As Venezuela’s aggression regarding its claim to Guyana’s territorial waters becomes more pronounced, the Twin-Island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has come out in unequivocal support of Guyana in this matter.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who is attending the 36th Regular Meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), dismissed Venezuela’s so-called decree that claims ownership of Guyana’s economic zone as illegal since it constitutes a flagrant violation of the International Law of the Sea.

“Trinidad and Tobago fully supports Guyana with respect to the border dispute, we have gone a step further, we have always had discussions with Guyana and we offered to assist in any way that we can by having dialogue by the bilateral or multilateral level,” the Trinidadian Prime Minister stated.

This follows the strong stance taken by President David Granger, in his inaugural speech at the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting, where he implored the Community to reaffirm its collective support for the principles enshrined in international law for safeguarding territorial integrity, sovereignty and national independence.

Making Guyana’s case at the Hilton Hotel in Barbados, the President said that, “CARICOM has been a source of solace and steadfast support for Guyana’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over the years. We never needed that support more.”

Guyana’s border dispute with Venezuela was fixed 116 years ago, when it was determined, defined, delineated and demarcated by international arbitration. In addition, maps were drawn and atlases were adjusted. President Granger noted that border markers were cast in stone.

“Any state that systematically, cynically and sedulously seeks to repudiate solemn international agreements and to undermine the security and sovereignty of another state must be condemned. Our national boundaries have been recognised internationally,” the Guyanese Head of State asserted.

Though Guyana and Venezuela continue to share cordial diplomatic ties, the border issue has constantly reared its head and the President noted that over the past 50 years the Bolivarian Republic has been approaching this issue with increasing aggression.

“That country continues to threaten the development of Guyana, a CARICOM member state, both on land and at sea. That country, mindful of its superior wealth and military and naval strength and unmindful of the plight of the poor people of one of the world’s smallest and least populated States, has again resorted to intimidation and the threat of the use of force.”   

He maintained that naval superiority cannot be allowed to supplant the supremacy of the law and reiterated Guyana’s call for solidarity and support. 

“We clamour for the succour of the Commonwealth. We yearn for the security of the United Nations and the shelter of international law to bring a peaceful end to Venezuela’s rejection of the validity of a boundary which has been defined as a full, perfect and final settlement.”

 During an engagement between President Granger and United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon at the Barbados meeting, Guyana was given the assurance that a mission will be deployed sent to Guyana with the aim of addressing the matter from a more in depth and informed platform.

Over the course of the past week, Guyana was also assured of the support of the Commonwealth from the Secretary General, H.E Kamalesh Sharma, who stated that the 53-nation body stands as one in its commitment to support Guyana’s sovereign and territorial integrity.

The Guyana delegation has today also engaged in bilateral talks with delegations from Dominica and St. Kitts.    

Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro was slated to join with CARICOM Heads at this meeting; however, he opted to send his Vice President Jorge Arreza in his stead, with whom President Granger has indicated a willingness to engage in discussion on the matter. 

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