Even as Caricom nations continue to lobby for consensus on the situation in Venezuela, individual countries are praying that a resolution may soon be found as they express an outpouring of love and hope for the stricken south-American nation.
One such appeal came from Grenada’s Minister for Youth Development, Sports, Culture and the Arts Norland Cox yesterday.
“The world is a very small place and we are all very saddened by what is happening there (Venezuela). The whole region, of course, wants the situation to be resolved as quickly as possible,” Cox told the media during a press conference at The Normandie Hotel, St Ann’s.
“If something is going wrong in your backyard it can affect you significantly and so we are just hoping for some consensus for heads to come together and resolve this.”
Pointing out that Venezuela was a sovereign nation, Cox added, “There is only so much you can do as other islands and we are working on the diplomatic end to ensure that they can come together and resolve this.
“It is very painful. Venezuela has been a regional friend to Grenada and we have worked together for a number of years so we are hoping for the best. If you don’t put a handle on these things it can always get away from you and there will be collateral damage. It is right in our backyard.”
Referring to the presence of some of the world’s super-powers in local waters as the situation rages on in Venezuela, Cox said, “They are right in our neighbourhood and we are very concerned but very hopeful that some resolve can come to this matter very quickly.
“We know all who are on both sides do love Venezuela in their own way and I think that is the starting point in terms of resolving this matter. Once you focus on Venezuela and the passion and love they have for the country, I believe they can come to a consensus and resolve this matter once and for all.”
Asked if Grenada had begun to receive Venezuelans fleeing the crisis in that country, Cox said they had not witnessed any influx of nationals from that country, as has been the case in T&T.
In December 2018, the United Nations said the deep economic crisis afflicting Venezuela had prompted 3.6 million Venezuelans to flee - most since 2015. This figure, they claimed, represented roughly ten per cent of that country’s population.
Cox is in T&T at the invitation of Caribbean Prestige Foundation (CPF) and the National Carnival Commission (NCC) to offer support to the five Grenadian artistes who will be participating in today’s Soca Monarch and Groovy Soca Monarch semi-finals at the Arima Velodrome.
Competing tonight from Grenada will be Hollice “Mr Killa” Map, Dingaan “Lil Natty” Henry, Nyelon “Thunda” Williams, Hector “Mr Legz” Thomas and Jevaughn “V’ghn” John. Thirty-five people were selected for the semi-finals tonight following which only 15 will be selected for the finals on March 1.
“I am here to give them our full support and I want to wish them all the best. It means a lot and we are pretty excited that is happening. We are pleased to share that with T&T as the two have a long-standing history of successful partnerships…T&T is like family to us,” Cox said.
Extending an invitation to Trinidadians wanting to get away during the two days of Grenada revelry scheduled for March 4 and 5, Cox said persons could go to Grenada and experience a “scaled down” version of T&T’s carnival on the island of Carriacou which will highlight the Jab-Jab Mas they are uniquely known for. Grenada’s official carnival will take place in August.