Saturday 28 March, 2020

Hanna wants answers as Jamaica-Venezuela spat deepens

Lisa Hanna

Lisa Hanna

Opposition Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Lisa Hanna has signaled that she will be seeking answers from the Andrew Holness administration regarding its policy position on Venezuela.

Specifically, Hanna wants to know whether the Jamaica Labour Party government intends to cut diplomatic ties with Venezuela, a close ally, and withdraw its ambassador to the South American country.

On Tuesday, Hanna tabled several questions in the House of Representatives relating to the increasingly frosty relationship between Jamaica and Venezuela. This, after the Holness administration, last week Thursday, sided with 18 other members of the Organisation of American States (OAS) in a vote that does not recognise the legitimacy of the Maduro government.

The opposition People’s National Party (PNP) sees this as interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.

Among her questions, Hanna also wants the Holness administration to state the criteria used in an international forum, to vote not to recognise the government of a sovereign nation.

Additionally, Hanna wants to know whether Venezuela’s supposed abuse of human rights played a role in its OAS vote. But the opposition also wants to know whether Venezuela is the only country that has been cited for abusing human rights.

According to Hanna, if the answer to the latter question is no, then the government must state whether it considers any other nation with whom Jamaica has diplomatic relations, to be abusing the rights of their citizens.

Meanwhile, the PNP spokesperson also wants the government to answer questions regarding its stated position, that it intends to forcibly buy back the 49 per cent stake in the Petrojam oil refinery that is owned by the Venezuelan government.

The PNP has described this move as "hostile, premature, disgraceful and unprecedented".

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