Wed | Nov 20, 2019

Charles: Jamaica did not vote to suspend Venezuela from the OAS

Published:Friday | June 8, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Pearnel Charles Jr

State minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Pearnel Charles Jr has dismissed reports that Jamaica voted in support of a United States resolution to suspend Venezuela from the Organization of American States (OAS).

Reports from an OAS meeting on Tuesday listed Jamaica among 19 member states that voted in favour of a resolution to call an extraordinary assembly to vote on suspension of Venezuela's membership. Four member states of the OAS General Assembly voted against the resolution and 11 abstained.

In a release yesterday, Charles said: "At no point was any resolution tabled to expel any member from the OAS. Jamaica openly called for dialogue and not the immediate suspension of Venezuela."

He said that Jamaica has consistently called for a peaceful resolution to the political crisis in Venezuela and has always seen the OAS as one of the key mechanisms through which to facilitate diplomatic dialogue to resolve the situation.


Voted responsibly


According to Charles, Jamaica voted responsibly for a resolution, whereby a series of diplomatic initiatives are to be undertaken as stipulated in Article 20 of the OAS Democratic Charter before any consideration of invocation of Article 21.

"These include the utilisation of good offices and continued discussions in the Permanent Council as well as the convocation of a Special General Assembly to determine the status of democratic order in that country," said Charles.

He added that Jamaica shared concerns about the adherence to democratic principles and argued that international reports have brought attention to the critical humanitarian needs of the people in Venezuela.

"It is our hope that in the spirit of brotherhood, an opportunity will be provided for OAS member states to make a contribution to meet these needs," said Charles.


Charles' take on the OAS process


There are three elements to the processes and procedures in the OAS that are immediately relevant:

1. No country can be suspended from OAS membership without due process;

2. This OAS resolution speaks only to the " Resolution on the Situation in Venezuela" and does NOT call for suspension, and there would need to be another meeting of the General Assembly to address such an issue as allowed for in Articles 20 and 21 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter;

3. There would need to be a two-thirds majority vote of all members for the suspension of any member state.