Georgetown, Guyana — The Working People’s Alliance (WPA), a member of the ruling coalition, has criticised the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) over the statement on the recently escalated maritime border between Guyana and Venezuela issued following the recent CARICOM heads of government summit in Barbados.
In a statement on Saturday, the WPA said it is surprised that, on their return to Guyana, both President David Granger and Minister Carl Greenidge expressed satisfaction with respect to the ‘Statement on the Decree 1787 of Venezuela’.
“The statement was extremely terse, as though the heads would rather be rid of the problem (which might have been the position of Dominica, Haiti, Jamaica and St Vincent who have especially benefitted from the Venezuelan connection),” the WPA said.
In fact, the WPA noted that the statement refers specifically to Guyana in only two paragraphs.
In the third paragraph, it states that the “Heads (of Government) noted in particular the negative implications which the Decree has for the peace, security and development of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana” and, in the fourth paragraph, there is a reference to a letter, written a year ago by the chairman of the CARICOM Conference to Venezuela’s President Maduro, “encouraging Venezuela to redouble its efforts at an early delimitation of the maritime boundary between Guyana and Venezuela (and) finding an early solution to the controversy that has emerged from the Venezuelan contention that the Arbitral Award of 3rd October 1899 that established the boundary with Guyana is null and void”.
The other three paragraphs of the statement refer to issues of the inviolability of international treaties and boundaries.
“On reflection, it is not surprising that a watered down statement would have emerged out of the CARICOM conference, given the PetroCaribe and other economic relations with Venezuela. Perhaps the strategy that Guyana should have employed is to argue for two separate, but related statements – one dealing with CARICOM as a whole and another specifically related to Guyana,” the WPA said.
The WPA suggested a few robust declarations that the Guyana negotiators should have struggled for and challenged the other member states to include in any CARICOM statement on the Guyana situation:
- A call on Venezuela to recognize and adhere to the binding1899 Arbitral Award which committed the respective parties to a ”Full, Perfect and Final” settlement
- A second would be a call on Venezuela to recognize Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and not to encroach on same
- A third should have been to call on Venezuela to desist from making military threats against Guyana.
- A fourth could have been to call on Venezuela to desist from taking physical action or making verbal utterances that scare investors and harm Guyana’s ability to exploit the resources of the Essequibo region.
- A fifth should have been to call on Venezuela to cease all other actions and declarations that are tantamount to destabilization of Guyana
“Venezuela’s withdrawal of the 1787 Decree, and its replacement by the equally obnoxious 1859 Decree, with its euphemistically called “defence zones”, designed to allow it to aggressively and illegally patrol Guyana’s waters, requires CARICOM and all other supporters of the Guyana cause to immediately make another statement, this time harshly condemning Venezuela’s action,” the WPA concluded.