Ministry of the Presidency, Georgetown, July 2, 2015
For Guyana, the 36th Regular Conference of Heads of CARICOM Heads of Government in Barbados is timely; giving the country the appropriate platform to reaffirm its unyielding position against Venezuela’s attempt to infringe on its right to its territorial sea.
Speaking to a gathering of Guyanese at the home of the Consul General, Michael Brotherson, in Barbados, President David Granger said that while Guyana has the resources to help make CARICOM an economic powerhouse, the country needs the support of this regional body with regards to the Venezuela issue.
In May President of the Bolivarian Republic, Nicholas Maduro issued a decree claiming most of Guyana’s exclusive economic zone.
“We have come here under a cloud because we have laboured with a monkey on our back and that is the territorial claim by Venezuela. It is something that obstructed development, taking funds away from other forms of development, intimidating investors…” the Guyanese Head of State said.
The President is firm in his belief that if CARICOM countries can come together as a collective, Guyana and the region as a whole can overcome this challenge.
“We hope to work with our colleagues to ensure that the two things our leaders stood up for in 1965, national independence and regional integration are upheld and this meeting and throughout the future development in CARICOM, President Granger said.
Over the past month, Venezuela has extended its claim to Guyana’s territorial sea where US oil company Exxon Mobil has been conducting offshore drilling on behalf of the Government and people of Guyana.
President Granger is on his first overseas visit since assuming office and used the opportunity to thank the diaspora for their support in the run up to the recent general and regional elections.