United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Prime Minister Andrew Holness have both denied that the decision to invite select CARICOM states to a meeting in Kingston today is an attempt to split the regional grouping.
“There is no intent for the United States to divide CARICOM. Not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow,” Pompeo told journalists at a joint media briefing with Holness at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kingston this morning.
“We want all the countries of this region to prosper and be successful. We know that countries in this region will agree with the United States on certain positions from time to time and disagree with us from time to time.
“That’s true of Jamaica, as well as it is true for many of the folks I will visit with this afternoon. We want to invite them [CARICOM members] all to be part of the economic prosperity, security zone that is this region,” added Pompeo as he declared his appreciation for the leadership displayed by Jamaica in the region.
Critics of today’s meeting have charged that Pompeo, as part of the agenda of the Donald Trump Administration, is trying to divide CARICOM into states which line up behind the US on Venezuela, and on the next secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS) on one side, and the states which are refusing to toe the American line on the other side.
The Trump Administration does not recognise the Government of President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and is also seeking votes for the re-election of Luis Almagro as General Secretary of the OAS in the election set for March 20.
But many CARICOM states still recognise Maduro as the legitimate president of the Bolivarian Republic while supporting Ecuadorian diplomat, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, for the top job at the OAS.