It is being described as one of the darkest days in US history after hundreds of armed supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building, killing at least four people and sending the Senate scampering for safety.
United States Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Joseph Mondello, said he looked on at the deadly scenes of unrest “with shock, sadness and dismay”. However, he believes their country should not be defined by this tragic event. Instead, he wants their country to be defined by how they bounced back.
In a media release yesterday, Ambassador Mondello stated the country’s democracy has been tested in the past and it will be tested in the future.
“Thankfully, despite yesterday’s horrific events, the US Congress and Vice President Pence dutifully fulfilled their constitutional responsibilities and certified the electoral votes to confirm that President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will be the next President and Vice President of the United States,” Ambassador Mondello said.
He added, “As so many of our friends, allies and colleagues around the world have expressed in the wake of this incident, America is better than what we witnessed,” he added.
He also thanked those who have supported and sent their “wishes of encouragement, resolve and good faith in the difficult time. Brighter days are ahead.”
Former Director of UWI’s Institute of International Relations, Professor Anthony Bryan, said while he is not surprised by what transpired, America has lost its privilege to comment on governance issues of other countries.
Bryan said, “The US will now have to stop moralizing about democracy and stop trying to do regime change for a country like Venezuela, Iran and other countries. No! That role has disappeared”.
Political analyst, Dr Bishnu Ragoonath believes ‘The Big Brother’ as the country is often called, is no different from any other democratic country.
According to him, “The US has always claimed to be that country that would protect democracy but we see it in their own home that they are unable to protect their own democracy as they challenge the results of an election”.
However, Dr Ragoonath noted that there is an important lesson to be learnt by other countries.
He said, “What is critical and important to go forward with is the fact that the Congress was able to reconvene later in the evening and was able to carry out its function, duties and responsibilities and that is what democracy means and what should happen”.
Chairman of CARICOM, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, also issued a media release yesterday expressing concern at the unprecedented scenes that unfolded in a country viewed as “a leading light of representative governance the world over”.
He said CARICOM looks forward to the restoration of order and the continuation of the process of transfer of power in a peaceful manner.