Biden has no right to exclude anyone from Summit of Americas: St Vincent PM

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Digital photos compliments Office of the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Gaston Browne listing to the opening comments from President of the United States, Joseph Biden

St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves Monday said United States President Joe Biden has no right in deciding who or which countries are invited to the Summit of the Americas next month, hinting that St Vincent will probably not be attending the June 6-10 event. CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR WHATSAPP GROUP.

“There was agreement on four principles…that the summit must be inclusive, no one must be excluded and that the president of the United States, the United States government, does not have the right to exclude anyone,” he said.

“That’s not his right to exclude anyone – that’s to be done in the whole of the Americas – he alone can’t make that decision,” Gonsalves said on the state-owned NBC radio programme “Api Presents Ll Marnin’ SVG”.

He told listeners that some countries are going to attend the summit to be held in Los Angeles at the level of the heads, “some are going to attend at lower levels and some are not going to attend at all,” said Gonsalves, who recently returned home from a visit to Cuba where he received the country’s highest national award.

Caribbean leaders are still undecided as to whether or not they will boycott the summit if Washington goes ahead with its plans not to invite the leaders of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua to the event.

Chairman of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and Prime Minister of Belize, John Briceño, had confirmed that Washington is lobbying for Caricom to change its position and not boycott the summit that the United States said is expected to focus on “Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future” for the hemisphere.

“We said that we would only attend if everyone is invited. As you all know, the Americans are under an intense diplomatic drive to be able to get us to attend. The Summit of the Americas is very important and we have not had one for some time now, since the pandemic.”

In addition, the regional leaders had also expressed their opposition to Venezuelan Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó leading a Venezuelan delegation to the event.

Gonsalves told the radio programme that the President of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Alberto Fernández, who is also the President of Argentina, “has made it plain that though he is going, he is going principally to protest and to speak to the issue as the summit must be inclusive and must not exclude anyone”.

“He represents all the member states in CELAC, which is an organisation of all the Latin American and Caribbean countries save and except the United States and Canada.”

CELAC was launched in 2011 as a mechanism for regional coordination and integration to promote unity and economic growth. CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR WHATSAPP GROUP.

Gonsalves said is it pertains to St Vincent and the Grenadines, the island “will certainly not be represented by the prime minister unless these countries are invited, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua”.

“Whether we should be represented at any lower level is still up in the air. As presently advised, I don’t see how we should go, but I will have further discussions with my cabinet colleagues and also with my colleague heads.

“I find it is a terrible idea to exclude people. We should be having conversation…sometimes we are still preoccupied with 20th-century conflicts, and battles in the 21st century. We have now entered the third decade of the 21st century and we have to resolve these problems,” Gonsalves said.

He said across the region and the world “this constant fighting of battles from the 20th century is disturbing.”

The US State Department in a statement announcing the Summit of the Americas had indicated that “as Chair and Host, the United States will work with the region’s stakeholders toward securing leader-level commitments and concrete actions that dramatically improve pandemic response and resilience, promote a green and equitable recovery, build strong and inclusive democracies, and address the root causes of irregular migration”.

Earlier, Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said he was hoping in the “not too distant future” Caricom leaders would adopt a position on attending the Summit of the Americas.

The regional leaders had held a virtual meeting on the issue but failed to reach a consensus on the matter.

“We discussed this matter and we are still discussing it and people have different views and we are trying to come to a consensus position because we would like to have a Caricom position, but sometimes it is difficult for all of us to see eye to eye on everything all the time,” Rowley told a news conference. CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR WHATSAPP GROUP.

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  1. Biden is the President of the USA. He can make a determination who comes or not come to the meeting in his Country,as LEADER.

  2. I only hope that CARICOM will remain united on this issue. But I doubt it. CARICOM is easily divided with the promise of some US Dollars. We saw that when Trump rewarded the three puppets from Jamaica, St. Lucia and Belize. Inviting them to his Mar A Lago Residence. They sat waiting for him like little boys in a backroom probably used for the delivery boys.

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