NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield will travel to Jamaica today to meet with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other Caribbean leaders.
According to Henfield, the purpose of the trip is to discuss issues related to the Organization of American States.
However, CARICOM chairman and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has characterized the meeting as an attempt to divide the region.
Mottley has confirmed that her country will not be represented at that meeting, and her position was supported by Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
Pompeo outlined plans to travel to Colombia, Costa Rica and Jamaica during a protocolary meeting of the Permanent Council at the Organization of the American States on Friday.
He noted discussions with foreign ministers from The Bahamas, Belize, The Dominican Republic, Haiti, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia.
“I’ll then travel to Jamaica, a good friend of America,” Pompeo said.
“My team told me that would be a really tough duty,”
“I’ll gather at an important meeting with many Caribbean leaders to discuss how we can all work together to promote our common democratic values and prosperity for all of our people.
“I’m looking forward to a fantastic set of meetings.”
Mottley made the comments on Saturday night as she addressed those gathered at a gala to commemorate the 100th birthday of Barbados’ first Prime Minister Errol Barrow.
“I am conscious that in the next week, questions will be asked as to whether the Barbados foreign minister happened to be missing in a meeting in Kingston in Jamaica that will take place on Tuesday,” she said.
“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 will 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.”
Henfield declined comment on Mottley’s position.
The meeting comes almost a year after Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis joined other Caribbean leaders from the Dominican Republic, the Republic of Haiti, Jamaica, and Saint Lucia, for a multilateral meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
The March meeting was billed as an effort to strengthen security cooperation and counter China’s “predatory economic practices” in a White House statement.
Another recurring topic will be the political situation in Venezuela and ongoing attempts to remove President Nicolas Maduro for US-backed Opposition Leader Juan Guaido.