CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque (left) and Chairman of CARICOM, Dr. the Hon Timothy Harris.

(Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister)

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts -– Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) convened an emergency meeting via video-conference on Thursday, Jan. 24 evening at which time they called for a peaceful resolution to the evolving volatile political situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The meeting, held under the chairmanship of St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, saw participation from 12 CARICOM Member States.

While the Heads of Government reaffirmed their guiding principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the affairs of states, respect for sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, and respect for human rights and democracy, the leaders reiterated “the long-standing political crisis, which has been exacerbated by recent events, can only be resolved peacefully through meaningful dialogue and diplomacy.”

As such, Prime Minister Harris, in his capacity as Chairman of CARICOM, will seek an urgent meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General to request the U.N’s assistance in resolving the issue.

In an official statement issued immediately after Thursday’s meeting, Heads of Government emphasized the importance of maintaining the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, citing Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter which calls for Members States to refrain from the threat or the use of force and Article 21 of the Charter of the Organization of American States which refers to territorial inviolability.

Speaking after the meeting, CARICOM Chairman Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris stated that, “Venezuela, of course, is part of the Caribbean region and any adverse development there would have serious ramifications for the peace and orderly development of Member States within the region. So we will continue to hold a watching brief and constructively engage with the principal actors in Venezuela and the actors everywhere to ensure that we preserve the region as a zone of peace.”

In this regard, Caribbean leaders are also calling on external forces to refrain from doing anything to destabilize the situation and called on all actors, internal and external, “to avoid actions which would escalate an already explosive situation to the detriment of the people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and which could have far-reaching negative consequences for the wider region.”