Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau was scheduled to attend the CARICOM meeting being held in Barbados but has opted out due to backlash arising from his government's handling of anti-pipeline protests.
The PM was set to arrive on island today, February 17, as a special guest at this year’s 31st Inter-sessional Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which will take place from February 18 to February 19 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Barbados.
The Canadian government has come under heavy criticism for their handling of the protests which caused disruptions to the train service in parts of the country. Indigenous rights groups and environmental activists are protesting to keep the natural gas pipeline off their land.
The cancellation was announced by the Canadian Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday in a statement which noted Trudeau will convene the Incident Response Group to discuss the way forward.
Trudeau called CARICOM Chair and Barbados' Prime Minister Mia Mottley, as well as CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque to indicate that as a result of these pressing domestic matters he will not be travelling to Barbados.
He reiterated his desire for strengthening the ties between the region and Canada and looked forward to another opportunity to interact with CARICOM Heads of Government.
It was announced that the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, Francois-Philipe Champagne will attend in the Trudeau's absence.
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