Tue | Feb 19, 2019

T&T's Rowley to join CARICOM delegation meeting with UN chief on Venezuela

Published:Sunday | January 27, 2019 | 10:35 AM
Dr Keith Rowley

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC –  Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley will be joining a delegation from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in New York today ahead of a meeting tomorrow with United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.

This comes on the heels of last week’s emergency meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government during which it was agreed that chairman of the Conference, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis Dr Timothy Harris, would seek an urgent meeting with the United Nations secretary-general to request the United Nations’ assistance with the ongoing situation in Venezuela.

Rowley is expected to return on Wednesday.

During his absence, Minister of Finance Colm Imbert will act as prime minister.

Last Wednesday, Venezuela’s Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó, declared himself the interim leader of the South American country and was promptly recognised by several countries including the United States, Canada and some Latin American countries.

But Russia, China and Cuba are among countries that are supporting Maduro, who was sworn into office earlier this month for a second consecutive term as president.

Washington and most of its allies have accused Maduro of suppressing democratic rights in the country and have called for his removal.

Earlier this month, Jamaica, Haiti, the Bahamas, Guyana and St Lucia supported a resolution at the Organisation of American States (OAS) to not recognising the second five-year term of Maduro, while Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname voted against the measure.

St Kitts-Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, and Belize abstained during the vote while Grenada was not present.

In the statement that followed Thursday’s conference, the regional leaders said that they are “closely” following the “current unsatisfactory situation” in Venezuela and “expressed grave concern about the plight of the people….and the increasing volatility of the situation brought about by recent developments which could lead to further violence, confrontation, breakdown of law and order and greater suffering for the people of the country”.

The 15-member CARICOM grouping “reaffirmed their guiding principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the affairs of states, respect for sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, and respect for human rights and democracy