May 31, 2017
Thank You Mr. President.
Permit me to add the support of St. Kitts and Nevis to the statement enunciated by the distinguished Foreign Minister for the Bahamas on behalf of CARICOM. I am indeed honored by the opportunity afforded me to address you on behalf of my Foreign Minister for St. Kitts and Nevis on this most important issue.
Mr. President, the People of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela are our friends and neighbors. Their shores are washed by the same Caribbean Sea that touches the shores of each of our CARICOM member states. We are deeply troubled that the state of affairs in Venezuela has approached a stage that makes this Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs necessary.
Notwithstanding, we are duty bound to respect the provisions set forth in the OAS Charter which are very explicit with respect to the constraints to wish we are subjected as we seek to fashion a solution.
To illustrate, Chapter 1, Article 1 of the OAS Charter is very explicit with respect to these constraints. It states that:
“….The Organization of American States has no powers other than those expressly conferred upon it by this Charter, none of whose provisions authorizes it to intervene in matters that are within the internal jurisdiction of the Member States….”
Neither should we lose sight of the provisions set forth in Chapter II, Article 3 (e) which place an additional constraint on the permissible actions of the OAS.
The OAS Charter states that:
“….Every State has the right to choose, without external interference, its political, economic, and social system and to organize itself in the way best suited to it, and has the duty to abstain from intervening in the affairs of another State…..”
We are to be reminded that the General Assembly is the supreme organ of the Organization of American States. Unless and until the above stated provisions expressed in the Charter are changed, they remain the guiding light that hovers over this body and its policy directives.
Today, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela stands at the cross-roads. In recent months, it has been buffeted, on the one hand, by open threats of explicit calls for suspension by a date certain. Equally disturbing are recent open declarations that suggest that dialogue or mediation are no longer options to be considered in addressing these issues. These extreme punitive measures and policy pronouncements which have not been authorized by the Permanent Council have been utterly rebuffed. They are considered a direct violation of the principles set forth in the OAS Charter.
On the other hand, a more conciliatory approach recognizes the importance of dialogue and skillful negotiations aimed at reconciling disputes in a spirit of goodwill. The government of St. Kitts and Nevis embraces this latter approach.
Today, we re-affirm our commitment to the promotion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We call for an immediate cessation of violence and hostilities by all parties. We appeal to all parties to commit to a new process of dialogue and negotiation that leads to building a platform of trust so that the People of Venezuela can unite in overcoming this crisis.
St. Kitts and Nevis will continue to monitor these developments closely and stands ready to lend a helping hand in achieving a positive outcome for the People of Venezuela.
Thank You, Mr. President.