Caribbean Community nations have traditionally been known to support the Democratic Party in the U.S., as its citizens appear to feel more comfortable with that party than the sometimes openly racist and insular Republicans.
So no one should be surprised with the way some of the leading regional politicians like former prime minister Kamla Persad Bissessar of Trinidad and Portia Simpson Miller of Jamaica have reacted to resounding defeat of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in American elections this week.
As expected, both did not miss the fact that the U.S. has blown the chance to elect a woman President of the most powerful country on earth and both were mentioned by international media houses as being among nearly 50 women who have been elected or appointed presidents or prime ministers in the modern political era.
Reports from U.S. cities where Caribbean immigrants reside had indicated that the Democrats might have gotten the bulk of the Caribbean vote. Social media posts appeared to have backed up this view. And up to mid-Wednesday, most governments in the region had not reacted to the Trump win. Neither did Caricom.
But Persad Bissessar who holds the distinction of becoming both the first woman head of government and opposition leader in oil and gas-rich Trinidad, expressed open disappointment that a man is once again large and in charge in Washington.
“Throughout its 240-year history, the United States has been ruled by men,” said a disappointed ex-leader of state. “Many women around the world were looking to Hillary to join the list of female leaders in the world and make the USA the 45th country to have had a female leader.
“She led a dignified, positive campaign that has energized women everywhere who looked forward to the results with great anticipation that she would shatter the toughest glass ceiling to become the first female President of the United States. She has inspired and empowered millions. of girls and women across our planet.”
Far north from Trinidad, former Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller extended congratulations to President-elect Donald. J. Trump on his victory but quickly pounced on a major issue to do with the lives of Caribbean people in the U.S.-immigration.
She desperately tried to remind him that “this job carries with it an awesome responsibility as the President of the United States has a major influence on global affairs.” She pointed out. “In the weeks ahead we look forward to hearing and seeing how the Trump’s administration will take shape. Throughout his campaign, he offered policy solutions that may impact immigrant communities in the United States. We have some concerns, since Jamaicans are a big part of the immigrant community in the U.S.”
In Trinidad , Vice Chairwoman Camille Robinson-Regis expressed disappointment with the devastation of Clinton telling the Guardian Newspaper that most Caribbean people she knows are Democrats and would have voted along party line.
“What I find truly amazing is that a country as liberal and advanced like the U.S. took 200 years to have a woman on the ballot of one of the major political parties,” she said, echoing region-wide disappointment with the result. “My brother, who lives in the key swing state of Florida, had been campaigning for Hillary and canvassing for votes for her. I told him if Hillary didn’t win I’ll blame them squarely. My brother and cousins in New York, who are all registered Democrats, were among millions of early voters.
“They all understand the history that a victory by either presidential candidate would have made and they’ve expressed concern if Trump won, what that would mean, especially for the Caribbean people, due to his immigration policies.”