Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is concerned about the political and economic crisis in Venezuela, and is desirous of seeing Venezuelans again enjoying their democracy.
“This (matter of democracy) is a principle that has nothing to do with any other country. This has always been Jamaica’s position. We wish the best for the people of Venezuela,” he said, adding that Jamaica supports upholding human rights and peace in the region.
The Prime Minister was addressing a joint press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister today (Feb. 7), following bilateral talks with Secretary of State of the United States of America, Rex Tillerson, who was on a one-day working visit to Jamaica.
The turmoil in Venezuela was one of several matters discussed during the talks. Mr. Holness informed that both Jamaica and the US agreed that the Government of Venezuela “must act in the best interest of its people and that it should ensure that the presidential elections are free, fair and credible in the eyes of the Venezuelan people and the international community”.
In his remarks on the issue, Secretary Tillerson said both countries “are heartbroken to see what is happening in Venezuela as we are seeing what was once a thriving democracy dismantled before our very eyes”.
He noted that it is for this reason that the US intends to “take all actions possible to persuade the regime to return to its full constitutional authorities; return it to the hands of the Venezuelan people”.
Mr. Tillerson said the US appreciates Jamaica adding its voice to this issue, noting that Jamaica’s vote in the Organization of American States (OAS) to achieve stability, prosperity and support democracy in Venezuela “has demonstrated exceptional support to the human rights issues that confront us in the Western Hemisphere”.
The US Secretary of State says the US will continue to ask its partners to support the people of Venezuela during this “very trying time”.
“The US will continue to put pressure on the (President Nicolas) Maduro regime to return its country to fee, open and democratic elections. The people of Venezuela deserve this,” he asserted.