Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and outgoing Chairman of the CARICOM Conference of Heads, Dr. Timothy Harris has said that the Region’s engagement in the attempts at resolving the situation in Venezuela has demonstrated that there is a role for CARICOM to play.
Dr. Harris was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 40th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM being held in Saint Lucia 3-5 July, 2019.
He outlined that the CARICOM Heads, Foreign Ministers and officials, as well as the CARICOM Secretary-General, have represented the Community in engaging with the UN Secretary-General and other interested parties, such as the International Contact Group on the matter.
“We have consistently argued that the cardinal principles to undergird a resolution of the political crisis in Venezuela include non-interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela, inviolability of the Sovereign State, respect for democracy, rule of law and the constitution of Venezuela as well as peace and resolution of conflict,” Prime Minister Harris said.
Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris delivering remarks as Outgoing Chairman at the 40th Conference of the CARICOM Heads of Government He further said that for CARICOM, non-interference and non-intervention in the internal affairs of states, prohibition of the threat and use of force, respect for sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, respect for the constitutional framework and democracy, and the right of people to self-determination are core principles, which should not be violated.
“These are what we have to cling to in a world where international law and multilateralism are being undermined and small states are being increasingly marginalised. And despite whatever apparent differences appear in the ranks of CARICOM, I can assert that we all subscribe to these principles,” he declared.
Speaking to the integration movement, Dr. Harris said it needed to be kept on track, noting that there had been progress that had been incremental while the challenges had exponentially increased. He said that if the Region was to “merely survive”, processes of common action needed to be accelerated. He explained that the technological revolution, the volatility of the geo-political climate, the erosion of global principles among other challenges required a sense of urgency to determine the pace of progress in comparison to the necessities.
In closing his remarks, Dr. Harris used the opportunity to commend the CARICOM Secretary-General and the staff of the CARICOM Secretariat for their industry, ingenuity, reliability and professionalism.
“We are blessed to have such an excellent cadre of regional public servants working to effect our integration arrangements,” the outgoing Chairman said.