On Wednesday April 27th, the law firm of Sidley Austin LLP hosted a discussion on “Caribbean-U.S. Relations Following the Election of President Donald Trump”. The event was sponsored by the Women’s Bar Association, Sidley Austin LLP, Magna Legal Services and Thomson Reuters Pangea3. The esteemed panelists discussed "hot button" issues that have arisen, and are likely to arise, in Caribbean-U.S. relations in the wake of a new U.S. administration under President Donald Trump.
The event featured Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, U.S. Congressman for the 8th District of Queens and Brooklyn, New York; H.E. Audrey Marks, Ambassador of Jamaica; Dr. Wayne Frederick, President of Howard University in Washington D.C; Mr. Aaron Manaigo, Managing Partner with Global Political Solutions; Mr. Jerry Butler, Executive Director with Inter-American Development Bank; and Ms. Sally Yearwood, Executive Director with the Caribbean Central American Action. The discussion was moderated by Jan Yves Remy, Associate with Sidley Austin, and Simone Williams, Managing Attorney with Williams Global Law.
More than 100 guests attended this “Caribbean Night” event, including members of the White House and Diplomatic core. Notable guests in attendance included Ashley Bell, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State; Brad Freden, Director of Office of Caribbean Affairs, U.S. Department of State; H.E. Lou-Ann Gilchrist, Ambassador of St. Vincent and The Grenadines; H.E. Selwin Hart, Ambassador of Barbados; and H.E. Michael Moussa-Adamo, Ambassador of Gabon.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries opened the event with remarks on the state of Caribbean – U.S. relations. Rep. Jeffries’ district represents one of the largest Caribbean-American community in the United States. Ambassador Marks discussed opportunities for Caribbean diaspora engagements and trade relations between the regions. Dr. Frederick, spoke on Caribbean-U.S. relations in terms of education and immigration, in particular, the impact of immigration on education access, as well as the impact of deportation on crime-ridden areas in the Caribbean. During his remarks, Dr. Frederick honored the partnership between Howard University and the Women’s Bar Association and noted that Howard will have a slate of all African-American women receiving honorary degrees at the university’s commencement ceremony this year the first time in the 150-year history of the university. Mr. Manaigo discussed recommended strategies for Caribbean-Americans to engage with the Republican Administration. Mr. Butler discussed economic opportunities in the Caribbean, including foreign direct investments, public-private partnerships, renewable energy solutions, as well as opportunities with the Inter-American Development Bank. The discussion was concluded by Ms. Yearwood, who spoke on the United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act of 2016 (H.R. 4939) and hot topics in banking, Haiti and Cuba.
The successful Caribbean Night ended with a lively networking reception, which included Caribbean snacks, drinks and some of the finest Caribbean rums.