Jan 30, 2021 Letters
That the Venezuelan’s state of readiness to fight a war for their ‘Guayana Esequiba’ is now at a point approaching “ground-zero” for the residents of East Bank Essequibo, which is very close to my home on the West Coast of Demerara, is troubling to me, and well as being a former officer in the Canadian Army, Combat Arms component, in the Regular Force, and who has studied military law and passed same, through the Officer Professional Development Programme offered to servicemen by National Defence Headquarters, I have profound interest in knowing of the planning and execution of any Defence plans or policies of Dr. Irfaan Ali, since he is the Commander of the GDF, as ultimately, those plans and policies are his responsibility as Executive President, not Carl Greenidge or Hugh Todd, as neither of these two Guyanese can plan and execute policies dealing with Guyana’s National Defence.
As I understand it, Mr. Maduro, is strongly backed by all Venezuelans, male and female, adults and children, and that they all collectively have one single sole desire – that is to say, to “reconquer Guayana Esequiba” and they have given Maduro that mandate.
This saw a unanimous, accordant and consentaneous backing by all political factions in Venezuela’s National Assembly.
Indeed, Maduro’s decree has seen full legal vetting and was gazetted last week. Venezuela can simply now declare war and kill each and every individual who is seen as a threat to their national security anywhere in the Guayana Esequiba zone, and no one can say, or prove, they can’t, according to Venezuelan constitutional and military laws.
I have heard that during January 2021, the Minister responsible for this matter, the Honourable Hugh Todd, sees it as a threat to Guyana’s sovereignty, and has started to be in a state of readiness, aspiring to pre-empt Maduro’s actions, so he says.
Guyana, I feel, can’t procrastinate its military involvement in the matter, as it is indeed a matter that comes squarely under that sector. One can’t sit back and wait for a legal process to unfold, troubling as it is, especially when such a process may take a decade to reach its mid-point, if at all, in my humble view, unlike Mr. Greenidge’s anticipation, which is two years, simply by saying that the matter is currently before the ICJ, and therein lies the sole solution to the issue, and waiting a further two years after the mid-point of two years is the best response Guyana must take. I am a Guyanese, and I don’t agree with such a nonchalant “desk-sitter-paper pusher” response.
My legal position on this issue is that this is not only a jurisdictional matter. This is not only about sovereignty. This is not only about a meeting of the minds between some individuals residing in Europe. This is about protecting one’s own identity, and face an aggressor in an appropriate, modern response in true likeness to what Guyana’s image is. The important collateral issue that I focus on is the fact that Maduro does not recognise another entity or body, save and except, a body consisting of his Venezuelans counterparts and our Guyanese counterparts.
Let me ask a simple question, Editor, if one who is known to you, Editor, was to come into your backyard situate at Lot 1, Timbuktu, during the night of February 1, 2021, steal your bicycle, kill your dog, imprison your wife, etc., wherein lies your retaliation? We all know every action has a reaction. One cannot wait until, January 1, 2030, some nine years later, to allow other person(s) to deal with the problem at hand, which is essentially between you, the said known person, and the State where you both live. Another question, if you would permit me again Editor, If there is a fire in one’s kitchen, which is two feet away from one’s living room of one’s house wherein houses you and your 10 children, and one wife, which one notices has already started at 07:00 a.m., would it be sensible to wait until 11:00 p.m. to deal with it, would it?
In the first scenario, nine years is surely not the appropriate response as the case will be so dead cold by then, no solution could be derived therefrom. The perpetrator of the act will go scot-free. You have fully contributed to that solution due to acquiescence to, and full accommodation of, his action by your inaction. In the second scenario, one would surely find nothing to deal with, as the issue will have become moot, for surely, the living room will be destroyed by the fire, which will quickly spread from the kitchen to it, because fire will destroy you, your one wife, and your 10 children – that is the attribute of a fire, it kills each and everyone it envelopes.
Guyana is awaiting a final judgement to uphold the 1899 Arbitral Award, no doubt, in my view, a Don Quixote response in light of the recent developments of imprisonment of three, not one, Editor, boatloads of fellow Guyanese seeking their livelihood, in Venezuelan jails. Editor, I trust you agree with me, that there must be corresponding action being taken by our Government in response to Maduro’s direct threat. If one can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
M. Shabeer Zafar
former Berbice lawyer
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