As the protests against some of the measures announced in the 2017-2018 Budget reached to the doorstep of the Minister of Finance on the Divali holiday last week, one could not help but wonder...
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Gonsalves: Caricom acted wisely on Venezuela
St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is calling on the Caricom Heads to stand united in its position of non-interference and non-intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela.
Gonsalves, in a letter dated June 16, 2017, which was copied to the Caricom Secretary General, spoke about “nefarious plans afoot to sow seeds of division among Caricom member states” to change its position with regards to external interference in the affairs of the South American country.
Gonsalves said: “Caricom has acted wisely and maturely on the situation in Venezuela,” adding that “We in Caricom must stand resolutely and unequivocally behind our declaration.”
Gonsalves said the declaration, issued at the end of its May 29, 2017 meeting was subsequently presented and supported by others at an OAS meeting for Ambassadors and Foreign Ministers on May 31. He said as a consequence the minority members of the OAS “who are itching for intervention in Venezuela, in pursuance of ignoble objectives under the tattered cloak of contrived nobility, were kept at bay.”
He said despite that “those in quest of political hegemony, ideological revenge and Venezuela’s abundant material resources have not been idle.”
Gonsalves said it was inconceivable to him “as a matter of good governance for ambassadors to seek an unpicking of our declaration so as to accommodate those who seek a fig-leaf quasi juridical endorsement at the OAS thinly-disguised imperial, hegemonic or narrow self-serving purposes.”
According to Gonsalves, “Any usurpation of such authority would render Caricom a laughing stock and make its Heads’ decision subject to a wholly unacceptable ambassadorial reconstruction.” He said only the Caricom Heads possess the authority to amend or rescind an authoritative decision of the the Heads.
Gonsalves said he did not see the need to make any change the Declaration in any way. He insisted: “The circumstances in Venezuela are precisely the same today as they were on May 29, 2017.”
He again stressed the need to refrain from making any changes to the declaration, adding that all the facts were considered before it was made.
According to Gonsalves: “Behind those seemingly innocent activities lurk grave dangers to the settled praxis of international relations, peace and hemispheric order.”
The St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister said :”Venezuelans must be allowed to resolve by themselves their internal political conflicts or challenges, without unwarranted meddling.”
He said “good offices” can be urged to facilitate constructive dialogue and peaceful engagement “but, as small states, the member countries of Caricom must never encourage or give support to driving a veritable horse and chariot through fundamental principles of international law.”
In his letter, Gonsalves said: “We must not play with fire in permitting or collaborating with others to march Trojan horses through the gates of Caracas.”
Gonsalves aid “an activist quest for ‘regime change’ in Venezuela is bound to destabilise Caricom member countries, particularly the southern and eastern Caribbean.”