Five leaders to miss CARICOM Summit

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, July 2, 2007 – The 28th Summit of the Caribbean Community enters day two today but it is without the presence of the lone female leader in the region, Jamaica’s Portia Simpson Miller.

Simpson Miller, caught up in election fever at home, was a no show at last night’s opening ceremony, as was the Bahamas’ Hubert Ingraham; Belize’s Said Musa, ailing St. Lucia PM, Sir John Compton and Suriname’s Runaldo Venetiaan.

It is not clear whether Simpson Miller or Ingraham will attend the summit at all but Musa and Venetiaan are reportedly expected today. Of course, Sir John is still recovering from a stroke.

The leaders’ absence came on a night when outgoing chairman and Prime Minister of St. Vincent & The Grenadines, lashed out at other regional governments on the issue of LIAT at the Courtyard of the Barbados Parliament, in Bridgetown.

Gonsalves accused some leaders, whom he did not name, expecting Barbados, Antigua and his country to alone “bear the burden” to keep LIAT in the air.

Host Prime Minister, Barbados’ Owen Arthur and incoming chairman of CARICOM and Head of Government with Portfolio Responsibility for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy for his part, called on all leaders to commit to deepen cooperation especially on the issue of regional air transportation.

The conference wraps up on Wednesday. (Copyright