Fellow Guyanese,

I address you on an unsettling development in relation to the unlawful claim by Venezuela to Guyana’s Essequibo Region, which constitutes more than two-thirds of Guyana’s national territory.

Tonight, President Maduro announced several measures which his Government intends to take in enforcing the outcome of the referendum held on December 3, 2023.

As I made clear from the date the referendum was first announced, this is a direct threat to Guyana’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence, and in violation of fundamental principles of international law enshrined in the UN and OAS Charters.

The measures announced are in blatant disregard of the order given by the International Court of Justice on December 1, 2023. Guyana views this as an imminent threat to its territorial integrity and will intensify precautionary measures to safeguard its territory.

I have tonight spoken to the Secretary General of the United Nations and several leaders alerting them of these dangerous developments and the desperate actions of President Maduro that fly in the face of international law and constitute a grave threat to international peace and security.

Also, Guyana will tomorrow, bring this matter to the United Nations Security Council for appropriate action to be taken by that body.

Further, we have engaged CARICOM, the OAS, the Commonwealth and many of our bilateral partners including the United States of America, Brazil, the United Kingdom and France. The Guyana Defence Force is on full alert and has engaged its military counterparts including the US Southern Command.

By defying the Court, Venezuela has rejected international law, the rule of law generally, fundamental justice and morality, and the preservation of international peace and security. They have literally declared themselves an outlaw nation.

Nothing they do, however, will stop Guyana from proceeding with the case in the ICJ, or stop the ICJ from ultimately issuing its final Judgment on the merits of the case.

We will not allow our territory to be violated nor the development of our country to be stymied by this desperate threat.