PM: Barbados, CARICOM must not be 'pawns on chessboard'
-by Linda Branch
Errol Barrow’s well-known declaration that an independent Barbados would be “friends of all and satellites of none” remains as valid today as when those words were uttered in the past.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley made this view clear as she delivered remarks at a recent fundraising gala to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Barrow. She said Barbados, will not be used as "pawns on a chessboard" in an attempt to divide the region. The 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM), she noted, must maintain focus on enhancing the lives of the island and region’s people.
The current CARICOM Chairman was speaking in reference to a meeting scheduled to be held in Jamaica on January 21 with the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo is expected to meet with Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and other CARICOM leaders.
PM Mottley expressed concerns that not all CARICOM representatives were invited to the meeting.
“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. If some are invited and not all, then it is an attempt to divide this region."
“This region must always check itself to ensure that we not become the pawns of others, the satellites of others, but that we keep ever most and uppermost in our minds what we must do for our people without simply becoming pawns on a chessboard for others to be able to benefit from."
During her remarks, Mottley also reflected on the strong, personal influence “the father of independence” had on her growing up.
“Our country has been blessed to have been guided and nurtured, in the last seventy-five to eighty years, by a number of people who understood that excellence must be their hallmark in the determination of the paths that they chose to carry us.
It is important for us to recall that this country was not forged simply by political speeches and political statements, but it was forged by character and forged by persons who were committed, first and foremost, to Barbados,” stated the Prime Minister, “and that commitment to Barbados meant that there are some things that simply shall not divide us.”
She said the legacy of leadership left behind by Barrow and Grantley Adams means that Barbados must stand for something and "not loiter on colonial premises, or loiter on any premises where we are not wanted".
The Errol and Nita Barrow Educational Trust raises funds and makes financial awards to enable Barbadian and Commonwealth citizens to pursue a course of study that will further the development of Barbados and the Caribbean.
Since 1991, the Trust has made awards of approximately BDS $1.5 million to over 140 students, according to Trust Chairman Professor Avinash Persaud. The first-time gala event, which hosted 430 guests, was a new avenue for the Trust to raise funds.