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(Barbados Today) Outgoing Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) Sir Louis Straker of St Vincent and the Grenadines is confident CARICOM will stand behind the embattled Nicolas Maduro government in Venezuela, despite concerns raised by his own prime minister that the regional grouping was divided over the issue.

Speaking with reporters Thursday on the sidelines of COFCOR’s 20th meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Sir Louis gave the assurance that CARICOM would not abandon Venezuela in its time of need, adding that the South American nation had been “very good” to the Caribbean over the years.

It was the same assurance that the head of the Venezuelan embassy here Francisco Manuel Perez Santana said Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had given to Maduro, while assuring the Venezuelan leader he “will never act against the Venezuelan people”.

It was not clear if Stuart had given these assurances before or after Barbados, along with the Bahamas, Jamaica, Guyana and St Lucia, had broken ranks with the remainder of  CARICOM and voted with the big countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) that want to kick Caracas out of the hemispheric body.

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