Sunday, 15 November 2020
Caribbean Governments should speak with one voice to the Biden Administration – Ward
Ambassador Curtis Ward, a retired Jamaican diplomat, based in the United States, is advising all Caribbean governments to “speak with one voice,” in their relationship with the new Biden administration when it takes office next January.
Ambassador Ward was a guest on the latest edition of Radio Jamaica’s weekly news review show, That’s a Rap, on Sunday.
While acknowledging that there will, from time to time, be certain specific bilateral issues between the United States and individual Caribbean states, he said, they will largely have a common set of priorities, and will have a more realistic chance of success if they adopt a united approach in negotiations with their huge neighbour.
“When the Caribbean speaks with one voice, there can be a Caribbean policy coming out of the Biden administration,” he stressed.
He said the incoming US President has already affirmed that the next Summit of the Americas, to be held in the United States, in 2021, “will be an opportunity to re-engage with the countries in the Hemisphere.”
He reiterated that “the Biden administration cannot re-engage individually with 14 CARICOM countries; that is asking for too much!”
Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the UN Arms Trade Treaty, which had been signed by the Obama administration, shortly after he took office.
The treaty, a “legally binding instrument establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms,” was signed by the Obama administration and most other nations, including Jamaica, in 2013.
It had been hoped that this would have set the stage for more progress in efforts to stem the flow of illegal guns into vulnerable countries such as Jamaica.
Ambassador Ward said he expected that the rest of the international community will also be pushing President Biden to return the United States to that Agreement, “because this is something that has a lot of support and a lot of buy-in by those countries.”
He noted as well that the National Rifle Association, the main pro-gun rights group in the United States, had recently been weakened by internal corruption and predicted that the Biden administration will not be constrained by tie to that organization, as it contemplates a restoration of America’s commitment to a regime of control of the flow of small arms across international borders.
The Trump administration was not without some pockets of support in Jamaica, particularly among some Evangelical church leaders, who found common cause with Donald Trump on matters of human sexuality, abortion, and his enthusiastic backing of the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel.
The relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, against the wishes of the United Nations and the Palestinians has been hailed by some of these Evangelical leaders in Jamaica, much as it has been lauded by their counterparts among the religious right in the US.
Ambassador Ward was scathing in his criticism of those Jamaican church leaders, characterising them as “hypocrites!”
“They cannot pick and choose one or two issues, and then ignore the rest of human existence… They cannot ignore his racism, because they are people of colour… They cannot ignore his anti-immigrant, xenophobic behavior,” he declared.
Trump, he said, “is a man who really doesn’t believe in any of those things that these hypocritical Christians think he believes in.”
Ward, who represented Jamaica at the UN Security Council for two years, asserted that Israel had violated international law “and the resolutions of the UN Security Council” in relation to many of its actions against the Palestinians.”
To hear the full interview, please clip on the audio link above.
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