OUR CARIBBEAN: A chilling call in US politics
FOR A BLOC OF largely small independent countries that cherish their traditionally good relations with the world’s most powerful nation – the United States of America – the prevailing public silence by our CARICOM Governments on the unusual dangerous political rhetoric for the final phase of the presidential campaign needs to be addressed – without further delay.
Moreso when the Republican party’s candidate, billionaire Donald Trump, who seems to cherish a notoriety in being unpredictable for public utterances, is now provoking previously ignored physical threats against the Democrats’ candidate, Hillary Clinton.
The cynics may perhaps scoff at our comparatively small group of independent states’ shared concern over the likelihood of eruption of campaign violence. Worse, an act of political assassination at this decisive stage of the battle for the White House as voiced this past week.
However, when Trump chose to signal an unmistakable threat to the physical safety of Clinton – the US’ first woman presidential candidate for the White House due on November 8 – by publicly urging that her assigned official bodyguards be “disarmed . . . and let us see what happens to her”, then such venomous rhetoric requires unwavering denunciation without delay.
It is appreciated that the US is generally saluted for outstanding commitment to the rule of law and democratic governance at home, while, also recalled for its occasional involvement in unconstitutional changes in governments that have included our own Caribbean/Latin America region.
This sad reality should not, however, preclude the governments of our small Caribbean Community from expressing alarm over the implications of Trump’s seemingly calculated, dangerous public utterance last week when he urged the disarming of Hillary Clinton’s assigned bodyguards, then to jeeringly add “and let’s see what happens to her . . .”.
For a country generally recognised as being the most powerful, militarily and economically in the world, the US also has a tragic history of political assassinations – including that of two presidents; one foiled such attempt on another president, as well as the murder of an attorney general and presidential aspirant.
Now in 2016, and within weeks of the final phase of the coming presidential battle, that Clinton is expected to win, Trump has chosen to send an ominous message. It is based on his unconcealed anger over her stand on “gun control” – a policy bitterly opposed by him as a noted ally of the influential pro-gun lobby.
Readers may well ask why should our small CARICOM bloc of states become involved?
Simply, by standing up in favour of the rule of law; against political violence and specifically acts of political assassination – none of which has anything to do with geographical size or location; military or economic strength; ethnicity nor nationality.
In the circumstances, our CARICOM governments have nothing to lose but much to gain by urging the leaders of our small community of 15 member countries to express outrage against any kind of assassination politics as implicitly signalled in Trump’s call for the disarming of Hillary Clinton’s bodyguards, and ominous comment, “let’s see what happens to her . . .”.
CARICOM leaders do not have to wait on another bloc of states in any other region to sound the alarm against what was implicitly voiced last week in the US 2016 presidential campaign.
Nor do we, as a bloc of independent states, have to engage in any kind of quid pro quo politics in standing up front in support of the rule of law and democratic governance while firmly opposed to any brand of assassination politics.
Readers would well recall the outcries against the assassination of the renowned Guyanese-born Third World historian, Dr Walter Rodney in his struggles against political oppression and restoration of democratic governance
Our CARICOM governments, at foreign ministers’ level, if not by Heads of Government, should seriously consider, as a solidarity gesture with the US, offering of their unqualified opposition to any sinister spawning assassination politics during the current presidential battle between Clinton and Trump. After all, more than the peaceful choice of the next US president is at stake.
• Rickey Singh is a noted Caribbean journalist.