Jamaica-bound Pompeo set to leave Colombia today

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right) meeting with Organisation of American States-backed (OAS) Interim President of Venezuela Juan Guaido in Colombia for the Hemispheric Anti-Terrorism Ministerial Conference. (Photo: Twitter @SecPompeo)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be arriving in Jamaica this evening, January 21, to begin his two-day working visit to the island.

Pompeo, who has been in Colombia since Sunday for the Hemispheric Anti-Terrorism Ministerial Conference in Bogotá, has been shoring up support for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.

The Venezuelan issue will be among the topics discussed by Pompeo, Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamina Johnson Smith as well as foreign ministers from The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts & Nevis, Haiti, Belize and St. Lucia.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson Smith (Photo: Twitter @KaminaJSmith)

The State Secretary’s visit has been a moot of contention across the Caribbean as some regional leaders claim the US is attempting to create a rift in the CARICOM bloc.

Chief among those is Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley, with the respective governments of Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, as well as Antigua and Barbuda, declaring they will not attend the meetings in Kingston.

In the words of the US State Department, Pompeo’s visit is to advance common interests between America and CARICOM in “security, prosperity, development cooperation, and the promotion of democracy and human rights.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Photo: Twitter @SecPompeo)

The third most-powerful man behind President Donald Trump and VP Mike Pence, an incoming Pompeo marks the second visit by a secretary of state to Jamaica in less than two years – after Rex Tillerson in February 2018.

While no agenda has been released in relation to the high-level talks, Pompeo is expected to be met by senior Jamaican government officials when he lands at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) in Kingston.

BUZZ has learned the US Secretary of State will be on the island shortly after 6 pm.