(OBSERVER media reproduces a statement by five former Caricom prime ministers, namely P.J. Patterson of Jamaica, Said W. Musa of
Belize, Owen Arthur of Barbados, Lester Bird of Antigua and Barbuda, and Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia, which was released on
Friday, 22nd February).
“We, former leaders of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries of Jamaica, Belize, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Lucia concerned about the maintenance of the Caribbean as a zone of peace, express great disquiet about events surrounding the situation in Venezuela and the prospect of any action that is inconsistent with the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“In this connection, we are concerned that no action be taken that would jeopardise these fundamental principles of international law.
“We recall the importance of order in our Hemisphere and the central importance of the United Nations system. The conduct of relations between nations necessitates adherence to, and preservation of, accepted norms and principles and we warn that any retreat from these norms and principles threatens peace and security, and portends far-reaching consequences, including humanitarian suffering and the contagion of economic decline.
“Acknowledging that there is need in Venezuela for humanitarian assistance, we believe that the delivery of such humanitarian assistance should not be politicised but should be conducted under the auspices of the United Nations according to normal procedures, including the participation of the Government and other authorities.
“We categorically reject the use or the threat of force as a means of resolving the situation in Venezuela.
“In a spirit of international democracy, we join the CARICOM call on all nations to help promote a process of dialogue between all the parties in Venezuela to seek accord and to negotiate constructively a settlement of the internal challenges that confront the nation as a whole. We appeal to all governments to contribute to the process of peaceful negotiation by the Venezuelan parties in the interest of the people of Venezuela and the wider Hemisphere.
“None of the Venezuelan parties should be encouraged to eschew the process of dialogue which alone can produce “a Venezuelan Pact” that is central to lasting peace and orderly economic and social restoration and progress.”