Saturday, April 13, 2024

OUR CARIBBEAN: Guyana/Venezuela row


Share post:

HISTORICALLY, all member states of our Caribbean Community have been supportive of Guyana’s demarcated sovereign territory of 83 000 square miles in opposition to disputed claims by neighbouring Venezuela.

Now, with new and recurring territorial threats from the government of Venezuela – evidently designed to scare away identified and potential major investors from both the US and Canada – the administration in Caracas is once again engaged in the dangerous game of beating war drums, fortified by its evident militaristic advantages against Guyana.

But CARICOM governments seem unable, or unwilling, to go beyond the traditional expression of “support” for Guyana’s commitment to a peaceful resolution. For a start, instead of, for instance, publicly urging both sides to actively pursue a judicial path with involvement of the United Nations Secretary General.

If we skip the histrionics and the political bubbles being expediently spread out of Caracas, and at times Guyana as well, then all governments, and those in the Caribbean/Latin American region in particular, should know that the most effective role they could, and should play, at this time, is to lean on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to seek a judicial settlement to this colonial-imbeded 19th century territorial dispute.

It is simply bizarre, in the current circumstances, for either the CARICOM bloc of countries or even the wider Community of Caribbean and Latin American States (CELAC), to offer endless muted suggestions for “peaceful negotiations” for a resolution of this colonially inherited dispute, more so in the face of Guyana being openly blackmailed, economically, by Venezuela’s open hostility in scaring away substantial potential foreign investments.

With the notable exception of the administration of the late dynamic visionary President Hugo Chavez – who had pursued a genuine friendship route with Guyana, consistent with his commitment to peaceful development and unity in this hemisphere – various Caracas administrations have kept alive claims to no less than two thirds of Guyanese 83 000 square miles of territory, located primarily in the sprawling Essequibo region with known richness in gold, diamond, petroleum and forest resources.

When both Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro, and his Guyanese counterpart, David Granger, held their meetings in New York that coincided with the ceremonial start of the current session of the United Nations General Assembly, they both went on record as favouring a judicial approach o resolving this horrible irritant to the expressed desires for a “peaceful resolution” to this territorial dispute.

If they have indeed gone beyond public relations blurbs and outlined a mutually agreed written draft action plan for the UN Secretary General’s active involvement as mediator in the process, then the people of Guyana and Venezuela should be so informed.

After all, the entire future of the Guyanese nation is at stake. The “diplomacy” must be as transparent as ever, right up to when the world court becomes actively involved in seeking a judicial settlement. Further, the governments in both Georgetown and Caracas must be seen to be actively involving their respective authentic parliamentary opposition in the negotiating processes leading up to the terms of reference, or mandate for action by the UN Secretary General on behalf of the two countries involved.

Such an approach, it is felt, could remove prevailing cynicism resulting from the parrot-like expedient calls from both Presidents Maduro and Granger for the UN to be involved in negotiations for a judicial settlement.

That, basically, is a return to what has long been already deemed in the 19th century by an international tribunal that offered “a full and final settlement” in recommending Guyana’s prevailing demarcated territorial boundaries.

After the tortuous political developments, including military incursions and economic blackmail affecting Guyana – prior to and since independence, the way forward is open diplomacy not secretive, double-edged approaches.

Rickey Singh is a noted Caribbean journalist.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related articles

New route for Grand Kadooment

Masqueraders will be parading on a new route on Grand Kadooment day. That was announced during the Crop Over...

Gastro on the rise while dengue cases drop

Dengue fever cases continue to decline but the numbers are still above the outbreak threshold. In its most recent...

IMF managing director selected for second term

WASHINGTON - The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) executive board on Friday selected Bulgarian economist Kristalina Georgieva to serve...

RiRi reveals fantasy plastic surgery

Rihanna revealed the “fantasy” plastic surgery procedure that she’s tempted to have done during a recent interview. The 36-year-old...