US Secretary of State pledges Barbados visit is early action not empty talk – this as US & Barbadian Media flub Opportunities for Mini-Interview (Secret Service’s Probe was TIGHTER than a fish’s butt)
Sorry for not having this sooner, the famed site youtube freaks at video over 10 minutes and had to resort to Windows Movie Maker to reduce the composition for it to upload safely. So now the hubbub has faded and Hillary Clinton has returned Stateside after her brief stint at Hilton Barbados, what I can say is… Never mess with the US’ Secret Service! They not only had sniffer dogs go through all of the bloggers/ camera/ reporters’ gear, they also had CSI-type guys with gloves running through everything I mean you had to leave your portfolios unzipped (I was the only dude to empty my pockets and put it in a plastic bag along with my Nikon L20 & MP3 audio – guess who got faster service from the US team? As Sesame Street said decades ago? COOPERATION makes the difference!)
Hilary’s bi-lateral talks with Acting PM Freundel Stuart was in Ballroom #1 at the Hilton and she came zipping out, thank God for my Nikon’s Sports mode, I just held the button and let the pictures fly. There was a challenge when we learned we had 45 minutes for a lunch break, many journalists groaned where could they grab a bite and return so fast? It was compounded by one of the American team revealing Mme Secretary has not been following agenda strictly and this posed further strain on the Secret Service’s resources, so she may take a short lunch instead, but they’re not sure…
Yet I immediately thought of Cuz by the Barbados Cruising Club which is about less than five minutes’ drive from the Hilton, so not being harsh as we all were herded into a “Press Pit” (thereby keeping Media from being too close to Hillary), I revealed my idea and most of them were asking who is this in a rather skeptical way. I didn’t wait around, I made my way to where the Pebbles’ Restaurant used to be and had two fish cutters and a Coke then zipped back, but not before realising Cuz had new customers thanks to myself – Wade Gibbons & Trevor Yearwood from the Nation and one of the Advocate’s photographers (You’ll see his shiny head in one of the videos)!
The Caribbean was limited to two questions and only two speakers, it was decided Kaymar Jordan from CMC & Emmanuel Joseph of Mix FM would be delegated, out of a posse which included journalists from Guyana, Trinidad & Antigua. Kaymar incorporated my concern of the offshore sector being opposed by Obama as in direct contravention to the sense of entrepreneurism valued by himself and Hillary Clinton in order for the region to develop itself. Kaymar’s angle was the criminal deportees being sent back and causing crime to grow.
Emmanuel Joseph was SUPPOSED to ask about Christopher “Dudus” Coke in Jamaica and what the USA’s next step will be, instead he wanted to know what Barbados’ bi-lateral talks were – this was a question we agreed was better aimed at Senator Maxine McLean, Foreign Minister of Barbados. He messed up a great opportunity – but I still have a view from the US Embassy on the Dudus affair which will appear in a subsequent article…
This is how Mme Secretary chose to respond to Kaymar’s composite question;-
The Caribbean was not the only side to have weird queries, the Washington Post was looking at Iran’s opposition declining protest demonstrations – what bearing is this on US/Caribbean talks on Security? Nevertheless, Hillary was a pro and answered the question as quickly as possible to leave the way open for the next salvo. The New York Times had a good question for both USA & the Caribbean, Mme Secretary saluted the Bahamian Foreign Minister’s presentation which looked ahead rather than now or what happened before. Here’s what happened when Media and Blogger attended the opening (which had ANOTHER search after the Lunch break, phew);-
For my part, I do feel that if so many American dignitaries have appeared close on the heels of each other, then Barbados and the rest of the region are not beneath notice from America as happened in the past – Barbados also has home advantage with George Washington House, the only place the very 1st US President ever visited…
Senator Maxine McLean also had a Briefing where the real gist of her conference was buried at the end, Caricom is lobbying and it is being actively considered by the US to be included as Observer status for any future G-20 meetings! That’s why I was annoyed at Mr Joseph, all of his queries could have been saved here instead of confusing Hillary – then again, in another vein, I heard one day at CBC there was no World At One radio bulletin, so unfortunately, it appears that inefficiency reigns in most Bajan media houses!