A university lecturer in political science has slammed Barbados for its support for a vote condemning the democratic process in Venezuela, declaring: “Venezuela is more democratic that Barbados.”
Head of Department of Government, Sociology and Social Work at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Tennyson Joseph today tore into Bridgetown, along with fellow Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries Guyana, Jamaica and St Lucia, for joining the so-called Lima Group of States in criticizing the Venezuelan government’s decision to hold a presidential election on April 22 without reaching an agreement with an opposition coalition.
The grouping claimed the election would not be free and fair as long as Venezuela has political prisoners, the opposition was not fully participating and Venezuelans abroad were not allowed to vote.
Barbados did not sign the latest declaration, but is listed as a supporter of the group, which was established following the Lima Declaration in August last year in the Peruvian capital, where representatives of 17 countries had met to plot an end to the political crisis in Venezuela.
In May of last year Barbados had joined 18 other countries, including the Bahamas, Jamaica, Guyana and St Lucia, in approving the meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of American States, going against most of CARICOM.
Speaking last night just outside the Venezuelan embassy at a ceremony in observance of the death of that country’s leader, Hugo Chavez, Joseph contended that unlike Barbados, the people of Venezuela had a major say through a constituent assembly in changes to their constitution.
“When last did you have a national constituent assembly in Barbados to ask people to look at your constitution to review it and make it more powerful?” he asked, while championing Caracas’ social services.
“You had free education in Barbados. Wasn’t that a beautiful social revolution that [Errol] Barrow gave you? … I ask you, where is your free education today?
“Caribbean leaders can’t solve a sewage problem in their own backyard” but are seeking to interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs, Joseph continued in an apparent reference to the ongoing sewage crisis on the south coast.
The UWI lecturer suggested that Guyana’s support for the statement was prompted by its border dispute with Venezuela, which dates back to over a century.
However, Joseph reserved his most blistering words for Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness, whom he described as a “lapdog” of the United States, and St Lucian leader Allen Chastanet, whom he called a “blockhead”.
He noted that US secretary of state Rex Tillerson had visited Kingston last month, shortly after the American president Donald Trump had referred to Haiti and countries in Africa as “shitholes”.
“The same week after Trump called all of us shithole countries the prime minister of Jamaica [hosted] a secretary of state whose president has just insulted him and his people, and to do like a lapdog to do his bidding,” he said, adding that after hurricanes Irma and Maria had devastated some Caribbean countries last September Venezuela was among the first to send assistance.
“The Prime Minister of St Lucia, the blockhead that he is, went on the radio and said that we should diversify our sources of assistance . . . . He was so angry that Venezuela had the first plane on the ground the best he can say is he is asking Caribbean governments to diversify their sources of aid because we are depending too much on one country,” he charged.