The blogmaster has been observing the blowback to the visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Jamaica where a few countries in the region were invited to participate. Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s triggered the exchanges when she announced what any sensible person in the region should support.
I am conscious that if this country does not stand for something, then it will fall for anything,” she said. “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.
Prime Minister of Barbados – Mia Mottley
Prime Minister Holness of Jamaica gave a flowery and empty explanation in response to Prime Minister Mottley and other countries in the region that took exception to the snub by Jamaica and the USA to CARICOM. Jamaica has the right as a sovereign nation to pursue bilateral initiatives with another country – why did Holness feel compelled to state an obvious point? The issue Mr. Prime Minister Holness is that Jamaica is a member of CARICOM. What is CARICOM you may ask? Here is a snippet to serve as a reminder:
…CARICOM rests on four main pillars: economic integration; foreign policy coordination;human and social development; and security. These pillars underpin the stated objectives of our Community –
- to improve standards of living and work;
- the full employment of labor and other factors of production;
- accelerated, coordinated and sustained economic development and convergence;
- expansion of trade and economic relations with Third States;
- enhanced levels of international competitiveness;
- organization for increased production and productivity;
- achievement of a greater measure of economic leverage;
- effectiveness of Member States in dealing with Third States, groups of States and entities of any description;and
- the enhanced coordination of Member States’ foreign and foreign economic policies and enhanced functional cooperation…
The post meeting briefing was littered with references to CARICOM which confirm matters pertaining to the regional movement were discussed. This supports Mottley’s position that Caricom should have been FORMALLY accorded an invitation and at ‘minimum’ Mottley as Chair represent members in the spirit of enhancing coordination of Member States’ foreign and foreign economic policies and enhanced functional cooperation…
The quote from the St. Kitts and Nevis representative Foreign Affairs Minister Mark Brantley sums up the current state of Caricom for the blogmaster:-
I think we would have been foolish to pass up on that opportunity. The US has been a good friend to the region, and I think it is a relationship that matters,” he said, while acknowledging that St Kitts and Nevis was not at the table for earlier talks between US President Donald Trump and a select regional group in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, centred on trade and security.
A reminder this is the second time the USA snubbed Caricom.