Washington, D.C. -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed the New York Conference on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM ) today via live video conference. Below are her remarks:
“It is a privilege to speak again to the leaders of our Caribbean neighbors. One year ago, I welcomed many of you to the Capitol; now we greet you from the Ways and Means Committee Room - the Committee chaired by Congressman Charlie Rangel.
“As I am sure you know, you have no better friend or advocate in the Congress than Chairman Rangel. And what a powerful friend you have…just yesterday, Congress overrode the President's veto of the Farm Bill, and it is now law.
“The Farm Bill included several provisions that are critical to our shared partnership and are law because of Chairman Rangel's persistence and leadership.
“In our negotiations with the Senate, Chairman Rangel was able to build on his work to revitalize Haiti's economy by expanding and streamlining the HOPE Act. These provisions, also known as HOPE II, will help Haiti's economy at a pivotal time by spurring new investment and creating new jobs.
“The Farm Bill also included a timely extension of the Caribbean Basin Initiative for two years, so that Haiti can continue to attract investment in vital economic sectors. These types of initiatives promote economic ties between our nations.
“As you meet in New York City today to explore innovative ways to attract investment and capital in order to promote increased economic growth in the Caribbean, you are in fact strengthening our entire region.
“The relationship between the United States and our Caribbean neighbors is based on our shared interest of stability in the region, prosperity and democratic values.
“Central to those interests is education. Today you are discussing how to best promote and increase educational opportunities for your children. I salute your efforts to correct the gender imbalance in education, upgrade teacher education, and thus, ensure your economic competitiveness long into the future.
“I am particularly honored to address you during Caribbean American Heritage Month. This gathering, initiated by Chairman Rangel, is just one more example of his longstanding commitment to promoting stronger ties with the Caribbean.
“I wish that I could be with you again this year. I am truly sorry that Chairman Rangel cannot be with you. But, especially when Congress is in session, Charlie Rangel is indispensible. Thank you.