Nov 12, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – The regional cardsharps are being exposed, and the cards that they have up their sleeves have slipped onto the table. CARICOM was supposed to be about this one big happy family, one leader even calling the Guyanese head of state her “brother.” Apparently, the realities of national considerations make oil and gas thicker than blood. There was strength and fire from the leaders of regional neighbors during Guyana’s tumultuous 2020 elections, with loud sounds of unswerving dedication to principle heard. All of that seems to have gone underground because self-interests now trump sisterhood.
CARICOM made its position clear and early: it is for Guyana in the matter of its border controversy with Venezuela. For whatever reason that does not seem to have gone down well with a few leaders that are part of the regional body. There is what gnaws at the edges, and though no leader has come right out and taken a position that clashes with that of CARICOM’s, there has been nibbling at the edges. What embarrasses (them not us) is that the more that regional leaders geographically closest to Guyana play games with words, the more they look unimpressive.
The genuine stand with friends and family when they are in the right. Guyana is in the right, and hugely so, in its border controversy with Venezuela. Regardless of how much Venezuelan leaders network with other Caribbean leaders, regardless of what promises were made, or what quid pro quos have been worked out, Guyana is in the right, and that unwavering ground is unbreachable. It would have been helpful, definitely conducive to mutually rewarding relationships, in times ahead, if our friends and neighbors in the region did not see it fit to split hairs, and to try to please both Guyana and Venezuela with the schemes percolating in their minds.
Trinidadians and Barbadians did not glaze their words with honey during the last elections here. It would be encouraging to hear and observe some words and postures of similar strength in this matter involving land and riches between Guyana and Venezuela. For the record, and information of those hemming and hawing about how fully they should come out, all the land and all the riches are on the Guyana side of the border, and part of the patrimony of the Guyanese people.
We readily acknowledge that Venezuela has a lot to offer to many of our regional neighbors. Even in its weakened state, Venezuela can make mouthwatering commitments to CARICOM member states. This is what could prompt some of those thought to be among Guyana’s staunchest regional allies to keep a safe distance from Guyana. This is so that they can get something positive from Venezuela. It is obvious that Venezuelan leaders have not been idle, but busy gathering friends in the region to shore up its shaky position. Oil and gas relationships with Venezuela on one side clearly have gone a good way in pushing some regional leaders under the CARICOM umbrella to revisit Guyana’s border issue and positions, who now see those in a less than principled light.
Some fair-weather winds are in operation here. Though Guyana could use as many friends as it can get in its corner, it can only deal with those who are not of the iffy variety. That is, when things get tough, fair-weather friends find safety in all manner of verbal constructions in efforts to be all things to all people. To be frank, this is insulting to Guyana and its positions. It is better to have a few trusted friends who will stay the course, and not those who discard history and integrity when its suits their purposes.
This emphasizes how much Guyanese only have each other at the end of the day, given this tight spot. Guyanese join hands and cement their minds to oneness on this border controversy, and they will manage the challenges ahead. It is imperative, therefore, that local leaders and partisans bury their differences, and stand in united front against this menacing threat. Other neighbors are there, but not really there, viz., as in being fully in Guyana’s camp. Self-interests beats sisterhood, as is evident in emerging political expediencies at the regional level.
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