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Bahamas PM says Venezuelan Gov’t illegitimate

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NASSAU, Bahamas (CMC) – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis says The Bahamas remains firm on its position on Venezuela and is backing an Organisation of American States (OAS) position that the polls in the South American country “was an illegitimate election”.

Minnis was among four Caribbean Community (Caricom) leaders — St Lucia, Jamaica, and Haiti – who met with United States President Donald Trump at his private residence in Miami last weekend to discuss the ongoing economic and political situation in Venezuela.

Washington, backed by a number of its allies, are seeking to remove President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn into office in January for a second-consecutive term, with Opposition Leader Juan Guaido, who has since declared himself as the interim president of Venezuela.

“The (Organization of American States has) categorically stated that the election in Venezuela was an illegitimate election.

“Our argument was if the election is illegitimate it means the Government is illegitimate. If the Government is illegitimate, and we are a democratic society who believes in democracy, both us and America, which means that you must have new elections and that must be done as quickly as possible. That has been our position,” Prime Minister Minnis told reporters on his return here over the weekend.

“When America issued a statement that they were recognising the Opposition leader, Juan, as the president of Venezuela, we, likewise, agreed because the election and the Government was illegitimate and the assembly had appointed Guaido as the president of Venezuela. Our position has not changed,” he added.

In January, OAS members passed the resolution to not recognise Maduro with 19 votes in favour, six against, eight abstentions and one absent. Jamaica, Haiti, The Bahamas, Guyana, and Saint Lucia supported the resolution, while Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname voted against it.

St Kitts -Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, and Belize abstained during the vote, while Grenada was not present.

But since then Caricom has adopted a united position on the matter and last month the regional leaders at their inter-sessional summit in St Kitts-Nevis reiterated their position of non-interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela and said they were prepared to mediate in the process to bring about a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

Last Saturday, Caricom foreign ministers held talks with Guaid in accordance with the decision by Cariocm leaders to facilitate a “peaceful resolution” of the political and economic crisis in the South American country.

The meeting provided a greater understanding of Guaido’s views and perspectives on how to move forward in the search for peaceful solutions, as well as his willingness to take part in meaningful discussions. The participants accepted the benefit of further engagement,” they said in a statement afterwards.

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