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Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau has cancelled his trip to Bridgetown, Barbados, to meet with CARICOM heads of government, in order to quell protests taking place in Canada's capital city Ottawa, Ontario. (Photo: CTV)

Canada’s prime minister cancels attendance to CARICOM meeting

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau has cancelled his trip to Bridgetown, Barbados, to meet with CARICOM heads of government, in order to quell protests taking place in Canada's capital city Ottawa, Ontario. (Photo: CTV)

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has indicated he will not participate in this week’s Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community.

The prime minister last week announced his visit to Bridgetown, Barbados, for participation in the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, who is the current chair of the Caribbean Community, has held talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Photo: NationNews Barbados)

Trudeau explained then that he will be meeting with leaders of CARICOM to discuss “how we can work together to strengthen” the partnership between Canada and the Caribbean grouping of nearly 20 million people. In particular, he scheduled to have bilateral meetings with specific Caribbean leaders and participate in group discussions.

The Canadian prime minister visit to Barbados was believed to be a move to lobby regional leaders for Canada’s support for a seat on the United Nations Security Council. The country is currently vying for a non-permanent seat, against Ireland and Norway, which lasts for two years.

However, through a press release dated Sunday, February 14, he said he will “remain in Canada to continue to work with his ministers to address current infrastructure disruptions occurring across the country and work towards a resolution to restore rail service”.

Protesters march on a street in Ottawa, Ontario, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. The protesters are standing in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to a Canada gas pipeline in northern British Columbia. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

According to a CMC report, Trudeau cancelled the trip to Barbados as Indigenous demonstrators and their supporters continue to halt train service across parts of the country.

He informed, though, that he has held talks with Prime Minister of Barbados and current Chair of CARICOM Mia Mottley, Secretary General of CARICOM Irwin LaRocque, and Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness. 

Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness has held talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (File photo)

While expressing regret for his absence, Trudeau shared that he has requested Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne to participate on his behalf.

In the meantime, the prime minister of Canada — who returned to Canada late Friday after spending a week in Ethiopia, Kuwait, Senegal and Germany — spent the weekend in private meetings.

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne
(Photo: Caribbean 360)

“Following the Government’s ongoing efforts to address infrastructure disruptions across the country, the prime minister will convene the Incident Response Group tomorrow to discuss steps forward,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

“Our priority remains the safety and security of all Canadians and the swift resolution of this issue to restore service across the rail system in accordance with the law,” the statement continued.