Mexico's foreign minister to visit Jamaica, St Lucia

Sunday, February 18, 2018

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CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) — Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray is scheduled to visit St Lucia early next month to discuss several projects being funded by his government.

According to a consul official, the visit will also include Jamaica and possibly Grenada.

Head of Corporation at the Castries Embassy Imanol Belausteguigoitia told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), that while the Jamaican leg of the mission has been confirmed, the Grenada visit was still being arranged.

He said however that the visit to St Lucia was a follow up to the state visit by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet to Mexico in October last year when Mexico agreed to fund a number of infrastructure projects for the island.

“We are just completing a water treatment plant in the village of Dennery on the islands east coast, so the visit is essentially to review the infrastructure cooperation projects we are undertaking.

“When Prime Minister Chastanet visited in October he invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico to come to St Lucia and the foreign minister has had other invitations from other islands in the Caribbean as well,” the official told CMC.

Concerning the pending trip to Grenada he said “it probably not going to be the same type of visit as the one to St Lucia, and we are still trying to find a suitable date,” but he declined to provide details of talks planned for Jamaica.

When asked to comment on regional reports that the mission was part of efforts to abrade Venezuela’s influence in the Caribbean, he insisted that the trip was purely bilateral, with the Foreign Minister having agreed one month ago to an exchange visit to St Lucia.

“It’s not a sporadic or spontaneous visit but one that we have been working on for quite some time,” he insisted.

Videgaray’s visit comes on the heels a visit to Latin America and the Caribbean by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who announced plans to study how possible oil sanctions against Venezuela could be mitigated in the Caribbean.

Last June, Cancun, foreign ministers from the 34-member Organization of American States (OAS) failed to reach agreement on a resolution criticizing Venezuela, with only 20 countries backing the proposal.

St Kitts-Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica voted against the resolution, while Grenada, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago and Antigua and Barbuda abstained. Jamaica and St Lucia backed the proposal.

Last week, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness joined Tillerson in expressing disappointment with the actions of the Nicolas Maduro government that Washington has sought to isolate in recent years.

Holness said Jamaica has always supported human rights as well as peace in the region “and Jamaica wants to see the people of Venezuela being able to enjoy their democracy.

Holness, takes over the chairmanship of the 15-member regional integration movement (CARICOM) in July and said both Kingston and Washington agreed “that positive engagement between the government and the opposition in Venezuela is essential”.

He said they both expressed regret that the attempts by the Organization of American States (OAS) to “promote dialogue have not been met with success.”

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