There is an ongoing discussion over at BBC Caribbean on whether or not the OECS should in Venezuela at member state. One former Caribbean diplomat is urging the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to say no to a membership request by Venezuela.
According to Sir Ron Sanders, former Antigua Ambassador, says it would be unwise for the OECS to bring Venezuela into their group.
Len Ishmael, who is the OECS Director General, confirmed recently that the application was discussed at a meeting in Montserrat -but she said decision makers within the sub-region were yet to determine whether membership should be granted.
Former Antigua Ambassador, Sir Ron Sanders is the only one against the idea – Dr Ishmael also declined to say whether the request was likely to be viewed favourably by OECS leaders, but said the region has enjoyed strong relations with the South American nation.
Sir Ron outlined his misgivings in an interview with BBC Caribbean – Listen to Sir Ron Sanders
As we all know Dominica have benefited significantly since becoming a member of The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) trade agreement.
Please, I’m curious to hear what you think – Should the OECS include Venezuela? Share your views with readers in the comments.
I don’t know much about this, but I’m inclined to think not. The present states in the organization are small and poor, and Venezuela is comparatively very large and rich. There would be a natural imbalance.
Also, most wealthy countries keep their relationships with the small Caribbean states fairly too simple (often bordering on neglect, sadly), but Venezuela is a member of the oil cartel and (unfortunately) has a major role in actual or suspected drug smuggling. Venezuela is a fairly large player on the world’s economic and diplomaric stage; it would leverage the organization if Venezuela were a part of it.
The real question underlying all these overtures from Venezuela is simple: why? Obviously some of the aid and interests are partly humanitarian, but clearly Venezuela is seeking allies and to strengthen its influence in the region (also sending a message to the US). There must be an emphatic NO to any political union involving Venezuela. ALBA is already questionable enough, in terms of value to Dominica. Yes, we must acknowledge and be grateful that Venezuela has been a great friend ever since independence, 30 years ago. It has been very supportive, and has come to Dominica’s assistance financially in many ways, but we should clearly demarcate certain lines here and look at the big picture. Lets not keep prostituting ourselves, Skerrit. There is some disparity between the true interests of OECS and that of Venezuela. There needs to be more transparency on intentions here too.
Equally important though, one should also ask: whatever is going on with those initiatives in the OECS and Caricom? Meetings with leaders look like just talk shops. They just sit on agreements and initiatives. Worst yet, the populace is ill informed on decisions or expectations…
Then there are the other proposed unions: OECS and Trinidad, OECS and Barbados. Whose agenda is being advanced here? Do we need to have such subsets within Caricom? Are the leaders really plugged in to the wishes of the people on that front? Why is it there is less public discussion and little PR on these issues?