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OUR CARIBBEAN: Caricom’s dance on Col. Gaddafi

Rickey Singh

OUR CARIBBEAN: Caricom’s dance on Col. Gaddafi

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The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) seems to be doing a curious political dance in relation to the circumstances of the death of the controversial Muammar Gaddafi, captured and executed on October 20.
He was subsequently secretly buried in an unmarked grave in the Libyan desert, as determined by a combination of foreign and local forces anxious the place of his burial does not become a shrine.
However, when chairman of CARICOM, Prime Minister Denzil Douglas of St Kitts and Nevis, issued a statement last Friday on the demise of the Libyan strongman of 42 years, the focus was placed, strangely, on a call for “Libyans to lay down their arms in peace” and for the international community to “intensify efforts to promote reconciliation and nation-building”.
In contrast, up to Monday, with the sole exception of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, of Dominica, who strongly condemned the extrajudicial killing of Gaddafi, CARICOM leaders appeared to have suffered a loss in speech over the shocking, vengeful act.
That development must be treated as an affront to all who subscribe to the rule of law.
“Like any civilized society, we will never condone the manner in which a person is killed, irrespective of who the person is, or what he may have done, or alleged to have done,” Skerrit told a Press conference in Roseau. “Extrajudicial killing should never be supported or promoted . . . .”
Whether he too felt that the CARICOM chairman’s statement was flawed in its core message, hence his intervention at a Press conference, Skerrit was also quite supportive of the call by the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner for a thorough and independent investigation into the circumstances of Gaddafi’s death.
By further comparison, Douglas was most surprisingly silent on the manner of death of Gaddafi, with whose administration several governments in the Caribbean had established diplomatic relations and received funding assistance.
For his part, President Barack Obama, who had previously assured that Iraq-style “regime change” in Tripoli was not the objective of the UN resolution, was to declare on the day Gaddafi was killed: “Today we can definitively say the Gaddafi regime has come to an end and one of the world’s longest serving dictators is no more . . . . Today’s events proved, once again, that the rule of the iron fist inevitably comes to an end . . .”.
Also true, Mr President, is that expedient mocking of the rule of law could prove dangerously counterproductive. Question, therefore, is why this CARICOM political “dance” on the brutal execution of Gaddafi and failure to reaffirm commitment to the rule of law as the best way to promote “freedom and democracy”?