Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago representatives never rejected an invite from US secretary of state, they were never invited.

A firestorm went off on the Caribbean interwebs over the decision taken by the Prime Minister of Barbados (and president of CARICOM) Mia Mottley not to send a representative to a meeting with the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jamaica between Jan 18 – 24.

[Q]uestions will be asked as to whether the foreign minister happened to be missing from a meeting in Kingston… 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.

Mottley stated

In her speech, Mottley said no Barbados representative would be present at the meeting.

TT backs Barbados

The office of Trinidad & Tobago’s Prime Minister (OPM) released a media statement on Jan 20, 2019, endorsing Mottley’s claim and in an indirect way stated that TT will be doing the same, not sending a representative.

“In the expectation of Caribbean unity, the Prime Minister of Barbados speaks for Trinidad and Tobago.”

Rowley said.

Note that much like Mottley, Rowley never actually claims to have rejected an invitation to the meeting, but instead chooses to identify with Mottley’s statement.

Meeting about what though?

The meeting mentioned will be focused on discussing issues that were already discussed in a meeting that was held in March 2019 between US President Donald Trump and five Caribbean nations. The main issues in that (March 2019) meeting and this one (which will take place somewhere between Jan 18 – 24) is the Venezuelan crisis and the “fight against ter­ror­ism.”

It is important to note that in this March 2019 meeting both Barbados and TT were not invited by the US. The countries invited then were the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and Saint Lucia.

The million-dollar question.

The question needs to be answered in relation to the statements made by the Caribbean leaders is simple: “Was Barbados and TT invited to the meeting they are claiming to be rejecting?” If this meeting is an alleged follow up of the March 2019 meeting then both Barbados and TT are likely to have not been invited.

The US secretary of states’ website has no indication that either Barbados or TT was invited to participate in the Jamaica meeting. However, media outlets in the US have said Pompeo’s meeting in Jamaica will be held with seven Caribbean countries, five of which were part of the March 2019 meeting. The countries are the Ba­hamas, Be­lize, Jamaica, Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic, Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lu­cia.

868 Media contacted both the OPM of Barbados and TT to ask the question. However, no answer was given at publication time. TT’s OPM said 868 Media would have to send in a “formal request for information.”

While the OPMs of Barbados and TT have refrained from responding to the question, 868 Media is confident that both Barbados and TT were not invited to the Jamaica meeting. If the nations were invited to the meeting they would be more likely to not only answer the question but also to have stated clearly in their initial statement that they rejected the invitation. Yet, should this not be the case, updates on the story will be provided.