February 23, 2007
Eustace concerned over ties

Deeper levels of unity and understanding is what three OECS nations, including St Vincent and the Grenadines are hoping to have with Venezuela, but Opposition Leader Arhnim Eustace is very concerned.

“I am very concerned about this marriage, this relationship we are having with Venezuela is too strident” Eustace told SEARCHLIGHT.{{more}}

According to the statement signed by Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, Prime Ministers Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Baldwin Spencer, and Roosevelt Skeritt of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica respectively, they will together “fight the irrational consumption of energy by industrial nations” as they “make happier the lives of the people who have for many centuries dwelt in this region.”

The statement credits the strong political will of the four nations for making sure that the unity between Latin America and the Caribbean be formed more quickly over the last ten years compared to decades before.

With much pomp and jubilation, watched by an appreciative crowd at a grand rally, which was also being beamed live to Venezuela, the four leaders signed what the statement suggests is a moving away from a failed strategy of looking to other parts of the world for solutions to problems “which we could solve by ourselves.”

But Eustace said that such close ties with the controversial leftist leader could over time influence changes in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We are getting close to a man who used his victory at the polls to rule by decree. Is this the type of example we want for our country?” Eustace asked.

Eustace said that he was concerned about the preservation of our democracy, stating that as St Vincent and the Grenadines gets closer to Venezuela, receives more gifts, we could find ourselves also embracing their ideologies.

“The two are tied together,” he said.

The statement alludes to a common origin shared by the four nations united by the Caribbean Sea and a similar historic background; “the product of the labour of Africans and native Indians who underwent years of enslavement.”

Eustace also stated that he was not invited to greet President Chavez on his arrival but didn’t mind. Eustace said that he did not regard Chavez’s visit as a state visit but more so a meeting of two political parties or governments.

“Could you imagine if I had been invited and went along and everyone is there in their red, their party colours, that wasn’t a state visit at all,” Eustace said.

Eustace said that he was however invited to the luncheon hosted by the Governor-General but found the invitation insulting. He said he was called on Friday to be invited to the luncheon for Saturday.