Nov 27, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – The region remaining a “zone of peace” has now been made into one of the centerpieces of what comes from some heads of Caricom countries. We like the sound of that, and support the substance of it. But no regional leader, no Caricom brother or sister, should include Guyana in that soothing and well-intended phrase, that kind of conversation. Truth be told, it is insulting to Guyana to be lumped with Venezuela in calls for the region to continue to enjoy its paradisaic peace.
Guyana has not uttered a single word of hostility against the Venezuelan people. In contrast, Venezuelan leadership has, from different corners, ratcheted up its warlike rhetoric in efforts to boost its incendiary referendum, and galvanize its suffering citizens. Guyana has not made any move at any time that could be considered aggressive, or even marginally threatening to Venezuelan interests. On the other hand, Venezuela’s military has been mobilized and massed at various points along the shared border. Guyana has not sent a single soldier or agent under any clothing, or fired one shot, into any part of Venezuela. But there is the record of Venezuela’s forays using different human camouflages to intrude into Guyana’s territory.
When the above is considered, why is Guyana being mentioned in any sentence talking about perpetuating the “zone of peace” in this region? We encourage leaders under the Caricom umbrella to examine the record to find a word, term, or phrase from Guyana’s President Ali or Guyana’s Opposition Leader Norton that has degraded the Venezuelan government and leadership in any way. While doing so, we appeal to them to engage to do the same to appreciate exactly what has been an official proclamation from Venezuela’s President Maduro, and it’s no less hawkish political opposition.
Accordingly, there is disappointment that Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley had this to say: “The last thing we want is for us not to be in a period of peace and a zone of peace.” We are of an identical mindset with Prime Minister Rowley on this issue. For Guyanese, it is not a matter of keeping alive a gas deal, but on what this nation’s very existence hinges. The prime minister said some more: “…I would not like to see the relationship between Venezuela and Guyana deteriorate to a point where consequent actions would negatively damage all of us, because all of us would be damaged.”
It is clear that the prime minister is putting considerable effort into dancing between raindrops, trying to keep his skin clean (his gas plans moving) in what is an explosive situation. He does no justice to himself, and certainly not Guyana’s cause, when he fails to stare at, and call out in diplomatic terms, the Venezuelans with whom he is playing a country-to-country version of ‘let’s make a deal.’ Prime Minister Rowley has shown his hand and where he stands, and we regret that it is not a good one. Some unambiguous language would have helped, and as all directed at Venezuela’s aggressive intent, its relentless raising of the stakes. Similarly, some unequivocal positions from the likes of other Caricom leaders, inclusive of Prime Minister Mia Mottley (Barbados) and Sir Ralph Gonsalves (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) would have been a wonderful gesture of true solidarity with a much smaller, much less powerful Guyana in this over a century long border controversy with Venezuela. It has not been so, and that is unfortunate, to put it mildly.
Guyana has taken a severe hit from unexpected sources during its hour of great peril. When this country needs other countries in the region to have its back, it has been left high and dry. Of what benefit, therefore, is the half century bond of Caricom, we ask. Though a recent statement signaled sincere support from previously conflicted and faltering Caricom brethren, it is taken with a pinch of salt. Trust has thinned, and there is the unhelpful thought that some Caricom leaders, in the ancient manner of politicians, speak from both sides of their mouths. Guyana has done its part to maintain a zone of peace in this region. The world knows that Venezuela has gone in the opposite direction.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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