Prime Minister Andrew Holness and four other Caribbean leaders are now having discussions with US President, Donald Trump, regarding the crisis in Venezuela.
The leaders are meeting as rioting and looting have broken out on the streets of Caracas and the country slips perilously closer to anarchy.
That’s how US President Donald Trump kicked off a meeting with selected Caribbean Countries this afternoon.
Jamaica, the Bahamas, Haiti, Saint Lucia and the Dominican Republic are now meeting with the US President in what the White House calls a reaffirmation of the strong friendship with and commitment to the region. It should be noted these are the same Caribbean countries which joined the US in voting not to recognize the continued Presidency of Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro.
Some have seen the selection of the countries as proof of a growing rift in CARICOM regarding how best to respond to the crisis in Venezuela.
President of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley, representing one of the Caricom Nations which voted against denouncing Maduro as President dismissed suggestions in his Parliament of a growing rift between the US and Trinidad.
However, he posited the Mar A Lago meeting is being held to discuss a regime change in Venezuela. He made note of CARICOM’s continued position of non-interference in Venezuela. He says those Caribbean nations who did not sign on to the Lima Group, will not react to an invitation to a “man’s house”.
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, says the predatory economic practices of China will also be a topic of discussion at the meeting. China which has invested heavily in the region and particularly Jamaica is still in a trade war with the United States. The two nations have ramped up tariffs in the billions of US dollars on the others respective goods in a tit for tat exchange.
Senior White House officials have also repeatedly warned regional governments to be careful when accepting trade deals from China.