On April 4, the Latin America Initiative at Brookings hosted the Honorable Kamla Persad-Bissessar, prime minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, for a discussion of the current and future role of the Caribbean in enhancing hemispheric relations. Persad-Bissessar specifically addressed issues such as the importance of securing both traditional and alternative sources of renewable energy in her country; the impact of the economic downturn on tourism and remittances for Trinidad and Tobago; and Caribbean coordination in response to the economic crisis and the exacerbated levels of violence in the region.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar was sworn in as the first woman to hold the office of prime minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on May 26, 2010. Persad-Bissessar began her political career in 1986 and has held the positions of attorney general, minister of legal affairs, and minister of education. She became the first appointed female leader of the opposition in 2006. Vice President Martin Indyk, director of Foreign Policy at Brookings, introduced the prime minister. Senior Fellow Mauricio Cárdenas, director of the Latin America Initiative, moderated the discussion.
After the program, the prime minister took audience questions.
I think some people are overreacting — the people who say, oh this is the end of the U.S.-China relationship as we know it. That’s not necessarily true. They could be lenient to Trump and treat Taiwan differently. We need to know a lot more and we shouldn’t pre-judge the situation but we shouldn’t trivialize it either.
I think the scratches on the oracle bone suggest that they may be more lenient with Trump than with Tsai Ing-wen. We have already seen examples of ways that Beijing is pressuring the Tsai administration because it has not complied with Beijing’s demands about the 1992 consensus.