Tuesday, February 18, 2020

CARICOM countries urged to adhere to summit decisions

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have been urged to adhere to decisions taken behind closed doors, CMC has reported.

The news agency quoted Grenada’s Prime Minister, Doctor Keith Mitchell, as saying that regional leaders cannot continue to agree on positions behind closed doors, only to publicly push a different agenda.

He spoke as  a two-day intersessional summit  got underway in Haiti on Monday.

Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, is attending the meeting and is due back home Tuesday.

Prime Minister Mitchell said he was able to speak “like this” because he has been around for many years and possibly “would receive another five years”, a reference to the upcoming general election in his country on March 13.

“We must highlight, rightfully, the disappointment of our failure as a body to commit to a unified position while abiding by the principles of non-interference on the political challenges of our friend and neighbour country, Venezuela,” the Grenada Prime Minister asserted.

According to him, the time has come for the region to have a blueprint on to address certain issues within the Community and with its allies.

“It is imperative that we stand strong and united in the international community, especially on matters of fundamental principles. Our credibility and strength as Caricom must not be shaken, even when attempts are made to divide us,” Mitchell declared.

As reported by CMC, while he made mention of no particular country, in recent weeks the United States has stepped up its efforts to ostracise the Nicolas Maduro-led Government in Caracas and has sought the assistance of Caricom in that regard.

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Jamaica and the two countries later appealed to Venezuela to uphold human rights and allow for free and fair elections in the South American country.

At the last summit in Grenada in July, Caricom leaders had issued a statement reaffirming their guiding principles of adherence to the rule of law, respect for human rights and democracy, as well as for the fundamental principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of states.

But they noted they were concerned about the “difficult political, economic and social situation in Venezuela, in particular, the increase in violence and polarisation between the Government and the Opposition, and its effect on the people of Venezuela”.

As a result, the regional leaders “called for all parties to commit to engage in renewed dialogue and negotiation leading to a comprehensive political agreement, with established timetables, concrete actions and guarantees to ensure its implementation for the well-being of the nation”.



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