, they are helping develop a national emergency commercial infrastructure and communications infrastructure.
“Since we last met, we have also worked to bring investors to the Caribbean to identify new opportunities for clean energy infrastructure, including through trade missions,” she said. “We have provided $28 million in food security assistance. And we have invested in the Blue-Green Investment Corporation, spearheaded by Barbados, which we expect to unlock up to $210 million over three years.”
Vice-President Harris pointed out that it was her pleasure to announce additional PACC 2030 investments.
She said: “One, specifically, a $20 million investment in the Caribbean Climate Investment Program to help incentivize the private sector to partner with Caribbean nations to develop more clean energy technologies, like microgrids and energy storage systems, and to help businesses become more energy efficient in their operations.”
“And, second, a $15 million investment to support emergency response efforts and strengthen the capacity of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency,” she added. “This investment is intended to help develop new early warning systems and pre-position first aid equipment and generators.”
“As a follow-up to this convening, in fact, tomorrow the Atlantic Council and RMI are hosting a PACC 2030 summit here in Nassau,” Vice-President Harris announced. “There, we will work with these and other organizations to facilitate connections between the United States government, the private sector, NGOs, and philanthropic organizations, and officials here in the Caribbean to identify, build, and operate new clean energy projects.”
She noted that another key area of the United States’ work with the Caribbean, through PACC 2030, was to increase access to development financing. She added that, to that end, she met with the new President of the World Bank, Ajay Banga, earlier that week, and informed him that the United States will lead a diplomatic campaign on multilateral development bank reform.
“My conversations with the leaders at this table helped inform our administration’s approach,” she revealed. “We seek more available and — availability of low-cost concessional financing to nations in the Caribbean. And we believe addressing the climate crisis should be a critical part of the mission of the World Bank.
“More broadly, new debt must include disaster clauses to allow a pause on debt payments immediately following a natural disaster.”
Vice-President Harris pointed out that they wanted the bank to better mobilize the private sector in support of those goals.
“Implementation of these reforms will have a major impact on countries in the Caribbean, and we aim to achieve these key reforms by the G20 meeting this fall,” she said.
“At my invitation, President Banga will join our meeting today virtually in just a few minutes.”
Vice-President Harris said that, on the issue of security, too many people in all of their countries were dying from gun violence.
“I will reiterate that our administration is committed to disrupt gun trafficking,” she said. “We are committed to interdict shipments of arms and ammunition and hold traffickers accountable.”
“And today, I am pleased to announce that the United States Department of Justice will create a new position, a Coordinator for Caribbean Firearms Prosecutions, which will help maximize information sharing between our countries to support the prosecution of traffickers,” Vice-President Harris shared.
“This effort will be aided by the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Biden signed last year, and includes new federal criminal offenses for firearms trafficking and straw purchases,” she added.
Vice-President Harris noted that, in addition, through the U.S. law enforcement agencies, they were supporting a recently established Caribbean Crime Gun Intelligence Unit in Trinidad and Tobago to train officials in firearms investigations and help bring criminals to justice.
“And we will stand up a Haiti Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit in collaboration with the Haitian National Police to facilitate investigation and prosecution of firearms and human trafficking, which affects the entire region,” she said.
“More broadly on the issue of Haiti: First, I will say that our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones and all who have been impacted by, just this week alone, the flooding and the earthquake,” she added. “The international community must continue to support the Haitian people in light of the devastating humanitarian and security crisis in that country.”
Vice-President Harris stated that the United States supported the development of a multinational force to Haiti.
“And today I’m pleased to announce $53.7 million in new humanitarian aid for Haiti,” she added. “In addition, our administration will support the extension of HOPE-HELP trade preferences for Haiti, which are due for renewal in 2025.”
Vice-President Harris noted that, in response to “longstanding requests from our Caribbean partners”, she was pleased to announce that the Biden-Harris administration had begun to process to establish an expanded diplomatic presence in the Eastern Caribbean, including two new embassies.
She said: “In conclusion: From the climate crisis, to development financing, to security, and Haiti and diplomatic presence, we have achieved substantial progress in the last two years based on shared priorities, many of which have been formed and discussed through these convenings that we have had over the last two years.”
“We are neighbors in the Western Hemisphere,” Vice-President Harris noted. “And the security and prosperity of this region requires the type of collaboration and partnership that we have developed and continued to grow over the last two years.
“It is the full intention of our administration and the United States to continue this good work, knowing, of course, there is more to do but that progress has been made. And so, again, I thank the leaders at this table and, Mr. Prime Minister, you, again, for hosting us.”
After the Multilateral Meeting, Vice-President Harris left Paradise Island, her convoy passing more waving onlookers – and rush-hour traffic – before being greeted back at Odyssey Aviation by the Colour Guard. Minister Mitchell, Ms. Usha Pitts, representative heads of the Royal Bahamas Defence and Police Forces, and members of local US Embassy bade her farewell.
As she waved from the top of the stairs, she appeared to pause a little, to catch a glimpse of the setting sun, before she entered Air Force 2.
(BIS Photos/Eric Rose)
ROYAL CARIBBEAN GROUP ANNOUNCES GROUND-BREAKING BIOFUEL TESTING, ACCELERATING THE INDUSTRY’S ENERGY TRANSITION
Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex and Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas will be at the forefront of alternative fuel use thanks to extended sustainable biofuel tests this summer in Europe
MIAMI, June 06, 2023 – This summer, Royal Caribbean Group (NYSE: RCL) will set a new industry milestone in alternative fuel use when Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex and Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas, set sail in Europe using sustainable biofuel to meet part of the ships’ fuel needs. The landmark test will contribute critical data and research on the fuel’s capabilities and supply chain infrastructure needed to further the industry’s alternative fuel ambitions.
During the three-month test, Celebrity Apex will depart from the Port of Rotterdam and Symphony of the Seas will depart from the Port of Barcelona, using a biofuel blend that reduces the ships’ carbon emissions. The biofuel blend is produced by purifying renewable raw materials like oils and fats and combining it with fuel oil to create an alternative fuel that is cleaner and more sustainable.
“Biofuels will play an increasingly important role in achieving, not only our own, but the entire maritime sector’s decarbonization goals in the short and medium term. We take great pride in continuing to push our industry forward in exploring innovative fuel solutions that reduce carbon impact and preserve the vibrancy of the oceans we sail,” said Jason Liberty, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group.
The cruise company plans to continue increasing the use of alternative lower carbon fuel to meet the needs of its ships across the fleet. After the trials are completed this summer, Royal Caribbean Group plans to scale up the use of alternative fuels, including biofuels, across upcoming European summer sailings.
“With our sights set on a bright and sustainable future, we are committed to collaboration and innovation to ensure we deliver great vacation experiences, responsibly. With the completion of the trials our hope is to advance our ships’ ability to meaningfully reduce emissions and propel forward strategic partnerships with suppliers and ports to ensure there is sufficient availability of biofuel and infrastructures to make maritime energy transition a reality,” Liberty said.
This key step in Royal Caribbean Group’s pursuit of alternative fuels follows closely after a biofuel trial on its California-based Navigator of the Seas, became the first a cruise ship to sail from a U.S. port while using renewable diesel fuel this past fall.
With a sustainability journey that began over 30 years ago, Royal Caribbean Group has remained steadfast in its commitment to innovate, and advance, the solutions necessary for a better future. Building on a robust portfolio of technologies that improve energy efficiency, water treatment and waste management, trialing biofuels is a step that moves the company closer to achieving Destination Net Zero, its vision for net-zero emissions by 2050. To learn more about Royal Caribbean Group’s sustainability efforts, information is available at www.royalcaribbeangroup.com/sustainability.
Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas
#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.
According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues. Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.
Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”
The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.
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