Dec 05, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – Guyana’s Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo, revealed in a Monday interview that President Nicolas Maduro has assured Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders that Venezuela harbours no plans to invade Guyana. Despite these reassurances, Jagdeo emphasised the importance of sustained vigilance.
The Vice President is currently in Dubai attending the United Nations Climate Summit. During an interview with the News Room’s Neil Marks in Dubai, Jagdeo said that Guyana is prepared for the worst, as he conveyed the country’s readiness for any scenario by building defence cooperation with allies. He also urged Guyanese not to worry unnecessarily.
The Vice President said, “Maduro has been saying to the leaders that he has no intention of invading Guyana, he said this to CARICOM leaders and all those who spoke with him. We have had the opportunity to speak with many of those leaders here at COP and they have all said in their conversations with him this is what he has said.” Jagdeo added that Venezuela lawyer to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said the same thing. “We don’t believe they have a mandate for anything and secondly that they will invade Guyana and if you look at the assessment done by CNN and many international bodies, they believe too, because they speak to a lot of people in Venezuela, in the military, in the U.S Intelligence circles, people believe that Venezuela will not invade.”
“But we cannot, the leadership in Guyana cannot just take assurances from the Maduro government that they will not invade the country even if that is so, we have to be prepared for any eventualities and we must not let our guard down or let ourselves be less vigilant.”
Jagdeo continued: “we have to be very vigilant in this upcoming period because the Venezuelan leadership has shown itself to be very unpredictable and therefore that is why we have been working with our partners to ensure that we enhance defence cooperation that should the worst outcome happen that we can defend our country by all means necessary.”
As it relates to defence cooperation, Jagdeo said, “we are engaging, we are coordinating efforts, those who are engaged with us are working with us to build our capacity, not just planning capability but to look at protecting our territorial integrity.” “We are not a belligerent country and we are not one that would threaten Venezuela, so we are acting purely in a precautionary manner and in a defence capability but that does not mean that should they defy the International Court of Justice or defy the consensus in the world that we will just sit down and accept it and therefore this defence cooperation means preparing for the worse outcome.”
Moreover, Jagdeo reaffirmed Guyana’s position to abide by the decision of the ICJ and to allow the substantive case to be heard to its finality, since the country is confident in its case.
He was keen to note that the controversy has not distracted government from its development agenda and is in fact focused on exercising sovereignty over the country’s resources and utilising those in sovereign territory for all Guyanese. “We have not changed or slacken the pace on any of our development programmes so the work of government continues and I would say to the people of Guyana, don’t get caught up in this incessant almost traumatic experience of worrying unnecessarily and sharing things that may not be the truth.”
He said that only on Sunday evening, the Guyana Defence Force issued a statement in response to a widely circulated video on social media where a tribe of Venezuelans were removing the Golden Arrowhead from Guyana’s territory. Jagdeo clarified that this was not the case but the video was already shared by tens of thousands causing worry among citizens of Guyana. The former President in this regard said: “I want them to rest assured that we are doing all necessary to keep our borders safe and we will take whatever steps necessary to do so and Venezuela will not succeed on this issue, will not.”
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