By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRESS Secretary Anthony Newbold said the Minnis administration supports CARICOM’s condemnation of the disparaging comments US President Donald Trump reportedly made about Haiti, Africa and El Salvador last week.
He could not say, however, whether the administration had any input in drafting the statement or if it knew beforehand that CARICOM, which represents Caribbean interests, intended to make the statement.
He was asked about the matter yesterday after Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) leader Philip “Brave” Davis complained the administration should have released a separate statement condemning Mr Trump’s remark, not hiding behind CARICOM’s statement.
Mr Newbold did not respond directly to Mr Davis’ assertion yesterday, saying: “He’s the leader of the opposition, he can voice his opinion, but he’s the leader of the opposition.”
He continued: “Government of The Bahamas stands with the position taken by CARICOM. I didn’t have that conversation with the PM (on the Bahamas’ involvement in the statement), but that is the position that The Bahamas government will take.”
According to US reports, President Trump questioned during a recent meeting at the White House why the country is “having all these people from shithole countries come here?” He suggested the country should bring people from countries like Norway, not Haiti.
In a statement over the weekend, CARICOM said: “CARICOM condemns in the strongest terms, the unenlightened views reportedly expressed.
“Of additional concern is this pattern of denigrating Haiti and its citizens in what seems to be a concerted attempt to perpetuate a negative narrative of the country.
“We are especially saddened that such a narrative emerged around the time of the anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake, which took so many lives of citizens in that country.
“The Caribbean Community expresses its full support for the dignified statement of the government of the Republic of Haiti in reaction to this highly offensive reference.
“It should be recalled that Haiti is the second democracy in the Western Hemisphere after the United States, and that Haitians continue to contribute significantly in many spheres to the global community and particularly to the United States of America.
“CARICOM therefore views this insult to the character of the countries named and their citizens as totally unacceptable.”
Mr Trump has since denied he used the offensive expletive, but said he did use tough language at the immigration meeting. However a Democratic lawmaker who was in the room at the time confirmed Mr Trump used the offensive words that were reported.