ST. VINCENT-POLITICS- Gonsalves backs Mottley, but says US free to invite whoever it wants to meet with.


St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves Tuesday praised the position taken by his Barbadian counterpart Mia Mottley as some regional leaders prepare to meet in Jamaica with United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo.

Mottley, speaking at a weekend ceremony to honour the late Barbados prime minister and regionalist, Errol Barrow, said Bridgetown had not agreed to accept the invitation to the talks and warned about efforts to divide the 15-member regional integration movement, CARICOM.

'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,' she said.

Gonsalves, speaking at a news conference here, said while the United States had every right to invite whoever it wanted to the talks with Pompeo, who arrives later this evening in Kingston, said 'I have a strong support for Mia Mottley where she said she couldn't, as chairman of CARICOM accept an invitation to go where some countries are invited and some are not invited.

'I think that's the correct position because it would appear as though you are dividing CARICOM. Having said that it is the right of every sovereign country to invite who they want to invite and for those sovereign countries to go,' he said.

Gonsalves recalled that last year, President Donald Trump had invited some regional government leaders to Miami for talks adding that he had no idea as to why Washington had adopted that position regarding the Caribbean.

'All I know is this we are functioning in a straight forward manner within the four walls of the United Nations and we are friends of the United States of America. We have friendly relations, but I reiterate this that there is a section of the political leadership in the United States, which seems to think that if you are not yes, yes, yes all the time with everything they say or do, somehow with us or against us,' Gonsalves said, adding 'well I am not a leader who can accept that '.

Gonsalves told reporters that while St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United States enjoy good friendly relations the section in Washington bent on dusting off the Monroe Doctrine of the early 19th century 'and given new clothing, which will give a right to interfere and intervene wherever they would like in the hemisphere and to weaponise trade and weaponise the...

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