Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM David Comissiong is supporting Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s decision not to send Foreign Minister Senator Dr Jerome Walcott to a meeting between Caribbean leaders and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jamaica on Tuesday.
In a statement to the press, Comissiong said Prime Minister Mottley, the Chair of CARICOM, took the correct position in maintaining that if all CARICOM member of states were not invited, Barbados could not in all good conscience, accept an invitation to attend.
He said Barbados was not showing any animosity or disrespect to anyone, but simply carrying out a leadership duty in the overall best interest of CARICOM.
“Mr Trump pulled this type of stunt last year with his invitation of four specially-selected and invited CARICOM Prime Ministers to Trump’s private property in Florida, much to the chargin and suspicion of several of the other leaders and Governments of CARICOM. A chargin and suspicion that actually manifested in several charged public statements,” he said.
Comissiong said no one should expect that Barbados, charged with the responsibility for protecting the interests of the organization, to join Pompeo and six American selected CARICOM countries, in repeating an exercise that has already caused unhealthy distress, divisions, suspicions and tensions in the regional organisation.
“And particularly when Mr Pompeo and the US State Department have already made it clear what agenda they will be pursuing in the Caribbean in relation to Luis Almagro/OAS, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, etc,” he said.
“One of the fundamental missions of CARICOM is to deal with powerful third world? countries not as individual Small Island States, but as a unified, collective of 15 nations. By doing so, we forge ourselves into a much stronger bargaining unit, and are better able to withstand the pressures that many big nations apply when they are conducting their foreign affairs. So we in CARICOM should always strive for unity and collective action,” he added.
Addressing a gala to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the late Prime Minister of Barbados Errol Walton Barrow, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre last Saturday night, Prime Minister Mottley warned of attempts to divide the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping.
“We don’t look to pick fights. I don’t look to pick fights, but I am conscious that if this country does not stand for something, then it with fall for anything. As chairman of CARICOM, it is impossible for me to agree that my Foreign Minister should attend a meeting with anyone to which members of CARICOM are not invited. If some are invited and not all, then it is an attempt to divide this region,” Mottley said.