BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, March 24, 2019 (CMC) – The Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, has described the recent meeting, last Friday, between United States President, Donald Trump, and a select group of four Caribbean leaders, as “troubling”.
Speaking to reporters, here, late Saturday, Gonsalves noted that there was no true representation of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as the current chairman of the regional body, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr Timothy Harris, was not invited to the meeting.
He also pointed out that also absent were members of the CARICOM advisory committee — including himself; Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley; and Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley.
“None of those persons were invited, and for it to be a true CARICOM representation, you must, at least, have the chairman, so that any discussion of Venezuela, in that context…..it cuts across the agreement mechanisms that we have put in place,” said Gonsalves, who was speaking, following a meeting with stakeholders in the regional air carrier, LIAT.
Gonsalves, who referred to the actions of the US, concerning Venezuela, as “a creeping coup d’état” against a legitimate government, said that CARICOM will not fall victim to the entrapping of others.
“We, in CARICOM, have to be very alive to the mischief that some persons may be up to, to seek to divide us in a manner, which we ought not to be divided and, therefore, reduce the extent of our work,” he opined.
Last Friday, the Prime Ministers of Jamaica, The Bahamas and St. Lucia, as well as the Presidents of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, met with Trump to discuss the crisis in Venezuela and energy.
Concerning the Venezuelan Petro Caribe preferential arrangement, which has been ceased, due to the sanctions imposed on Venezuela, Gonsalves contended that it would be “ridiculous” for Caribbean states to abide by an energy agreement, by self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido.
“It is entirely ridiculous that you bring something to an end, through sanctions, and then the beneficiary politically, Mr Guiado, is going to offer an energy agreement. We look stupid or something?” he asked.
“We are not supporting the principles of non-intervention and non-interference and no threats or force or sanctions. We are not holding a position on these things, because we have a Petro agreement. We are doing so, because of high principle and our commitment to international law.”
“I just want to keep CARICOM viable and I don’t have to try and make the CARICOM civilization great again, we are an alive civilization of legitimacy. We have a history of achievement and we have a trajectory for ennoblement. We are not better than anybody and nobody is better than us, and you must not try to divide us,” the Prime Minister said.