Johnson Smith gives Senate reasons for closing Embassy

Sunday, April 14, 2019

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Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith said Friday that too many challenges were facing the Jamaican Embassy in Caracas leading to the decision to close the facility.

“We very much regret that the overall situation has deteriorated to the extent of severely impacting the operations of our embassy in Caracas. The challenges were many,” Senator Johnson Smith told the Senate.

According to her, these challenges included: the inability to remit funds to the Mission, to pay for goods and services, to maintain proper accounting, and the limited availability of certain foods and supplies, as well as the uncertainty regarding utilities and ensuring the well-being of the staff, including the remittance of salaries for locally engaged staff.

“These were the realities which made for an unsustainable situation. When these realities, were combined with the low levels of consular services being provided (earning less than US$2,000 in a year), the low levels of trade and cooperation, and circumstances wherein direct communication with headquarters had become a medium more often used, gave rise to the decision to temporarily close the mission,” she said.

However, she said that the Government will continue to manage its relations with Venezuela through that country's headquarters in Kingston, as has been the case for some time.

Jamaica temporarily closed its embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, with effect April 1, this year.


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