I was heartened to read recently a call from the St. Lucia’s Prime Minister, Mr Allan Chastanet for “Fresh, Free & Fair” elections in Venezuela, though once again it highlights just how fragmented the regional body CARICOM is. Agreements are made at CARICOM and days later different heads come out with their own position. The stance of the regional body of non-intervention, non-interference has really been nothing but a naïve diplomatic position with little teeth to support it. The plight of the Venezuelan people is becoming more and more desperate everyday.
The migration of Venezuelans to many of the Southern Caribbean islands is fast becoming a burden for them with drugs and violence seeping across their borders. Countries like Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Grenada and St.Lucia are already on record complaining about the negative effects the migration have had on their countries. I believe it is only a matter of time that regional leaders come to the realization that their wait and see stance and their non-intervention, non-interference position is not helping the ordinary Venezuelan.
The United States has already signaled it’s intention to punish countries who do not support their efforts to bring about a regime change in Venezuela. Whilst I do not concur with the United States and it’s strong arm and bulling tactic in an effort to get countries to side with them, the writing is clearly on the wall for Maduro and I believe that he stands a better chance to exit the stage now, alive, than if he waits around and continue to frustrate efforts to push him out. Leaders MUST know when to leave.
CARICOM and others need to get Maduro to understand and accept that its time to go. He might still be able to save some face and live a fairly peaceful and comfortable life if he agrees to accept asylum and live in some country that is willing to take him and his army of followers. CARICOM cannot continue to protect one man whilst a nation of people suffers. It is time that CARICOM calls on Maduro to go so that Venezuela can breathe and fresh, free and fair elections called.
I therefore salute the Prime Minister of St. Lucia on his bold move to call for fresh, free and fair elections and I urge the community of countries to rally around this call.