PRIME MINISTER Dr Ralph Gonsalves is remaining silent on any details of a reported exchange of American and Venezuelan prisoners on Vincentian soil.
Three days after the news broke that a prisoner exchange between the United States of America (USA) and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela had taken place on Vincentian soil, a local reporter asked questions on behalf of international news agency, Reuters at a press conference at Cabinet room on October 4.
“Can you confirm the location of the exchange. Was it the Argyle International Airport or Canouan? Robertson Henry asked.The second question was:When did St Vincent and the Grenadines enter the negotiations as the exchange point? and,3) What qualified St Vincent and the Grenadines as the most suitable neutral country for the exchange and is this the first time that St Vincent and the Grenadines has facilitated such an exchange?”
Gonsalves replied that “The policy of St Vincent and the Grenadines is encapsulated in its mantra ‘Friends of all, we strive for a better world’. Any Government which thinks that St Vincent and the Grenadines may be helpful in any matter to resolve or facilitate in the resolution of any conflict or any difficulty, St Vincent and the Grenadines is always willing to help or we are friends of all.”
However, he emphasized that “St Vincent and the Grenadines will never, however, go about and say what it is doing or not doing in any of these respects unless it is necessary and desirable to do so in all the circumstances, and with the consent and agreement of anyone in which we have been involved in any matter regarding peace, good relations between states, security and progress.”
Therefore, Gonsalves concluded, “Given what I have just said, I will neither confirm nor deny what you particularly asked. I stated the general position of the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines.”
A SEARCHLIGHT news report published on October 1 revealed that Venezuela had released seven American prisoners including five oil executives to the USA.The USA released two nephews of the wife of President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro who had been imprisoned on drug charges.
It was reported that tight security was provided at the Canouan airport where the swap between the two countries took place once the men involved in the deal had arrived on separate planes.