Arrindell: Establish Economic Ties with Israel
Businessman and representative of the Downstreet Business Council Greg Arrindell, recently attended a conference in Barbados organized by the Israeli government, where Israel is seeking closer ties with the Caribbean. Arrindell was invited by St. Maarten Pastor Orlando Wilson, who is the Chairman of a church organization affiliated with CARICOM. At the conference he had the chance to participate in discussions where the benefits of closer economic ties between Israel and the Caribbean were highlighted. He suggested that considering the history between Israel and the Caribbean, especially since some islands like Barbados served as a haven for the Jewish people during years of persecution by their global enemies, Israel is interested in fostering those ties.
(From left) CILC Legal Representative Lemuel Rawlins with the Ambassador for St. Maarten Gregory Arrindell
Arrindell pointed to the several areas that Israel is seeking closer cooperation with the Caribbean, including: sustainability, development, security, technology, trade of food, construction and opportunity for aid. On the issue of security, Arrindell noted the focus was not just on defense, but cyber security, which Israel has achieved great advancements. On the issue of food, Arrindell noted that Israel, despite the challenges has been able to develop agriculture rapidly and could share this expertise with the Caribbean. “They were able to become very creative in developing the necessary technology by also developing the necessary strategies to be able to provide food for themselves,” Arrindell said.
On the matter of construction, Mr. Arrindell pointed to the development of technologies by Israel to advance the construction of homes. This knowledge, Arrindell said, Israel is willing to share with their Caribbean partners. “They are able to very economically develop housing but also to develop structures that will be able to become a very great opportunity for us and for our people to use this expertise, and our funding partners to help develop and provide these kinds of development for people,” Arrindell said.
Arrindell believes a relationship between Israel and the Caribbean will bring great benefits for the region. “We don’t have to go around the world to look for aid no more. It is now the greatest opportunity for our people to identify, to establish the rights and to be able to execute these projects once they can put the necessary plan of approach…and the seven major companies that were there (at the conference) are able to develop directly the relationship to make these projects become successful,” he said.
So what specific benefits are there for a relationship between St. Maarten and Israel? What does St. Maarten has to offer that could be of benefit to Israel? Well for one, according to Arrindell, the Dutch Caribbean has one of the oldest synagogues in the Caribbean, which establishes a relationship between Israel and the Dutch part of the Kingdom. “The relationship that the Jews have had and also the people of Israel (with the Dutch Caribbean) gives us an opportunity to use this relationship to be able to partner with them and to bring the necessary economic development but also to provide the jobs, provide the necessary training and also to provide the necessary service to cater to the needs of our people,” Arrindell said.