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Jamaica votes not to recognise Maduro's second term as Venezuela president

Representatives from St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines
 
Jamaica has agreed not to recognise the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro's new term as president of Venezuela.
 
The vote was taken during a meeting Thursday of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS). 
 
Jamaica's support of the vote not to recognise Mr. Maduro's second term comes just two days after the government announced it would be seeking to take over Venezuela's 49 per cent stake in the Petrojam refinery.
 
The resolution was approved with 19 votes in favour, six against, eight abstentions and one absent.
 
The resolution urges all Member States to adopt diplomatic, political, economic and financial measures that they consider appropriate, to contribute to the prompt restoration of democracy in Venezuela.
 
It also calls for new presidential elections to be held at an early date and attended by international observers. 
 
Mr. Maduro was sworn in Thursday for a second term as Venezuela's president, despite international criticism that his re-election is illegitimate.
 
Earlier this week, Venezuelan Supreme Court judge Christian Zerpa fled to the US in protest over President Maduro winning a second term, arguing that the election was not free and fair.
 
The May 2018 polls were marred by an opposition boycott and vote-rigging claims.
 
The European Union has also said it will not recognise Mr. Maduro's presidency.
 
CARICOM split
 
Meanwhile, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is split in its position on the Maduro Administration.
 
In addition to Jamaica, St. Lucia, The Bahamas, Haiti and Guyana voted for the resolution.
 
St. Lucia's representative, said it was a difficult decision but the country "must at times do the uncomfortable, speak up and act on what we see." 
 
"While Venezuela has long been a friend of St. Lucia, we are at a loss for words at what we are witness to, a political, economic and humanitarian crisis that threatens us all," he lamented, adding that the issue was a regional one and not national or domestic as regarded by some.  
 
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, led a group consisting of Suriname and Dominica, which voted against the resolution. 
 
"The presidential election was assessed by many objective observers, including the Caribbean Observer Mission, to be free and fair. The results reflected the will of the people. A government has been truly elected by the people and for the people. We must respect the sovereign will of the people of Venezuela, nothing more, nothing less," said the representative from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. 
 
St. Kitts, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Belize and Grenada abstained.
 


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