OPINION: By Denroy McTair. Sunday April 19, 2020.
Very brief history of relations between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
The geographic locations of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela have awarded them to be bordered by the rich and beautiful Caribbean Sea.
Sharing this geographical space, it is safe to call both countries neighbours and neighbours are to live good, showing solidarity to each other.
Over the years, Venezuela has done precisely that, showing solidarity towards its neighbours throughout the region and the world.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela formed diplomatic ties on the 29th of October 1981, with Venezuela establishing an embassy in St. Vincent and the Grenadines the following year, enthusiastic about development and sustainability of the small island state.
The late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez often said that “solidarity doesn’t mean sharing our surplus, but to share what we have, in times when we have a lot, also when we have little”. It is with this philosophy we have seen a strong expression of Venezuelan altruism on St. Vincent and the Grenadines and throughout the Caribbean region.
Over time, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been the benefactor of numerous contributions from Venezuela which have had an impact in every sector of its economy and have catapulted development within the small island state.
Some of these projects derived from the Petro Caribe (an initiative that has cut out the middle man and brought cheaper oil prices to the region) and, ALBA (the Bolivarian Alliance for the people of our Americas) Caribe fund/Bank which have seen both agreements directed at fighting poverty, building infrastructure, provision of health services, job creation and resource development.
The outcome of these funding regimes is seen through social and economic development within St. Vincent and the Grenadines, just to mention a few;
- One laptop per child Initiative
- Argyle International Airport
- Vision Now Program
- Academic Scholarships
- Lowmans Bay Powerplant and Storage Facility
- PetroCaribe LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas)
- Covid-19 test kits and medical supplies (most recent)
A statement of Gratitude
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has seen its share of natural disasters and economic challenges for the past decades which have created an agglomeration of hurdles for the island state.
Through it all, Venezuela has been there to assist in every way possible even though they themselves have been bombarded with political and civil unrest, economic sanctions, threatened with international intervention, natural disasters, among other problems.
As a prior Scholarship awardee of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Academic Scholarship, I have received first-hand benefits of the kindness of the Venezuelan people and their government.
They are a resilient and proud people who share a strong conviction of liberty and that of solidarity. I sincerely want to express my gratitude and thanks to the people and government of Venezuela for being a great neighbour in the time of need.
Their recent act of kindness towards our country by the donation of medical equipment, assisting with medical personnel from Cuba and Covid – 19 test kits shows that Venezuela is committed to be its brother’s keeper for the greater good of our region.
I ask the Vincentian public to remember the people of Venezuela in your prayers or by assistance whether it may be in-kind or gratitude, as they themselves are battling with the recent pandemic and are in a very precarious economic situation, we must look out for each other in this global village and work together in this time of uncertainty.
“In the unity of our nations rests the glorious future of our peoples.” Simon Bolivar.