Local and regional Pan-Africanists and socialist groups have lashed out at United States President Donald Trump for offensive comments he reportedly made about Africa nations, Haiti and elsewhere during an Oval Office meeting last Thursday.
Trump has since denied describing certain nations in the vulgar terms he was accused of using.
However, in a strongly worded “declaration” issued on behalf of the people of the Caribbean, President of the Clement Payne Movement David Comissiong said the US president was no longer welcomed to the region.
“We, the undersigned representatives of the sovereign people of the Caribbean, hereby declare that president Donald Trump of the United States of America is persona non grata in our Caribbean region,” Comissiong said as he read from the statement that was prepared by the “Pan-Africanist and socialist popular forces of the Caribbean nation of Barbados”.
Comissiong told journalists today that the declaration was submitted to “the people and civil society organizations of the Caribbean for their endorsement and adoption” last Saturday and has since received about 200 signatures from 17 nations, including embattled Venezuela.
The declaration states that “any insult or attack that is directed at the African continent or at the Republic of Haiti is intrinsically an insult and attack that is directed at us as well”.
“We, the people of the Caribbean, have determined that by describing the nations of Africa, the Republic of Haiti and Central American nation of El Salvador as ‘shit hole countries’, US president Donald Trump has committed a despicable and unpardonable act of anti-Black, anti-African, anti-Brown racism that has served to further energize and fortify the vile White supremacy system that the said president Trump has self-consciously sought to champion and lead,” said a passionate Comissiong.
“We, the sovereign people of the Caribbean, hereby declare to the entire world that we vehemently and unreservedly denounce president Donald Trump and the evil and inhumane White supremacy value system that he represents,” he added.
Pointing out that Trump’s latest alleged comments were “not isolated”, the attorney-at-law said the declaration signalled that Caribbean people were prepared to engage in “popular demonstrations” designed to prevent Trump from entering any of the sovereign Caribbean nations.
The declaration, which has been placed on several social media sites, is currently available in four different languages.
It came on the heels of a statement issued by the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) bloc in which it stated that it was deeply disturbed by the “derogatory and repulsive language” by the US president.
Despite Trump’s subsequent denial, CARICOM said it “condemns in the strongest terms, the unenlightened views reportedly expressed”.
In a separate statement issued at the weekend, University of the West Indies Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles said the US owed a debt of gratitude to the Caribbean, and the Haitian nation in particular for illuminating America’s way out of its colonial darkness.
“This is the debt president Trump’s America owes Toussaint L’Ouverture’s Haiti. It’s a debt of philosophical clarity and political maturity. It’s a debt of how to rise to its best human potential. It’s a debt of exposure to higher standards. Haiti is really America’s Statue of Liberty,” Sir Hilary said.
“The president’s truth making troops might not know, and probably care little for the fact that Haitian people were first in this modern world to build a nation completely free of the human scourge of slavery and native genocide. It might be worthless in their world view that Haiti’s leadership made the Caribbean the first civilization in modernity to criminalize and constitutionally uproot such crimes against humanity and to proceed with sustainability to build a nation upon the basis of universal freedom [but] the tale of their two constitutions tells this truth,” he added while pointing out that “the American Independence Declaration of 2nd July, 1776, reinforced slavery as the national development model for the future, [compared to] the Haitian Independence Declaration, 1st January, 1804, [which] defined slavery a crime and banished it from its borders.
“Haiti, then, became the first nation in the world to enforce a provision of personal democratic freedom for all, and did so at a time when America was deepening its slavery roots,” the Barbadian academic said.
But while stating that the Pan-African movement recognized the “constraints under which institutions like CARICOM and the University of the West Indies operate”, Comissiong said their statements were simply “not enough in a situation like this”.
He insisted that “Mr Trump’s egregious insult and attack . . . requires an action response”.
“One of the things we will do, we will petition our governments, but we are very clear that we will not content ourselves with petitioning our governments. We will also vehemently protest against any Trump visit, but we won’t stop there. We further go on to say that we have committed ourselves to engage in popular demonstrations designed to prevent president Donald Trump’s entry into any portion of the territory of our Caribbean region,” insisted Comissiong.