Gov't monitoring Venezuela unrest, ready to assist 50 J'cans located there
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith this morning reported that the Government of Jamaica is closely monitoring ongoing civil unrest in Venezuela.
The South American nation has endured days of chaos as the opposition looks to keep up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro, taking to the streets again Thursday after three people were killed and hundreds arrested in the biggest anti-government demonstrations in years.
Johnson Smith said the situation continues to be one of international concern and given the historically strong friendship and relations between our countries, Jamaica wishes, in the interest of the Venezuelan people, to see a peaceful resolution of the current situation there.
“To that end, Jamaica continues to engage with our colleague countries, with member countries of the OAS, including Caricom member states to promote dialogue”, she stressed.
The minister, who was giving quarterly updates on her portfolio at the ministry’s office in New Kingston, said that there are currently 50 Jamaicans in the country “and we will take such steps as are necessary to protect our nationals”.
She further stated that the Government of Jamaica has consistently maintained the position that Venezuela should engage with its own national stakeholders through an inclusive and meditative process with a view to peaceful resolution and to resolving the domestic challenges.
“I should underscore that Jamaica adheres to the principle of non-interference as a matter of policy, which means fundamentally that we do not seek to tell other governments what to do in their domestic space,” Johnson Smith explained.
She added that the Government of Jamaica’s primary concerns are encouraging a solution, which is in the interest of social and economic development, stability and the wellbeing and prosperity of the people of Venezuela.
Meanwhile, the minister said Jamaica’s PetroCaribe arrangement with Venezuela remains in place; however, imports from them have reduced significantly.