BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – A University of the West Indies (UWI) senior lecturer says she is not expecting any significant fallout for Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries that boycott the Summit of the Americas to be held in the United States next month.
Regional countries are divided as to whether or not to boycott the June 6 to 10 event, with St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, confirming Wednesday that he nor any other government minister will be attending the summit in protest over Washington’s decision not to invite the leaders of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Senior UWI lecturer, Dr Kristina Hinds, told the online Barbados TODAY publication that she is not yet convinced that the event that will be held in Los Angeles, will yield much tangible outcomes for those involved.
The lecturer said that it was unfortunate that Caricom had not taken a united position on the issue, especially given that the region enjoyed friendly relations with all of the excluded countries.
“So there is a split in Caricom over whether states should attend or not, which is a little unfortunate given that Caricom is supposed to have a common approach to foreign policy and we see these divisions popping up in some of these interactions with the United States of America over time.
“There are some who view this approach to the Summit of the Americas as divisive because within Caricom, we have relatively good relationships with Cuba and some Caricom members have quite good relationships with Venezuela as well and the position on Venezuela is not as straightforward in Caricom as the US position.
“But there are others who would contend that this is an opportunity to put issues on the table, including how the United States of America treats to Cuba, Venezuela and other countries that they are not happy with, in terms of their democratic practices, especially because the United States has some democratic practices that require revision and serious concentration going forward after what we saw in the last election and the previous elections too,” she told Barbados TODAY.
The US State Department in a statement announcing the Summit of the Americas had indicated that “as Chair and Host, the United States will work with the region’s stakeholders toward securing leader-level commitments and concrete actions that dramatically improve pandemic response and resilience, promote a green and equitable recovery, build strong and inclusive democracies, and address the root causes of irregular migration.
The summit is expected to focus on “Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future” for the hemisphere.
High on the agenda of this year’s talks is climate change, democracy and security, but Dr Hinds hopes to hear Caribbean leaders on issues like the delisting of Caribbean jurisdictions as tax havens and the de-risking of banks in the region.
She is not convinced that those who opt to stay away will find themselves at a great disadvantage.
“I don’t think there will be any repercussions. For all of the talk about how important the Summit of the Americas is, I am yet to be convinced that the summit yields particularly tangible outcomes.
“In the 1990s the Summit of the Americas was supposed to be the launch pad for a free trade area in the Americas. That was never created and because of some of these tensions within the hemisphere, I think the Summit of the Americas has its limits in terms of what it truly can deliver,” she added.