Oct 26, 2015 News
“The Charter which we celebrate…is meant to provide the peace and security that the world needs; it is meant to provide the peace and security that Guyana needs if our citizens are to have safe and good lives.”
By Desilon Daniels
As the United Nations (UN) celebrated its 70th anniversary, Guyana’s Head of State, David Granger, opined that the international organisation can provide the peace and security Guyana needs in times of trouble.
Granger’s statement comes at a time when Guyana’s western neighbour, Venezuela, has upped its claims to large areas of sea and land of Guyana.
A dinner was held on Saturday to commemorate UN’s achievement, and Granger took to the podium to highlight UN’s role in smaller states such as Guyana.
During his remarks, President Granger said that the establishment of the UN Charter on October 24, 1945 was “one of our greatest moments in history”. He noted that Guyana has become one of the many states that benefits from membership in the UN. He said that the Charter is an “irreplaceable regime” for the regulation of relations between states.
He further said that Guyana is pleased to be a part of the worldwide celebrations taking place to commemorate UN’s anniversary. He said that it is important that Guyana takes part in this celebration since the UN is currently preventing conflict somewhere.
“Its mediators are bringing adversaries to talk to each other. It is defending people’s human rights; it is feeding the hungry. It is sheltering the homeless….” Granger said. He added that this relief work has provided lifesaving assistance for countless persons.
In speaking on specific threats to Guyana, Granger said that the nation is currently seeing its foreign investors intimidated. The Head of State was clearly making reference to recent revelations by the Canada-based company Guyana Goldfields Inc. which shared that Venezuela threatened legal action against it for its operations in Region #7 (Cuyuni-Mazaruni). This area is part of Venezuela’s land claim.
Granger said too that Guyana has also seen foreign explorations being terminated by Venezuela. Here, he made reference to the October 2013 seizure of the MV Teknik Perdana, an exploration vessel that had been in disputed waters to determine whether commercial quantities of hydrocarbon existed. The captain and crew of the vessel were subsequently released but no word yet has been said on the exploration plans. Venezuela had also raised objections to offshore drilling embarked upon by Exxon Mobil earlier this year in claimed waters.
“Even now, it [Guyana] is enduring the painful illegal occupation of its territory,” Granger continued, before adding, “Guyana seeks the peace that only international organisations can promise; it seeks the collective security measures that only the United Nations could provide.”
According to Granger, Guyana is “eternally grateful” to the United Nations. He said too that Guyana is completely confident of and committed to the United Nations Charter, particularly Article 1 of the Charter. This four-part Article speaks to the maintenance of international peace and security and the use of collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace. The article also speaks to the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of peace and the bringing about of conformities with the principles of justice and international law through peaceful means as well as the adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of peace.
He stressed that the peace and security of nations should not be endangered and disputes should be settled by peaceful means. He further emphasised that all members must refrain from threatening or using force against any other state during their international relations.
“The Charter therefore is our refuge. The Charter which we celebrate today [Saturday] is meant to provide the peace and security that the world needs; it is meant to provide the peace and security that Guyana needs if our citizens are to have safe and good lives,” he emphasised. He continued, “We applaud the vision of the founders of the United Nations and we applaud particularly their recognition that peace is linked to the respect of human rights and the promotion of economic and social advancements of all peoples.”
He also applauded the UN’s promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Covenant of Economic, Cultural, and Social Rights and indicated that these issuances have expanded the scope of rights.
Meanwhile, UN Resident Coordinator, Khadijah Musa said that seven decades after its founding UN is still as relevant then as it now. She said too that in its 70 years, the UN had been at the centre of both praise and criticism. However, she stressed, the UN was “not created to take humanity to Heaven but to save it from Hell.”
She further said that global problems cannot be conquered by one nation but rather a collective. She said that the collective approach presents the best forum to meet challenges.
Specifically in Guyana, she said UN works towards a number of objectives, including nutrition security, protecting the rights of children, improving governance, promoting sexual and reproductive health, supporting essential health services, and providing policy guidance and strategic support.
Musa also made mention of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which she deemed as the launch-pad for shared development for the next 15 years. The main SDGs goals are to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.
“The UN will always be there and the UN thanks its member states for the support it has received up to its 70th years,” she said. She noted that at its creation UN had 51 member states and this number has now grown to 193 members. She said that the strength of number continues to give strength to the UN.
Granger’s call for peace in light of what he deemed aggression by Venezuela is nothing new and is one that has been made in recent weeks. This call was also made during his address at the recent UN General Assembly and had come following Venezuela’s deployment of army personnel and anti-aircraft guns in September to the border area separating it from Guyana.
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