Black Immigrant Daily News
US Ambassador Candace Bond, third from right, takes a photo with, from left, Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon, pan arranger Lennox “Boogsie* Sharpe, soca artistes Machel Montano, Kees Dieffenthaller, Iwer George, and Minister of Forein and CARICOM Affairs Amery Browne during a reception at the Hyatt Regencey, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, on Wednesday. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale
Despite the challenges facing both countries, US ambassador to TT Candace Bond is optimistic that diplomatic ties between her country and TT can be further strengthened during her term in office.
Bond was appointed as ambassador to TT in March and succeeds Joseph Mondello who served as ambassador between October 2018 and January 2021.
Mondello died on August 1.
Before her appointment as ambassador, Bond, 57, worked as a business consultant and music industry executive and acted as vice president for Motown records.
She is the daughter of academic Anita Bond and general surgeon Dr Leslie Bond, both of whom were activists during the civil rights era.
Speaking during her feature address at her welcome reception at the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port of Spain, on Wednesday night, Bond said she was impressed by TT’s multi-cultural background and hospitality.
She said both the US and TT’s appreciation for diversity and inclusion were just two of the similarities shared by both countries and was eager to begin working with government and private-sector entities to building a more robust economy.
Bond noted that while the US faced difficulties and internal strife owing to socio-political tensions, TT’s diversity was a reminder that different segments of society can peacefully co-exist.
“Indeed the United States is an imperfect union, yet at a time when our country is polarised by so many dividing lines I am struck by the way different ethnic groups here in Trinidad and Tobago participate with each other and celebrate.
“I have talked to Catholics who celebrate Divali and Hindus who really get in the Christmas spirit.
“This rainbow nation may be what other countries are afraid of but it is truly an example of how we are all stronger together.”
Bond who graduated from Harvard University says she shares a friendship with US vice-president Kamala Harris spanning almost 40 years’ when they met as students.
Recalling the first news she received from Harris that she was being considered as ambassador to TT, Bond said she was fascinated by the foreign policy programmes initiated under the Biden-Harris administration and recognised opportunities for mutual growth and prosperity.
“She told me about the framework for the administration’s packed 2030 initiative to strengthen energy security, promote climate resilience and improve access to development finance.
“From that minute I spoke with her, I was sold and I committed right on the spot.
“As a businesswoman and a servant leader these are all areas that I have both business and community development experience. This is why I’m particularly excited about the president and vice president’s commitment to the Caribbean region and I can tell you from one to one conversations with them that they get it.
“They understand the importance of the region and that historically it has not received the attention and resources that it truly deserves. This is why I look forward to helping to support their leadership in TT.
“Rest assured TT you have good friends in the White House as we work together on issues of security, governance and inclusive programmes.”
CONGRATS!: US Ambassador Candace Bond congratulates her daughter Maddox McKeever after she was accepted into the Columbia University during a reception at the Hyatt Regencey, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, on Wednesday. – AYANNA KINSALE
Bond said one area of focus during her time as ambassador would be to enhance economic drivers through partnerships with the government and private sector bodies.
While she accepts that natural gas remains a major contributor to TT’s GDP, Bond said diversification of energy resources and shifting to more climate friendly options were also high on her priorities.
“As the United States looks to partner with countries to reduce climate impacts and bolster energy security, Trinidad and Tobago is well-positioned to help speed the development of clean energy infrastructure and climate adaptation projects in the region.
“Through strong support for improved development to financing and technical assistance, the United States can help spur TT’s transition to an even stronger economy.”
Also speaking at the reception was Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne who congratulated Bond on her appointment.
He also expressed optimism that Bond’s appointment would only open more opportunities for growth and trade with the US as an ally.
“I am fully confident that under your stewardship and with our joint commitment, the collaboration and partnership between our two nations will be taken to new heights and we will uncover new opportunities to further strengthen the bilateral relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America.”