Addressing the International Contact Group (ICG) on Venezuela during a breakfast meeting on Tuesday, May 7th, 2019 held at the headquarters of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in San José, Costa Rica, Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris reiterated the Caribbean Community’s keen interest in bringing a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Venezuela.
Chairman Harris also reaffirmed the Caribbean Community’s 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 the constitutional order and democracy.
“We really want to be an honest broker in the crisis,” the CARICOM Chairman said, adding that, “The CARICOM group is neither pro-Maduro nor pro-Guaidó. That determination is for the people of Venezuela alone.”
Chairman Harris told the ICG that, “We have also found comfort in a mechanism [the Montevideo Mechanism] that would assist us in working within the broad frame of the five principles that I have outlined, which says we have to engage in dialogue as we are now doing. From the dialogue, we should have a framework of negotiation; those negotiations should lead to commitments on both sides.”
The CARICOM Chairman added, “Ultimately, neither of the two sides can sustain their particular position. We are at a very critical point, and the events of last week should indicate to rational people that the time to put the people of Venezuela first is now.”
Chairman Harris further stated that, “The peace will continue to be elusive until the contending parties are encouraged to sit down and agree. The reality that we have learned from Latin America and elsewhere is that significant groups cannot be excluded from any peaceful process in a country to resolve a national crisis. I believe that if we get the principles right and if we establish a mechanism, we will get there.”
The CARICOM Chairman continued, “The people’s will must be allowed to show itself, and it must have support. We want to aid in an expedited way because last week’s events indicated that we have to move with more expedition.”
The CARICOM Chairman’s delegation to Costa Rica consists of representatives of the CARICOM Secretariat, namely, the Caribbean Community’s Secretary-General, Ambassador His Excellency Irwin LaRocque and Assistant Secretary-General for Foreign and Community Relations, Ambassador His Excellency Colin Granderson, as well as St. Kitts and Nevis’ Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador His Excellency Dr. Everson Hull and Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Ms. Valencia Grant.