Johnson Smith silent amid brewing controversy over Pompeo visit

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson Smith has chosen to remain silent, as some regional leaders have vocalized concerns about an upcoming meeting with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, slated to happen in Jamaica on Tuesday, January 21.

When BUZZ reached Johnson-Smith on Monday evening regarding the latest developments, her assistant noted that she would not be providing a comment on the matter.

Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, over the weekend, told a gathering that she would not be taking up the invite for her foreign affairs minister to attend the meeting.

“As chairman of CARICOM, it is impossible for me to agree that my foreign minister should attend a meeting with anyone to which members of CARICOM are not invited. … It is an attempt to divide this region,” Mottley told a crowd gathered to celebrate the late Barbados Prime Minister, Errol W. Barrow, on Saturday night.

Mottley, in honour of the late PM, went on to say, “I am conscious that when Errol Barrow stood and remarked that ‘we shall be friends of all and satellites of none’, little did he know that that statement would be embraced by every single prime minister of governments that succeeded him. It is as valid today, perhaps even more so, than it was at the time of its initial delivery.”

Mottley sentiments were also shared by Trinidadian Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who on Monday threw his support behind his Barbadian counterpart who suggested that the meeting could potentially be viewed as dividing the regional bloc.

“Mottley has the full support of the Government and the people of Trinidad and Tobago in outlining our principles and vision of Caribbean unity. In the expectation of Caribbean unity, the prime minister of Barbados speaks for Trinidad and Tobago,” Rowley said. 

Johnson Smith had previously said, “We welcome the visit of Secretary Pompeo as a demonstration of the commitment of the United States of America to once more strengthen its engagement with Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. We truly look forward to this opportunity to engage and reinforce our longstanding ties.”