Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (R) greets Venezuela's Ambassador Jose Gomez Febres at the start of their meeting last Friday at Government Headquarters. (C. Pitt/BGIS)
By Sharon Austin
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) -- Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has described the recent talks between Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and the representatives of opposition parties in that country as “a very healthy development”.
Stuart expressed this view last Friday during discussions with Venezuela's ambassador to Barbados, Jose Gomez Febres; minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Senator Maxine McClean, and other officials.
The prime minister told the Venezuelan envoy: “I can only hope that the dialogue will continue. Peaceful coexistence is what is needed in Venezuela, as well as respect for differences of opinion. I think both sides should keep their eyes fixed on the larger picture – the development of the country and people. The people should be able to get on with their lives, the country should settle down, and the elected government and the representatives of the opposition parties, working together, should be able to deal with the issues facing the most vulnerable members of the society.”
Gomez Febres presented Stuart with a dossier outlining what has taken place over the past two months in the South American country. He said the Venezuelan government and the opposition parties were building a relationship to allow them to coexist, despite the fact that they might not have the same vision. He said that it was a good start and that another meeting would follow.
The ambassador added that Venezuela was willing to listen to the advice of its friends and described Barbados as such. The meeting between Maduro and the opposition representatives was brokered by foreign ministers from three countries within the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the representative of the Vatican, and took place at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas last Thursday night.
During the wide-ranging discussions between Stuart and Gomez Febres, bilateral matters such as trade, air transport, maritime transport, energy issues, and the teaching of English as a foreign language, among others, were examined.
The prime minister said that Barbados’s international business sector is focusing on Latin America and the necessary legislation had been put in place to make Barbados a more attractive domicile for investment from Latin America.