Forbes: Govt should have consulted CARICOM over Trump meeting
Former Bahamas Ambassador to CARICOM Picewell Forbes said yesterday that the government should have consulted with other CARICOM leaders before attending a multi-lateral meeting with four other Caribbean leaders and U.S. President Donald Trump last Friday.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis joined the leaders of Jamaica, Haiti, Saint Lucia and Dominican Republic in the meeting with Trump in Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida.
Forbes’ comments follow criticism from several CARICOM prime ministers over the meeting.
“I think that the prime minister should have met with the [CARICOM] chairman especially…there should have been some level of collaboration,” he told The Nassau Guardian.
“If that didn’t take place, that is somewhat sad.”
He added, “We are…all one region. I would have hoped that we would have had some collaboration at the regional level first.
“I am hoping that the prime minister would have had some outreach to the other CARICOM leaders…so we don’t have this [diverging] of platforms of CARICOM.
“[Four] leaders going and another  not being there, it doesn’t send a very good message of cohesion, and Caribbean cooperation in the sense of unity in the region, which is not a good sign to show to the world.”
The meeting exposed deep divisions among CARICOM members, with Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne even suggesting that his fellow prime ministers were “weak-minded” and treated like “servants”.
Trump invited only leaders from the Caribbean countries that voted with the U.S. in support of an Organization of American States (OAS) resolution to recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuelan president and not Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro won the election, which has been heavily criticized by international observers.
In a statement addressing the meeting, the White House Office of the Press Secretary said the president would use the meeting “as an opportunity to thank these countries for their support for peace and democracy in Venezuela”.
Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves on Saturday referred to the U.S. positions and actions regarding Venezuela as “a creeping coup d’état against a legitimate government”, and suggested that the Mar-a-Lago meeting was an attempt to divide the region.
CARICOM has called for a non-interventionist strategy and encouraged dialogue between the opposing groups that both claim stewardship of the country.