A little over a week ago, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met in Kingston with Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Subsequently, he held a round table with the foreign ministers of The Bahamas, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten.

The encounter proved contentious even before it had begun. Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley sharply rejected the U.S. approach, drawing a clear line between her government’s position and that of the Jamaican prime minister. Criticizing the side-lining of CARICOM, Ms. Mottley described the U.S. approach as an attempt to divide and rule: a position backed by Trinidad, Grenada, St. Vincent and Antigua. Mr. Holness and Mr. Pompeo refuted the suggestion, while others in CARICOM said little or nothing.