With defeat looming at ICJ…
Kaieteur News – Former Guyana Ambassador to Venezuela, Bayney Karran has said that Venezuela’s initiative to go to a referendum to seek its citizens’ opinion regarding that country’s claim over the Essequibo, is but a reiteration of that nation’s greed, and of its ill will toward the Guyanese people, under the régime of Nicolás Maduro.
In a letter to the press, Karran who also served as ambassador for China, United States and the Organisation of American States (OAS) recalled that in the late nineties, “while I was serving as Guyana’s Ambassador to Venezuela, I encountered a Venezuelan young lady who was married into my extended family. “Maria” was bold and uncompromising in her conviction that the residents of Essequibo were culturally and ethnically Venezuelan, and that the region came under the civil jurisdiction of the Venezuelan state. Only upon the realization that her very own brother-in-law was married in Essequibo to an Essequibian did she reconsider her views, explaining that, if she were wrong, it was because that’s what she had been taught in school.”
Karran pointed out that successive Venezuelan Governments have brainwashed the population from their childhood, with misinformation, about the supposed merits of the territorial claim. “With defeat now looming at the ICJ, Maduro wants his duped population to validate the claim – by voting in a referendum that relies on Venezuela’s own deceitful propaganda. Josef Goebbels would have liked it,” Karran stated. He said it would be a good thing “if this hapless charade could be exposed and condemned by Guyanese everywhere for just what it is.”
Since the renewed threats by Venezuela there has been widespread condemnation by local and inter-nations groups. On Saturday last, Leader of the Opposition Aubrey Norton was briefed by President Irfaan Ali on the current developments surrounding the Guyana/Venezuela border. In a statement Norton said he reaffirmed the Opposition’s support for Guyana’s long held position that the Arbitral Award of 1899 settled the border between Guyana and Venezuela and that Essequibo belongs to Guyana. He said he informed the President that “we are united on this issue and reassured him of the Opposition’s support of all measures aimed at protecting our territorial integrity and sovereignty. Mr. Norton also indicated to the President that we support the view that Guyana has the right to undertake economic activity within our territory and in our appurtenant maritime territories. The Opposition opposes and condemns all forms of aggression by Venezuela against Guyana. We also welcome the support of the international community in protecting our territorial integrity and sovereignty.”
For its part, the Alliance For Change (AFC) also repudiated the most recent antics by Venezuela regarding the border controversy between our two states. “Apart from the fact that the 1899 Arbitral Award has definitively settled this matter, most recently, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has been invited to provide an opinion on Venezuela’s spurious and unfounded claims. It behoves the leaders of the state of Venezuela to recognise and respect legal precedent, international law and practice, and the process that is presently engaging the esteemed Judges at the ICJ,” the AFC said in a statement. The AFC said it stands unreservedly in solidarity and support with the Government and people of Guyana. “With the course of action adopted to preserve and protect our territorial integrity and sovereignty, the AFC, like all Guyanese, is not intimidated by Venezuela’s pronouncements, prancing, and aggressive stance. We are all resolute in our commitment to ensuring respect for the rule of the law and the maintenance of hemispheric peace and stability,” the statement concluded.
Over the weekend, President Ali said that Venezuela’s latest action can only be seen as an affront to peace and the rule of international law. In a video recorded statement, the Guyanese leader said his government regards this latest move by Venezuelan authorities to be in conflict with the preservation of peace and security within the region. He said this is especially so when one considers that there is an active case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to hear arguments from Guyana and Venezuela and henceforth settle the controversy started by the latter on the rightful boundary markings for the Essequibo region.
President Ali said the ICJ has determined twice that it has jurisdiction to resolve competing claims for the Essequibo territory, adding that a resolution by the court assures that both parties are duty bound to honour a permanent settlement that is equitable, just and consistent with international law. “We have subscribed ourselves to a process which is being carried out by the ICJ and we have submitted ourselves not only to the process but to the outcome. We also encourage Venezuela to fully participate in this process at the ICJ and do ensure that they too respect the outcome of the ICJ,” the Guyanese President said.
Notwithstanding the foregoing appeal, President Ali said he has taken note of the fact that over the last number of days, troubling statements have been emanating from Venezuela which are contradictory to the preservation of peace. He said such statements, which include that Guyana’s recent oil blocks auction is illegal, are clearly aimed at promoting Venezuela’s false claim to the Essequibo region. “I want to assure all Guyanese; we will consistently defend what is ours in a strong way in the framework of international law and peace. We are together on this as a nation and make no mistake, we as a people and as a country are aware of our boundaries and we respect our neighbours and we continue to promote living and existing in a zone of peace,” the President said.
He added, “We totally reject Venezuela’s attempt to disrupt peace within this region and this zone.” President Ali also said he has appraised the Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir as well as Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton on all the government has done thus far in response to Venezuela’s claims. He said too that statements in support of Guyana’s position from the Organization of American States (OAS), CARICOM and the US State Department, have been issued to the Speaker. He said too that the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has also been informed of the latest forms of aggression by Venezuela.
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