St Vincent Prime Minister describes meeting between Trump and Caribbean leaders as ‘troubling’


Ralph Gonsalves

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grendines Dr Ralph Gonsalves has described the recent meeting between United States President Donald Trump and some 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 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.”
On 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?”
“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.”
Gonsalves revealed that video conference will be held with the Canadian Government acting as an interlocutor for the Caribbean Governments to speak to Guaido and his representatives.
“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.