There is a warning Jamaica could be seen as leading attempts to create a rift in CARICOM in light of this week’s talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, from which some regional leaders have been excluded. Secretary Pompeo will arrive in Jamaica on Tuesday for two days of meetings with hand-picked leaders from a number of CARICOM states. Opposition Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Lisa Hanna says the meeting signals an impending division in CARICOM. Miss Hanna says it would have been expected that the entire regional leadership would be invited to the talks, given their shared concerns around issues. CARICOM chairman and Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley has already signalled her disagreement with the exclusion of some CARICOM leaders. She has suggested that the Donald Trump administration is attempting to divide CARICOM. She said her foreign minister will not attend the talks. Curtis Ward, former Jamaican representative to the United Nations, is in agreement with the warnings and has expressed his own concern about what he regards as the continued efforts of the United States to undermine CARICOM unity on a number of regional issues. Ambassador Ward believes Mr. Pompeo’s visit will show further evidence of this approach to regional diplomacy. “If you look at the countries that will be meeting with Secretary Pompeo when he visits Jamaica on January 21st, it is the five countries that were invited to Mar-a-Lago plus St. Kitts and these are the countries that have given support to the US agenda on Venezuela. He also lavishes praise on Jamaica and we know what the history, in particular, with dealing with Venezuela has been, as far as Jamaica’s position in the OAS,” he pointed out while speaking Sunday on RJR’s That’s a Rap . Business consultant Chris Stokes has also cautioned against an over-reliance on friendship with the Trump administration, to the exclusion of other branches of the US Government. “The danger is…that there is a chance that the Trump administration’s positions may not, even in the medium or the short-term, be the United States’ position and you have to be careful because you run behind administrations and you find that the next administration that is in power is on a completely different side and as we have seen, the US is not afraid to leave you on an island by yourself,” he contended. While in Jamaica, Secretary Pompeo will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Speaking on Friday at the headquarters of the Organisation of American States (OAS) in Washington, Mr. Pompeo said he will also participate in a round table with the foreign ministers of Bahamas, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis as well as St. Lucia. According to Michael Shifter, who leads the Inter-American Dialogue analysis center, Mr. Pompeo will probably seek support from Jamaica for the re-election of OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, which he considers a priority given his firm stance against Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro.
LINK ORIGINAL: RJR News