If the president of the borough of Brooklyn followed instructions from the president of Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry,(CACCI) the president of the United States will already know that the Caribbean community wants to be included in his speeches.
“Please tell President Barack Obama that we want him to revisit the CBI (Caribbean Basin Initiative) and that he should mention the Caribbean in his speeches,” Roy A. Hastick said to BP Marty Markowitz Thursday as he hurried off to meet the newly-re-elected leader.
The two-pronged request pleaded for consideration of “the unilateral and temporary U.S. program which came into effect on Jan.1, 1984 and aimed to provide several tariff and trade benefits to 17 Caribbean countries.”
Its intention was to “facilitate the economic development and export diversification of the Caribbean Basin economies.
“The CBI currently provides beneficiary countries with duty-free access to the U.S. market for most goods.”
Those countries include: Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.
Hastick proposed that the BP broach the issue on behalf of Caribbean residents who comprise a major population in the borough.
He also asked that whenever the president of the United States makes speeches to the nation that he would should also include the Caribbean populous.
Here on a brief visit to survey damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, President Obama was slated to be met by the borough president for a helicopter tour of the affected areas.
“I promise you if I get a one-on-one I will definitely deliver your message,” the vociferous Kings County leader responded.
Hastick’s message to the president was endorsed by representatives from the CARICOM Consular Corps –Consul Generals of Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia, Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique – as well as the diverse grouping of immigrants that identified their specific countries of concern included: St. Martin, Guyana, St. Vincent, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti.
CACCI’s founder endorsed the results of the national election but mostly spoke about disaster relief and challenged the community to co-operate.
Markowitz thanked CACCI for donating thousands of socks, blankets, scarves and cleaning material. Amidst stacked boxes of donations in the background waiting for pick-up and delivery to Zone A victims in need of basic items, the BP made a pit-stop to Borough Hall in order to support the Caribbean business breakfast.
Scheduled to convene a recovery session to aid small business owners, home owners and victims of the hurricane, the session invited guest speakers which included medical experts, bankers, representatives of the Small Business Association, City Council members Jumanee Williams and Matthieu Eugene, President William Pollard of Medgar Evers College and specialists in real estate etc.
Each offered poignant information on how to ease the burden caused by the unprecedented disaster.
“Some insurance companies are doing the wiggly,” the Borough President said.
“We have set up shop right here (at Borough Hall) with lawyers to help store owners.”
“We are also following up with FEMA inspectors.”
He urged residents of the borough to stop into Borough Hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays to take advantage of the free help from professionals who will be present on those specific days.
Before leaving the gathering the BP gave an overview of damage caused by the storm.
“Fairway is gone,” he said of the Red Hook shopping establishment however, ”we will rebuild and recover.”
He asked that Brooklyn residents urge Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer to request waivers required for loans. He said postponement of the principal should begin two years after the loan is made and not immediately, in order to help the needy.
“We are all accustomed to hurricanes but like snow in the northeast you never get used to it,” Herman G. Lamont, chairman of the diplomatic corps said.
He assured Caribbean nationals “we know many of you lost documents don’t worry, we will work with you when this is over and you will not even have to come to Manhattan to see us we will come to you.”