Double standards in Caricom
Stabroek News
March 4, 2002

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Dear Editor,

Last week Ambassador Kirton made a valid point about what essentially amounts to hypocrisy on the part of the PPP/Civic government headed by President Bharrat Jagdeo in relation to Haiti and which by itself is an extension of the stunning double standards of Caricom. It seems that it was suddenly okay to have applied international pressure to block aid to Guyana during the final years of the Hoyte administration but it must not apply to Haiti in today's circumstances.

These days, Caricom is obviously doing all of Aristide's bidding by not agreeing to economic and political sanctions against Haiti because it is misperceived that the current Bush Administration does not like them and therefore they must stand together in solidarity with the dictatorship. If Caricom can tolerate Haiti then it might as well go a step further and take Cuba in since that has been their masterplan all along and therefore spare us all any further surprises. Colin Powell has made it clear how he feels about the Haiti situation and therefore it is incumbent upon Caricom to do one of two things, simply condemn the Aristide dictatorship and expel Haiti from Caricom or publicly state once and for all that all dictators are welcome to Caricom. Obviously, the former is the more honourable and diligent course of action. We all know that the two basic qualities of moral guidance and enlightened leadership have long eluded the current brigade running Caricom. The recent decision not to have a large Caricom presence at this weekend's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Brisbane, Australia given the obvious outcry and possible expulsion of Zimbabwe points to the growing differences amongst members on such fundamental issues of freedom and democracy.

In many ways, the Commonwealth is growing increasingly irrelevant even by its own standards.

Here again, Caricom is demonstrating that is is definitely not keen on supporting any measures which will result in the imminent expulsion of Robert Mugabe.

All of a sudden it is okay for a black man like Mugabe to wreak havoc on his own society by spearheading the illegal occupation of white owned farms which have resulted in the brutal rapes, murder and torching of innocent white Zimbabweans. Mugabe has also gone to great lengths to intimidate the media and his political opponent Morgan Tsangvirai by now accusing him of treason. The recent high level observers from the European Union were forced to remain in their hotel rooms thanks to the mobs sent by Mugabe to intimidate them by surrounding their hotel and chanting anti-EU slogans.

Mugabe, has even gone as afar as accusing the British Prime Minister, the Hon. Tony Blair and its Foreign Secretary, the Hon. Jack Straw of fostering colonialism. These days Mugabe looks more and more like Adolf Hitler and who knows, may seek to eclipse Idi Amin for the infernal title of being the 'Black Hitler'.

It is rather interesting to note that Guyana's own globetrotter, Bharrat Jagdeo is sparing no expense to undertake another pilgrimage to 'Down Under'. It is hoped that he will try to get in line by voting to expel Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth for this may provide proof that he and the PPP/Civic regime are truly capable of redemption.

Yours faithfully,

Mike Singh