US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that he is looking forward to meeting with leaders from across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), during a visit to Jamaica this week.
Pompeo, who is scheduled to arrive in Jamaica on Tuesday, will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Andrew Holness, as he aims to strengthen ties with the region.
Speaking on Friday at the headquarters of the Organisation of American States (OAS) here, the US Secretary of State said that he will participate in a round table with the foreign ministers of Bahamas, Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia.
“I’ll travel to Jamaica, a good friend of America. My team told me that would be a really tough duty. I’ll gather at an important meeting with many Caribbean leaders to discuss how we can all work together to promote our common democratic values and prosperity for all of our people.I’m looking forward to a fantastic set of meetings” he said.
Prior to visiting Jamaica, Pompeo will also visit Costa Rica as he seeks to promote “shared priorities” in the fight against terrorism and the strengthening of democracy.
Another issue on the table will be the current situation in Venezuela as the US government leads the international pressure for the departure of Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, According to Michael Shifter, who leads the Inter-American Dialogue analysis center, that Pompeo “will probably seek support from Costa Rica and Jamaica for the re-election of (OAS Secretary General Luis) Almagro,” which he considers “a priority” given his firm stance against Maduro.
This will be Pompeo’s seventh visit to Latin America and the Caribbean.
“On Sunday I’ll leave on a trip to the region. It’s only fitting that my first stop will be in Bogota (Columbia) – the very city where the OAS charter was forged. Our good friend, our ally Colombia – along with Brazil – has been a leader in this forum in holding the former Maduro regime accountable.
I’ll then head off to Costa Rica, a great friend whose commitment to democracy has been clear for many decades, and we’ll discuss the crisis of authoritarianism right on its own border with Nicaragua.I’m looking forward to a fantastic set of meetings,” Pompeo said.
Meanwhile – Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has warned of the attempt to divide the 15-memberCaribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping as some regional leaders get ready to meet with Pompeo on Tuesday.
Addressing a gala to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the late Barbados prime minister and regional integrationist, Errol W. Barrow on Saturday night, Prime Minister Mottley said that she is conscious that in the next week, questions will be asked as to whether the Barbados Foreign Minister “happened to be missing in a meeting in Kingston in Jamaica that will take place on Tuesday.
“…..I don’t look to pick fights, but I am conscious that if this country does not stand for something, then it will fall for anything. 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. If some are invited and not all, then it is an attempt to divide this region,” Mottley told the ceremony.