Thursday, April 23, 2009

Summit All Up

CARICOM Heads meet with Mr. Obama

Well, the 5th Summit of the Americas is over and it remains to be seen what benefits are to be derived from it. However, I, and I am sure, most would agree that, to paraphrase U.S. President Obama, it all depends on the actions of the member countries rather than just their words. This certainly has been the bugbear of international agreements of all kinds for many years. Many countries sign on to laudatory and grandiose statements, resolutions, protocols, and whatever label they come up with, and unfortunately many a time there is no follow-through on what they were signatories to.

At the end of this summit Prime Minister Manning’s was the sole signature (so it is notable too that not even Mr. Obama signed) on the final document (see the Declaration of Commitment of Port-of-Spain), signing on behalf of all the governments. It remains to be seen now how binding his signature can be upon all the other nations as the OAS (Organization of American States) claimed in a post summit press conference. Nevertheless, from all indications and reports, this appeared to have been a summit of much frankness and openness, so perhaps for all of this forthrightness some diplomatic feathers were ruffled. In the midst of all of the hemispherical problems however, it still remains that there are many issues, which, in all likelihood, can best be solved through cooperation among countries and this, despite whatever differences, is what should remain at the forefront of our leaders’ minds.

For many, as was obvious from the general reactions, this summit was also, to a great extent, about the presence of Mr. Obama. His youth and charisma along with the historical significance of being the first Afro American U.S. President, carries a powerful combined impact that surely will not dissipate for a considerable time and overwhelming receptions are what will follow Mr. Obama for a long time in all his travels on the global stage, similar to, but I believe beyond those of the still lusty receptions of his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton, providing he maintains his popularity.

It is for a similar reason too why Evo Morales, the Bolivian president, is also popular, at least in Latin America: he being the first person of indigenous descent to be elected president in his country. Mr. Obama’s visit too, represents the second such, what can be considered, historical visit for our country within recent time, the first being that of the visit of Mr. Mandela in 2004.

The Prince & the Pres: Brian Lara and Mr. Obama. This photo graced the covers of all local newspapers.

U.S. President Obama greeting children at
Piarco airport Trinidad and Tobago

A gushing Mrs. Paula Gopee-Scoon, Trinidad and Tobago's Foreign Minister, and Mr. Obama.

The Pres. Obama photos above were taken from a slideshow available on


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