St Vincent and Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is not mincing his words about the recent meeting with five Caribbean Heads of Government with United States President Donald Trump.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Bahamas Prime Minister, Dr Hubert Minnis, President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, President of Haiti, Jovenel Moise and Prime Minister of St Lucia, Allen Chastanet met with Trump on Friday to discuss Venezuela and energy.
Speaking with reporters at Government Headquarters Saturday evening after a LIAT stakeholders meeting, Gonsalves described the visit with the Caribbean delegation as “troubling”.
He pointed out that there was no true representation of CARICOM as the current chairman of CARICOM, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis Dr Timothy Harris was not invited to the meeting. Neither were the members of the CARICOM advisory committee comprising of Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Trinidadian Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley or Gonsalves himself.
“None of those persons were invited and for it to be a true CARICOM representation you must at least have the chairman so that any discussion of Venezuela in that context . . . it cuts across the agreement mechanisms that we have put in place,” Gonsalves said.
CARICOM, Mexico and Uruguay have signed on to the Montevideo Mechanism , which promotes peace and dialogue amongst the political alignments in Venezuela. The CARICOM states have identified themselves as a Zone of Peace.
While referring to the actions of the US as “a creeping coup d’etat” against a legitimate government, Gonsalves said that CARICOM will not fall victim to the entrapping of others.
“We in CARICOM have to be very alive to the mischief that some persons may be up to , to seek to divide us in a manner which we ought not to be divided and therefore reduce the extent of our work,” he contended.
Broaching on the Venezuelan Petro Caribe preferential arrangement which has been ceased due to the sanctions imposed on Venezuela, Gonsalves contended that it would be “ridiculous” for the 17 Caribbean states to abide by an energy agreement by self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido.
“It is entirely ridiculous that you bring something to an end through sanctions and then the beneficiary politically, Mr Guiado is going to offer an energy agreement. We look stupid or something?”
“We are not supporting the principles of non-intervention and non-interference and no threats or force or sanctions. We are not holding a position on these things because we have a Petro agreement. We are doing so because of high principle and our commitment to international law,” he further added.
Gonsalves said a video conference will be held at Accra Beach Resort with the Canadian Government acting as an interlocutor for the Caribbean Governments to speak to Guaido and his representatives.
“I just want to keep CARICOM viable and I don’t have to try and make the CARICOM civilization great again we are an alive civilization of legitimacy. We have a history of achievement and we have a trajectory for ennoblement. We are not better than anybody and nobody is better than us and you must not try to divide us.” (KK)