Govt, Opposition differ on US invitation

Naparima MP Rodney Charles.
Naparima MP Rodney Charles.

GOVERNMENT and the Opposition on Monday disagreed over Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley's decision not to send a representative to a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jamaica on Tuesday. Pompeo has asked to meet with Caricom representatives. In a statement, Communications Minister Donna Cox said the Prime Minister has told Mottley that Barbados "has this country’s support." Dr Rowley said, “PM Mottley has the full support of the Government and the people of TT in outlining our principles and vision of Caribbean unity." He added, "In the expectation of Caribbean unity, the Prime Minister of Barbados speaks for TT.”

Mottley has said that as Caricom chairman, she will not send her foreign minister to attend a meeting to which some members of Caricom were not invited. She described the move as an attempt to divide the region. Rowley has also repeatedly said that TT stands on its proud history of fairness on the world stage, ranging from opposition to apartheid in South Africa, to opposing the US invasion of Grenada.

Naparima MP Rodney Charles disagreed with the Government's statement about the meeting with Pompeo. He claimed the UNC received unconfirmed reports that TT was not invited to the meeting. Charles alleged that Mottley's statement highlights TT's diplomatic isolation, "the surrender of our leadership within Caricom and the need for countries such as Barbados to pursue our interests in the global arena." He claimed TT is now on Caricom's b team with Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and St Vincent and the Grenadines as "the presumptive Caricom leaders."

Charles said once a country is not seated at the table participating in discussions, "then it may very well find itself on the menu." He claimed TT is on the menu in global diplomacy on issues such as negative travel advisories and downgrades from various lending agencies "for hosting Venezuelan refugees." He reiterated the Opposition's claim that Government through Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dennis Moses is not up to the task in promoting TT's interests globally.

He boasted that under the PP government, TT was "the envy of the world" with visits by Chinese President Xi Jinping and then US Vice-President Joe Biden. Charles said this situation shows the Government must "immediately resign and call elections now." Venezuela and the Middle East are two items reported to be on the agenda for Pompeo's meeting with Caricom leaders on Tuesday.


"Govt, Opposition differ on US invitation"

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