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St Vincent PM says regime change in Venezuela could destabilise CARICOM

Monday, June 19, 2017

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) — St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has warned his colleagues in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that the quest for a regime change in Venezuela could destabilise some CARICOM member states.

In a letter obtained by the Caribbean Media Corporation, Gonsalves said “nefarious plans are afoot to sow deeds of division among CARICOM member states so as to undo the majestic Declaration of the CARICOM heads of State and Government of May 29, 2017.”

“We in CARICOM must stand resolutely and unequivocally behind our Declaration. It is inconceivable to me as a matter of good governance for ambassadors for whatever reason, to seek an unpicking of our Declaration so as to accommodate those who seek only a fig leaf quasi-juridical endorsement at the OAS for thinly disguised imperial hegemonic or narrow self-serving purposes.”

In a letter issued ahead of Monday's meeting of the OAS in Mexico, Gonsalves declared that only Heads of State and Government of CARICOM possess the authority to ”amend (or) rescind” authoritative decision of the Heads.

“Any usurpation of such authority would render CARICOM a laughing stock and make its Heads' decisions subject to a wholly unacceptable ambassadorial reconstruction.

During the recent meeting of the OAS in Washington DC, CARICOM countries took a united position and defeated attempts by a minority of OAS member states to pass a Resolution condemning Venezuela.

Gonsalves, in the letter to his colleagues, added that “St Vincent and the Grenadines sees no need to change our declaration one iota. The circumstances in Venezuela are precisely the same today as they were on May 29, 2017. There is no credible basis to suggest to the Heads that accommodation be made to other member states' concerns relating to “humanitarian intervention”, “shortage of food and medicines”. These and other like considerations were fully ventilated at the meeting of the Heads on May 29, 2017. The language of our declaration reflects the collective wisdom of the highest decision making body of our Caribbean Community….”

He said Venezuelans should be allowed to resolve “by themselves their intense political conflicts or challenges without unwarranted meddling”…. the member-countries of CARICOM must never encourage or give support to driving a veritable horse and chariot through fundamental principles of international law – and we must not “play with fire” in permitting or collaborating with others to march Trojan Horses though the gates of Caracas.”

Gonsalves also said that Venezuela has a population of 27 million possessed of abundant small arms, legal and illegal.

“A further exacerbation of the deepening political tensions by external intervention, in whatever guise, is likely to cause a flood of migrants, legal and illegal onto our lands and seas. Unwittingly, we may turn our peaceful geographic spaces into make-shift refugee settlements.”

He urged his colleagues to remain united in CARICOM – “at the end of the day, it is imperative that we see the OAS not as a battering ram or a sword to be used in factor of one or another of the groupings of political combatants in Venezuela . The OAS in our modern era beyond the ghosts of a debilitating Cold War is required always to be a shield in defence and promotion of tried and tested civilized and civilizing, precepts of international law and relations. The resurrection of ghosts from the past, in whatever form or fashion will be a huge mistake. We must avoid this,” he said.