Rodney Charles questions PM's absence at Caricom Heads meeting with UK Prime Minister

Opposition Member of Parliament, Rodney Charles is questioning the absence of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at a meeting between Caricom Heads and UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

The meeting was held in London on Tuesday.

Charles issued the following statement on Wednesday:

"Acknowledging Jamaica's de facto leadership role in CARICOM, British  Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday held one on one discussions with Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness hours before meeting the remaining CARICOM Prime Ministers to discuss a range of issues including better treatment of CARICOM citizens domiciled in the UK, disaster preparation, trade, health care training and education.

Dr Rowley was afforded neither a private meeting with Theresa May nor was he in attendance at yesterday's meeting of CARICOM leaders with the UK Prime Minister. His friend the incoherent and clueless, Dennis Moses, represented him.

This week's diplomatic downgrade of our country is a far cry from the days of former PM Patrick Manning who hosted both CHOGM and Summit of the America's meetings in 2009.

Taking up Manning's baton, former PM Kamla Persad Bissessar held the chairmanship of the Commonwealth until the 2011 CHOGM in Perth, Australia.

During Mrs. Persad Bissessar’s tenure President Xi Jinping made T&T the very first country he visited in the western hemisphere after his inauguration in 2013. His visit was immediately followed by one from the US vice president Joe Biden. We were seen then as hemispheric leaders and treated as such.

Today, we are no longer seen as important or relevant to the many issues facing our region. Under Moses, T&T has approximately the same global profile as St. Kitts and Nevis or Nauru - the latter with a population of under 15,000.

We are the only CARICOM country on the EU watch list of non-cooperating countries on money laundering and financing of terrorism.

Former US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson visited countries in the region including Jamaica in February 2018 to discuss the strengthening of security cooperation, boosting economic partnership, exploring opportunities to broaden US-CARICOM engagement, energy security, the economic vulnerability of middle income countries, de-risking and correspondent banking issues and the situation in Venezuela. T&T was noticeably not on the list of countries he visited.

We were also not in attendance at a meeting with US acting Secretary of State John Sullivan, who weeks ago met on the margins of the Summit of the Americas in Peru. Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers of the Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and St Lucia attended.

The highlights of the Rowley’s London visit are meetings with energy officials of Shell and BP.

If Shell and BP have investments in a country, and the Prime Minister of that country summons you to a meeting, then you have no other option but to attend and that really was all that was achieved in the current joyride to London.

Everything discussed with these energy companies could have been done via Skype or over the phone.

Once again we are witness to Moses’ lack of energy, intellectual capacity, vision and gravitas to advance our interests in the global arena. But he is Rowley’s friend and that is all that matters."

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