BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — A leading regional academic Tuesday called on Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries to adopt a common position as it regards the ongoing situation in Syria.
Professor of Social and Political Change at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies, Brian Meeks, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that his advice to regional governments is that "they should do it together, they should consult each other (and) they should act multilaterally through their respective organisations, in particular, the Caribbean Community and whatever decisions are made, should be made on that foundation".
He said his own view is that the Caribbean countries "should stick close to the United Nations" and the positions taken by the world body.
"We should look after our own business, but we should also strongly oppose positions that encourage the notion of a warring policeman with arbitrary powers.
"What if you get it wrong as in the case of Iraq not very long ago in which there was supposed to be weapons of mass destruction which were nonexistent? That is the danger and I think our governments should consider this and act together".
On Monday, the St Vincent and the Grenadines government said it was "alarmed" at the recent allegations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria and remained "deeply concerned with the spiralling humanitarian crisis in the Middle East.
But the government said it considered any external military action to be "premature".
The United States has said it had irrefutable evidence that the chemical weapons were used by the Bashar al-Assad administration resulting in the deaths of nearly, 1,500 people including more than 400 children last month.
The Obama administration has threatened military retaliation and has gained support from the Senate for its impending action.
But, Professor Meeks told CMC that any flare-up in the Middle East would result in increased oil prices for Caribbean countries still battling with the global economic crisis.
He said oil prices were already on the increase and that would "undoubtedly have a deleterious effect on the Caribbean" with the sole exception of oil-rich Trinidad and Tobago.
He said it was also important for the Caribbean to continue pushing for a world of multilateralism with decisions taken not only by a handful of countries.