A prominent political activist is questioning the timing of a scathing US travel advisory on Barbados, contending a strangely coincidence with Barbados leading CARICOM’s diplomatic intervention in the Venezuelan crisis.
According to David Denny, Barbados has always channelled its foreign policy by the Errol Barrow mantra, “friends of all and satellites of none”, and that it would not be the first time that such pressure is exerted.
Denny told journalists at the Venezuelan Embassy: “We realize that the United States of America has been putting a lot of pressure on small nations because they have been taking very aggressive positions as it relates to Venezuela. So, when a country like Barbados takes the position that they have, it is expected that they will receive some pressure. Now yesterday we see this travel advisory.”
Denny was briefing reporters about his recent visit to the strife-torn South American nation.
CARICOM has continued to oppose interventionist threats by some countries, including the US, in response to the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, warning about implications for peace within the region.
But possibly triggered by the recent uptick in gun crimes, the March 5 advisory issued on the US State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs urged its citizens not to visit Crab Hill, Ivy, Nelson Street, Wellington Street or Maxwell Coast Road – scenes of deadly gun attacks this year.
Two entertainment night spots were also listed among areas that should be avoided. The notice went on to advise “increased caution” for the St Michael areas of Black Rock, Deacons, Carrington Village, Greenfields, New Orleans and The Pine.
Denny queried the rationale behind singling out these communities, including an integral section of the tourist belt.
Barbados TODAY yesterday contacted the US Embassy in Wildey to clarify the rationale for the advisory and the singling out of the above-mentioned areas. Embassy officials had promised to respond to queries by today, no response has so far been received.
The advisory and the ensuing concern have been dismissed by Attorney General Dale Marshall as much ado about nothing.
Declaring that the US issues travel advisories for each country as a matter of course, Marshall said Barbados still enjoys the US Government’s lowest risk assessment. The advisory went viral on social media but this morning the Attorney General sought to assure Barbadians that the country’s safety record was not in jeopardy.
But Denny contends that if the advisory is indeed an attempt to force support for Washington’s policy in Venezuela, Caribbean nation’s must remain united as they have the most to lose.
“The United States will try to put pressure on developing nations, and they would use these things like travel advisories and all these kinds of things,” he stressed. “I think if the Caribbean people maintain their position and solidarity with Venezuela our Governments will continue to remain on that path.”