Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Lisa Hanna has expressed concern that some members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have been left out of meetings with US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
Pompeo is expected to arrive in Jamaica on Tuesday, amid mounting speculation around the reasons for his visit.
He will attend several meetings, including bilateral talks with Prime Minister Andrew Holness, a sit-down with regional officials, and a policy discussion presentation in New Kingston. In addition to only a few CARICOM members being invited to the meetings, no agenda has been released for the series of talks, and this has Hanna perturbed.
“In these circumstances, it would have been clearly expected that the entire regional leadership would be served well by such talks, especially at this crucial time when as small developing nations climate change, the illegal gun trade, drug and human trafficking, organized crime and USA trade sanctions affect us all,” she wrote.
It is expected that Pompeo will use his trip to consolidate regional support for the US stance on Venezuela. It does not recognise President Nicolas Maduro’s government.
It is also speculated that Pompeo will use these meetings to seek votes for the re-election of Luis Almagro as general secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the election set for March 20. But Hanna is emphasizing that Jamaica must be resolute in preserving the traditional principles on which Jamaica has relied for decades in forging and maintaining solid diplomatic relationships internationally.
“Jamaica is a respected leader in CARICOM and nothing we do should send the slightest message that we are prepared to sacrifice our CARICOM brothers and sisters on the altar of expediency. We are stronger together.” Hanna advised Prime Minister Andrew Holness, to not deviate from CARICOM’s stance on Venezuela. “We must not follow like lemmings, but display the fortitude of those before us who have made Jamaica and Jamaicans symbols of international integrity and purveyors of the importance of the adherence to international norms,” she said.