Georgetown, Guyana, September 29, 2015 – Small states risk being subjugated unless the international community can demonstrate the capability and commitment to provide an effective deterrent against domination by larger, stronger states. This was President David Granger’s main message during his address to world leaders at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly today.
The President said that as a small state, Guyana, for the past 50 years has been prevented from fully exploiting its rich natural resources. Venezuela has threatened and deterred investors and frustrated its economic development
“For fifty years Venezuela has promulgated spurious decrees claiming our territory, the most recent being on May 26th, 2015, our Independence anniversary, when it issued Decree No. 1.787 with specified coordinates purporting to annex almost our entire maritime zone. That decree constituted a reassertion of its claim to five of Guyana’s ten regions,” President Granger said.
He informed the gathering that Guyana rejects the threats and claims by Venezuela, which are in defiance of international law. He said, “Guyana resists Venezuela’s acts of aggression in defiance of the Charter of the United Nations, which prescribes the peaceful settlement of disputes and proscribes the use of armed force.” He maintained that Guyana’s border with Venezuela was settled 116 years ago, a fact that the whole world, except the Bolivarian Republic, accepts.
The Head of State also outlined that Venezuela is more than four times the size of Guyana, with armed forces that that are more than forty times the size of Guyana’s Defence Force.
“Mindful of its superior wealth and military strength, and unmindful of its obligation as a member state of the United Nations, of the Union of South American Nations and of the Organisation of American States, Venezuela has pursued a path of intimidation and aggression. Venezuela is unsettling a settled border. It is destabilising a stable region of the globe by the use of armed force against a peaceful, small state,” President Granger stated.
He asserted that Venezuela’s expansionist ambitions cannot be allowed to unsettle the principle of inviolability of borders, undermine the tenets of international law and unravel borders, which have been undisturbed for decades.
In wrapping up his presentation, the Guyanese Head of State assured the international community of Guyana’s: commitment to preserving the Caribbean as a zone of peace; renewed pledge that the country will pursue the path of peace; commitment to peaceful settlement of international disputes; total confidence in international law; and assurance to resolve this controversy in a manner that is consistent with the UN Charter.
“Guyana does not wish that this obnoxious territorial claim should obscure the prospects of peace and obstruct the possibility of growth for the next fifty years. We need a permanent solution in order to avoid the fate of perpetual peril and penury. Guyana seeks a juridical settlement to this controversy,” the President said.
He expressed full confidence in the UN and the mechanisms that it has made available to countries to resolve controversies and said, “The United Nations is our best assurance of security for a small state. The United Nations is our strength, support and succour in our time of danger. We pledge Guyana’s adherence to the Charter of the United Nations.”