Venezuelan Ambassador to Saint Lucia Her Excellency LieffEscalona confirmed to HTS News4orce – the Embassy is aware of comments by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet to consider invoking visa restrictions on Venezuelans.
The Saint Lucia Prime Minister issued the diplomatic advisory during the weekly pre-Cabinet press briefing on August 14 after citing crime, the recent civil unrest, and apparent influx of Venezuelan nationals fleeing the country seeking refuge across the region.
H.E Escalona explained that the Venezuelan Embassy will withhold comment until formal correspondence is delivered. [Watch video]
Former External Affairs Minister Alva Baptiste chided the Prime Minister for the visa restriction remarks during an August 15th Saint Lucia Labour Party [SLP] press conference.
“It is something that I believe the government should take to the parliament and let’s have an honest debate about what should be done in this particular case…It is not something that we can casually say: ‘Yes we should’ or ‘No, we should not.”
“That’s why the diplomatic world is not a place for simpletons. It is not a place for simpletons at all. We must conduct our affairs with great dexterity and we need to take time to analyse things – to comprehend things in all of the ramifications. It is only then that we can make a determination that would be appropriate.”
Since establishing diplomatic relations in 1979, Venezuela has provided millions of dollars in grants and trade to Saint Lucia. Additionally Saint Lucia nationals have previously benefited from Venezuelan academic scholarships.