Optimism over new TT/Caricom/US relations

Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs senator Amery Browne  - Jeff Mayers
Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs senator Amery Browne - Jeff Mayers

THE inauguration of Joe Biden as the United States' 46th president opens the possibility for new relations between TT, Caricom and the US.

Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne, former foreign affairs minister Winston Dookeran and political analyst Dr Winford James expressed this optimism on Thursday..

Browne said, "The Government of TT wishes the best for the people of the United States of America and was pleased with the advent of a peaceful and orderly presidential inauguration in Washington, DC."

Biden was sworn in as president on Wednesday. Kamala Harris was sworn in as the US's first female vice-president on the same day.

Browne continued, "We have already signalled our positive anticipation of working with President Biden on a wide range of issues, building on the long history of excellent relations between our two nations."

He said the Prime Minister, in his capacity as Caricom chairman, has sent a congratulatory letter to Biden.

Referring to Biden's inauguration speech, Dookeran said, "I think he made a clarion call for unity as a basis for building strength in the American society and I think he indicated that he will reopen the dialogue with the outside world."

Dookeran observed it remains to be seen whether Biden will "accept the new reality that the world outside of America has already begun to move." Biden, he continued, will have to find a new place for the US in this moving world.

Referring to Cuba and Venezuela, Dookeran said choices between democracy and repression; and a world order that includes small countries or an order "that will keep them on the fringe of development," will confront Biden.

James agreed that Biden "focused on the right matter" on the homefront, calling for unity. He said this was important in the aftermath of protesters storming the US Capitol on January 6. "The country is divided, everybody agrees and Joe Biden put his finger on the on the problem immediately. Joe Biden is on the ball."

James was uncertain what Biden's foreign-policy approach would be. He said, "With respect how he is going to treat Cuba and Venezuela. I have not heard anything."

The former Trump administration designated Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism last week and has imposed sanctions against Venezuela since September 2019.

James said, "There are relations that have to be fixed between America and several countries, including Cuba and Venezuela. They need to win back the goodwill of the world."

He argued, "There is no basis (for) designating Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism. I am personally looking forward to him turning that around."

He also hoped Biden would remove some of the sanctions the US imposed on Venezuela.

"Sanctions do not hurt the leaders as much as they hurt the people of countries that have been sanctioned."

James added that given the humanitarian approach Biden seeks, he would need to tread very carefully on issues like Cuba and Venezuela.


"Optimism over new TT/Caricom/US relations"

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