OECS offers to help bring peace to Venezuela
April 25, 2017
OECS offers to help bring peace to Venezuela

The Heads of Govern­ment of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have agreed to try to bring about better dialogue and a reduction of tensions among groups in Venezuela.

Following the 64th meeting of the OECS Authority on April 12, which was also attended by the President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro, the OECS said in a statement that the Heads “further considered the current state of affairs in Venezuela and discussed a more constructive role to be played by the OECS to facilitate better dialogue, a reduction of tensions, and more collaboration in furtherance of the national interest of the people of Venezuela.”

Maduro’s attendance at the meeting, which was held at the Beachcombers Hotel in St Vincent, had not been announced in advance.

The statement from the OECS said the central theme of discussions with the South American leader revolved around “the use of the Caribbean Sea as a link to strengthen unity and achieve prosperity, stability and a good quality of life for our people through cooperation, solidarity and exchange.”

“It’s been an extraordinary meeting today and it has been an opportunity to share and to update on various issues and to strengthen the cooperation between our governments,” Maduro stated after the meeting.

Addressing the media, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Dr Ralph Gonsalves again thanked Venezuela for their assistance with the construction of the Argyle International Airport (AIA) and said SVG is the only country outside of Venezuela that has a photograph of the late President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, mounted at its airport.

A photograph of Chavez, one of the late Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Patrick Manning and one of the late Cuban President Fidel Castro are mounted at the Argyle International Airport (AIA) as a show of respect and gratitude for the role the trio played in helping this country complete its largest capital project ever.

Gonsalves said that the contribution of Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba represents one third of what it cost to construct the AIA.

Before departing SVG, Maduro was given a tour of the AIA by Gonsalves.

“…You can understand I want to show off the generosity of Venezuela…to show him what we have done there with the help of the Venezuelan government, both under the leadership of President Chavez and, of course, now, under my brother, Nicolas,” Gonsalves said to a room filed with Venezuelan, Vincentian and OECS media.

Gonsalves stated that when the late Hugo Chavez decided to assist with the construction of the AIA, Maduro was the person who organized the delivery of the first set of heavy-duty equipment to Argyle.

“I had to be in touch with Nicolas on an ongoing basis and he got 45 pieces of equipment to help to move the mountains and fill the valleys, he was there at the beginning.”

Gonsalves said that the icing on the cake would be to have Conviasa, one of Venezuela’s airlines, fly to the AIA on a regular basis to assist in linking St Vincent to other parts of the world.

Last week’s meeting of the Authority was chaired by Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis.

The member states of the OECS are represented on the Authority by their Heads of Government. The Authority is the supreme policy making body of the OECS and is responsible for the general direction and control of the performance and functions of the Organization.

During the meeting, the Heads discussed Health Insurance, Strategic Options for Diplomatic Representation, Greater Participation of Non-Independent Member States, Agriculture and Support Services (regional transport), The Blue Economy, and Climate Change and Sustainable Land Management.