Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, The Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar visited London recently for a two day visit to attend the Commonwealth Economic Partnerships Forum organized by Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) on the 13th - 14th October 2010, at The Guildhall.
Persad-Bissessar said she inherited the trip from former prime minister Patrick Manning, who served as head of the Commonwealth. Trinidad and Tobago assumed the position of chair in 2009 under the former People's National Movement Government, led by Patrick Manning. In her capacity as current chair of the Commonwealth, a grouping of 54 states, Persad-Bissessar is expected to address the opening session of the forum and participate in its business deliberations over the two days.
The forum was expected to promote high level interface between Commonwealth and international leaders from government and business. The Commonwealth Business Council was established in 1997 with a direct mandate from Commonwealth Heads of Government to promote trade and investment amongst Commonwealth countries and bridge the gap between the public and private sectors.
During her visit, Mrs Persad Bissessar and her team including Ministers Rambachan and Cadiz, met on Friday with the British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Minister Hague, to discuss relations between the Caribbean and the UK.
Prime Minister Bissessar raised the issue of the Air Passenger Duty (APD), the role of the Commonwealth to smaller nations while emphasising the need to ensure "common wealth" in the Commonwealth, especially since some 700 million people live on $1 US per day and the matter of strengthening of UK/Caribbean relations.
Both Prime Minister Cameron and Foreign Minister Hague were impressed with the strength of the argument put forward by Prime Minister Bissessar on the issue of the Air Passenger Duty and have given a commitment to impress upon the Treasury to revisit the level of these duties.