Jan 13, 2016 News
By Abena Rockcliffe
Officials from the Falkland Islands have made themselves known to the new government of Guyana through meetings with President David Granger and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo among others. Based on the feedback given to the media from those officials, it seems as if Guyana will now be fostering a better relationship with the Falklands.
Ian Hansen, a member of the Legislative Assembly and Kysteen Ormond, Public Relations Manager made up the delegation.
The delegation has planned visits to several other Caribbean jurisdictions including St Kitts, Antigua and Trinidad and Belize (Central America). These trips have trading and political objectives.
Arriving in Guyana on Monday, Hansen and Ormond met the same day with Granger and Nagamootoo, and had discussions on several issues.
Yesterday, the two officials made themselves available to the media at a press conference hosted by the British High Commissioner, James Gregory Quinn.
At that forum, Hansen stressed on the importance he placed upon getting acquainted with the new government and said he was encouraged by the fruitful discussions centered mainly on self determination as a nation, and human rights. Ormond, while echoing similar sentiments, noted how amazed she was to learn more about the parallels that exist between Guyana and the Falklands.
In this regard, Ormond pointed to issues on the developmental front as well as relations with neighbouring countries.
Ormond’s reference was to the issues Guyana has with neighbouring Venezuela resulting in that country’s attack on Guyana’s territorial integrity at a time when Guyana has found oil. Venezuela is claiming Guyana’s oil-rich area.
Falklands, like Guyana, has recently found oil. Also, Falklands faces similar threats from its neighbour Argentina. Like the issues between Guyana and Venezuela, Argentina has been a bother to Falklands for quite some time.
Hansen told the media that his Island’s attempts at development on the oil drilling front have always been problematic, with Argentina trying to stifle development on that front.
Hansen noted that Argentina has written letters of discomfort to oil companies carrying out exploration and has even threatened to prosecute the companies. He said however, “It hasn’t made a difference. The companies have just carried on doing what they are doing.”
This mirrors one of the more recent developments with Guyana and Venezuela. It was found by the Guyana Government that Venezuelan elements tried to imitate being a gold mining company and was operating in the area which Venezuela is claiming as its own.
Hanson said that while his discussion with the President did not touch specifically on Guyana’s issues with Venezuela, they mutually agreed on other fronts that conflict is not the way to go.
“I guess we may deal with the problems in different ways, but we deal with it just to let the oil companies get on with it. For every letter of discomfort that Argentina wrote to the companies we wrote a letter of comfort.”
Hansen said that he thinks Guyana and the Falklands will enjoy a good relationship. He pointed out that the recently ousted People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration did not support the Falklands in recent times on the issues with Argentina.
“The last government for whatever reason took a change from what Guyana has always been; we were quite surprised about that. We didn’t even know why that has been, but the new President, Mr. Granger, has always been supportive of the Falklands,” Hansen said.
The Falklands Legislator said that he and President Granger did not speak directly about Guyana’s support from Falklands, but based on the fact that Granger has always supported the island coupled with mutual agreements on other issues “it (Falklands) thinks it is all positive.”
Questioned as to why the Falklands, a United Nations overseas territory, would even care whether or not it enjoys Guyana’s support, Hansen said that the support of every nation is important to the Falklands. He said it goes way beyond territorial support – all the way to the upholding of certain pillars of rights.
Hansen added that it is important for every country to support another country that is
being threatened or jabbed in a way that doesn’t harmonize with human rights self-determination. “It is not just about the Falklands.”
He found it necessary to note that the Falkland Islands supports, and calls for peaceful resolutions.
“Any disagreements between two countries have to be settled in a proper manner, taking into consideration the rights of all the people involved,” Hansen stated.
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