Dec 09, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton on Friday submitted a Motion to the National Assembly, ahead of Monday’s Sitting, calling for the establishment of a high-level Border Security Commission in light of the spurious claims being made by Venezuela over Guyana’s Essequibo region.
According to the Motion seen by this publication, the Opposition is seeking the support of the National Assembly for a Border Security Commission that comprises representatives of the government, Opposition, key political and civil society stakeholders and experts in international law, national security, and diplomacy and other relevant fields.
The Motion also seeks the support of Parliament for the upgrading of the national defence architecture to ensure it can fulfill its duties and responsibilities in light of the threats being made by the President Nicolas Maduro administration.
In addition, the Opposition has also called for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation “to deploy special envoys to key institutions and countries of the world to explain the justness of our position and reject Venezuela’s establishment of the illegal state of ‘Guayana Esequiba,’ and to re-emphasize our commitment to a peaceful resolution of the territorial controversy.”
Penultimately, the political group is calling for the government to take measures to curb the further influx of Venezuelan migrants into Essequibo. It said this could counter one of Venezuela’s strategies in pursuit of its spurious claims.
Finally, the Motion by the Opposition seeks the support of the National Assembly to call on the Ministry of Home Affairs “to gather and share accurate information on the number, location, and citizenship status of Venezuelan migrants currently in Guyana, apart from the children of Guyanese who are entitled to become citizens of Guyana and put a halt to the issuance of birth certificates and national ID cards to Venezuelans.”
Venezuela is claiming two thirds of this country’s sovereign territory, a dispute that was settled since 1899.
On October 3, 1899, the International Tribunal of Arbitration presented its award which made the Essequibo region part of Guyana’s territory. It was determined since then to be a “full, perfect and final settlement.” Venezuela celebrated this award since through that instrument, it secured control over the mouth of the Orinoco as well as the Orinoco Basin. This acceptance was short-lived as just before Guyana gained its independence in 1966, Venezuela presented a new case for the territory.
When Guyana had approached the United Nations (UN) in 1961 regarding its application for independence, the UN received an objection from Venezuela. The UN was informed that Venezuela was in possession of a troubling letter from Severo Mallet-Prevost, a junior American lawyer who was on Venezuela’s side during the 1899 arbitration. That lawyer had written a letter alleging corruption at the tribunal.
Interestingly, that letter was written in 1944. This was after he was awarded the Order of the Liberator by the Venezuelan government. Strangely, he instructed in his will that his damning letter of alleged corruption should only be read and made public knowledge after his death which was in 1948. It was on the grounds of this letter that Venezuelan authorities said the 1899 award was null and void.
Between 1962 and 1966, the period when Guyana was seeking independence, the United Kingdom wanted to give Venezuela an opportunity to prove its claim of nullity. During that period, the British Government opened its archives in London for the Venezuelan authorities at the time to go through the documents related to the 1899 award. This was done in an effort to confirm the allegations of corruption as alleged by Mallet-Prevost.
In 1966, when it was realized that the controversy started by Venezuela was going to affect Guyana’s transition to independence the British Government agreed to sign what was called—The Geneva Agreement. This 1966 agreement essentially provided a number of mechanisms to allow Venezuela to prove its claim of nullity of the 1899 award. That instrument is still valid today and still applicable in the search for a resolution.
The Geneva Agreement established a Mixed Commission which had a life of four years. Its sole aim was to find a satisfactory solution for a practical settlement of the controversy. During that four-year period, Venezuela failed to prove its claim.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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