Visa restrictions on Venezuelans not politically motivated, says PM Chastanet

By Gideon Aurelien

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(SNO) – Government’s decision to impose visa restriction on Venezuelans is not politically motivated.

So said Prime Minister Allen Chastanet to reporters on Wednesday, insisting that the visa impositions were “strictly on a security basis” and something the Venezuelan government understands.

The prime minister said that he has met with Venezuelan authorities in Venezuela and the consensus was that both sides will continue to work to strengthen each other’s borders.

“My primary responsibility is the safety of the citizens of Saint Lucia. I have no difficulties with the government of Venezuela,” Chastanet said.

In making a case for his government’s decision to impose visa restrictions on Venezuelans, Chastanet said Venezuelans have been involved in the shipment of arms and drugs in Saint Lucia and throughout the Caribbean.

The reason for that, he said, is the Venezuelan economy, which is suffering.

“People wanting to leave are using these items (guns and drugs) to generate cash. We have limited resources to dedicate to our border control. So by putting restrictions on Venezuelans allows us the ability to have greater amounts of control,” Chastanet said.

He further explained that such restrictions give Saint Lucia greater leverage to expedite a Venezuelan who runs afoul of the law.

“Currently Venezuelans coming here do not need visas. If in fact we find a Venezuelan who is suspicious of anything we do not have the ability of extraditing him (them). But if in fact we know they are on a visa, and we have concerns, then it gives us greater leverage to expedite them,” Chastanet said.

The main Opposition Saint Lucia Lucia Labour Party (SLP) said it views the imposition of visa facilities on Venezuelan nationals and the simultaneous granting of visa free access to Chinese nationals, with suspicion and that this scenario presents a disturbing dichotomy.

“The prime minister’s rationale for imposing visa facilities on Venezuelan nationals is seriously flawed. Mr. Chastanet argues that it was for security reasons. He insinuated that the 60 homicides in 2017 as well as most of the guns coming into Saint Lucia had to do with the mass movement of the said nationals towards the Caribbean. The fact is, we do not have a problem with Venezuelan nationals at our ports of entry. Hence the imposition of visa facilities on Venezuelan nationals has nothing to do with the security interests of Saint Lucia and Saint Lucians,” said Alva Baptiste, first deputy leader of the SLP.

According to Baptiste, the prime minister needs to clarify this allegation as he seems clueless on issues of national security, and that it was this seeming deplorable ignorance, which led him to further state that no coast guard boats were operational when he came into office in 2011.

“The truth is, all except two boats were operational. The only two boats that were inoperative at the time were PO4 and PO6, which remain so to this day. Consequently, the Opposition dismisses Mr. Allen Chastanet’s comments on the aforementioned national security issues as mere propaganda. The Saint Lucia Labour Party would like to make it abundantly clear, that it rejects the arbitrary withdrawal of this privilege to our long-time friend and ally, and upon our return to office, we will immediately restore the mutual respect and friendship with Venezuela by reinstating the previous visa protocol. The SLP also condemns, in the strongest possible terms, assassination attempts on democratically elected leaders in our hemisphere or any other part of the world,” Baptiste said.

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4 comments

  1. In the land of St. Lucian dimwits, who all have a "Dr." in front of their name, the doctorateless "dek-dek" is PM and every self-important stenographer assumes the title of journalist!

    How exactly can placing visa restrictions on Venezuelans control the flow of guns into the country? We'll never know, because the fawning stenos from St. Lucia's fake media will never ask the "dek-dek". When exactly did mere suspicions become the basis for extradition treaties?

    The hand which controls St. Lucia's puppet PM is the same hand which uses Colombia and Venezuela as way-stations for the distribution of arms throughout South America & the Caribbean. The only viable export of the US is arms; in order to remain viable, there must be eternal crime and chaos of war around the world.

    What do you think is the purpose of those 1000+ military bases around the world? The only purpose they serve is to threaten and extort obeisance to the US empire! These military bases need one commodity to keep running - OIL - and with Venezuela sitting on the world's largest untapped reserves, the US cannot have Venezuelan use their oil to benefits its citizens and friends in the region; it must be used for sustaining the US empire's chokehold over the world's six billion citizens, for the benefit of six families who rule the world!

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  2. Every single Caribbean country should take in at least 50 Venezuelan families. Venezuela has done enough with its oil wealth for each and every single Caribbean country. For those of you St. Lucians not versed in either history or the present, no other country except Cuba and Venezuela in Latin America has done more for the Caribbean than these two. It is indeed shameful that in their moment of need we shun them. In St. Lucian language, we call people who behave dis-honourably and who forget the good that others have done as : "mal-honet." It translates to lack of integrity. Some talk about national interest as if they know what it means, including those in the government. Ask the Americans how many white Europeans they let in when Europe was burning in the aftermath of World War II. The answer is millions. And we are a selfish people and I am ashamed as a St Lucian to be associated with the decisions made by the Caribbean on Venezuela. We should hang our heads in shame. And our day will come. To Venezuelans everywhere; some of us have spoken against our government's treatment, so we are not silent on this because we know better. If it were the little eyed people with their paper money, the government would be rolling out the red carpet. Now our people, so many who carry our native DNA, are being denied dignity and freedom. This is beyond disgusting. And SNO, you have a habit of not putting people's comments. As a media house you have a responsibility to promote dialogue that is just and fair. For those in St Lucia against this, continue letting your voices be heard.

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    • Stop your BS you freaking idiot.......How about you take them in your Casa nobody wants them. Mr Prime Minister please you owe them blow heads jack stand your ground keep St.Lucia safe .

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      • Jackass ! Don't come with your Trump mythology Venezuela was always there for us now we not showing them any support because our leaders fear what the US might think. Chastanet is a jackass Kenny was more of a states man that him any day on any level.

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