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National Security Sen. Minster Hermangild Francis

“Venezuela is still our friend!” – Francis

[Press Release] The Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Senator the Honourable Hermangild Francis will lead a contingent to Venezuela on Friday, July 27, 2018 where he will meet with the Minister of the Popular Power for the Interior, Justice and Peace Mr. Nestor Luis Reverol and the Director of the National Anti- Drug Organization Mr. Juan Grillo Gonzales.

The Government of Saint Lucia has announced that visa requirements will be imposed on Venezuelans, with the exception of diplomats and genuine business persons. This action he says was precipitated by mounting national security concerns and the monitoring of unrelenting activities impacting the island’s porous borders.

Minister Francis explained that the Government has been very thorough in relation to responding to some of the spin-off challenges emerging from the country’s current unfortunate economic circumstances.

“Venezuela is still our friend. We are not attempting to embarrass any nation, but suffice it to say that it is incumbent on the Government to take measures that will protect the country from security threats, and not compromise the security of our citizens or our borders. So this visit signifies that we are still friends and we will discuss mutual concerns and explore any solutions for going forward.”

Minister Francis also calls on the public to trust the Government’s position, noting that it is not necessary to sensationalize this issue.

“This action is not unprecedented. It is not unprecedented that governments respond to their domestic concerns. We in Saint Lucia have visas imposed on us, and I speak of a country of less than 180,000 people.”

The entourage leaving for Venezuela will include the Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Mr. Dorian O’Brian, Venezuela’s Ambassador to Saint Lucia Leiff Esconlona, and representatives of the Office of the Mayor of Castries.

Minister Francis says he is looking forward to favourable talks.

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