July 05, 2023

Ranking Member Castro to Meet with Caribbean Leaders During Congressional Delegation to Trinidad and Tobago

PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO – This week, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), a six-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, is accompanying Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Gregory Meeks (NY-05) and other top-ranking members of Congress on a bipartisan delegation to Trinidad and Tobago. During the visit, Congressman Castro is meeting with regional leaders from government and civil society to engage on key economic, geopolitical, and security issues and reaffirm the strong partnership between the U.S. and the Caribbean.

As part of the trip, Congressman Castro is joining Secretary of State Antony Blinken for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government Conference upon the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the organization to meet directly with leaders from Trinidad and Tobago and discuss issues including regional security, economic growth, the climate crisis, and energy.

Castro has long prioritized U.S. engagement with the Caribbean as a core focus of his work on Western Hemisphere affairs. Prior to this week’s delegation visit, he introduced the bipartisan U.S-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act, a comprehensive roadmap to modernize U.S. engagement with Caribbean nations that calls on the United States to prioritize regional issues including energy security, climate resilience, democracy, human rights, public health, food security, and illegal firearms trafficking from the U.S. to the Caribbean. Castro has also introduced the Americas Regional Monitoring of Arms Sales (ARMAS) Act, legislation that seeks to disrupt firearm trafficking from the U.S. to the Caribbean by implementing stronger transparency, accountability, and oversight mechanisms for U.S. small arms exports. To further strengthen American contributions to regional security, Castro commissioned a Government Accountability Office (GAO) probe in April of 2023 into the scope of illegal U.S. arms trafficking to Caribbean nations.

Since assuming ranking membership of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Congressman Castro has worked to further strengthen relationships between Caribbean diplomats and members of Congress. In May, he held a reception for CARICOM diplomats on Capitol Hill with the Atlantic Council and later hosted high-level meetings with Jamaican Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Smith and Ambassador Audrey Marks, in addition to Ambassador Wendall Jones of The Bahamas, Ambassador Lynn Young of Belize, and Ambassador Noel Lynch of Barbados.