Trinidad & Tobago recognises Maduro as president of Venezuela

Min­is­ter Stu­art Young

(Trinidad Guardian) Min­is­ter in the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter, Stu­art Young has said that the gov­ern­ment of Trinidad and To­ba­go cur­rent­ly recog­nis­es Nico­las Maduro as the pres­i­dent of Venezuela.

He made the an­nounce­ment at Thurs­day’s post-Cab­i­net news con­fer­ence.

How­ev­er, he once again re­it­er­at­ed that Trinidad and To­ba­go re­spects the sov­er­eign­ty of Venezuela and has no in­ten­tion of in­ter­ven­ing.

“I have come here to­day to re­it­er­ate gov­ern­ment’s po­si­tion. This has been the gov­ern­ment’s po­si­tion from day one. The gov­ern­ment’s po­si­tion when it comes to mat­ters of for­eign pol­i­cy, is we will not in­ter­vene nor will we in­ter­fere with what is go­ing on with sov­er­eign states,” Young said.

He said it was a po­si­tion that had been giv­en care­ful thought.

Min­is­ter Young is ask­ing lo­cal com­men­ta­tors to first read the Con­sti­tu­tion of Venezuela and be­fore pro­nounc­ing on a po­si­tion but he did not go in­to any par­tic­u­lar de­tail of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

“At the end of the day, the Venezue­lan peo­ple will de­cide,” he said.

The Min­is­ter said the gov­ern­ment of Trinidad and To­ba­go is en­cour­ag­ing di­a­logue.

“We al­so call for calm for what­ev­er it is worth. We hope that they can work things out via di­a­logue” he said, be­fore adding that the gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to de­cline any hard­line so­lu­tions.

As for fears of a greater in­flux of Venezue­lans in­to Trinidad and To­ba­go, Min­is­ter Young, who is al­so the Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty, said that he has spo­ken to na­tion­al se­cu­ri­ty agen­cies on en­sur­ing the coun­try’s bor­ders are pro­tect­ed.

“The bor­ders have been made less pourous and I want them even fur­ther se­cured. That is tak­ing place,” he said.

He said a meet­ing will be held among na­tion­al se­cu­ri­ty op­er­a­tives next week, specif­i­cal­ly to ad­dress bor­der se­cu­ri­ty.

He told re­porters that po­lice have en­hanced their op­er­a­tions on land and that the Coast Guard’s 14 in­ter­cep­tors will play an in­creas­ing role on sea.

Venezuela is Trinidad and To­ba­go’s clos­est neigh­bour, just sev­en miles from the shores of Trinidad.

The Unit­ed States, the Unit­ed King­dom, Spain, France and sev­er­al South Amer­i­can coun­tries have ei­ther ex­pressed sup­port for Op­po­si­tion Leader Juan Guaidó who de­clared him­self as Pres­i­dent of Venezuela on Wednes­day, or have de­nounced Maduro’s lead­er­ship as il­le­gal.

Rus­sia, Chi­na, Cu­ba and Turkey are among the coun­tries sup­port­ing Maduro, de­scrib­ing what is tak­ing place in Venezuela as a US-led coup.

The pop­u­la­tion of Venezuela is 32 mil­lion but mil­lions have fled to neigh­bour­ing coun­tries in the last three years fol­low­ing a dras­tic col­lapse in the coun­try’s econ­o­my, which saw in­fla­tion cross 1 mil­lion per­cent.

There are an es­ti­mat­ed 40,000 Venezue­lans in Trinidad and To­ba­go.

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