Guyana’s relationship with neighboring Venezuela remains “healthy” according to Government’s Chief Spokesman Dr. Roger Luncheon.
Dr. Luncheon made the pronouncement in an invited comment to News Source on Wednesday. It came at a time when International Relations Experts are predicting an escalation of existing tension and a subsequent deterioration of relationship between the two neighbors in wake of the drilling for oil in the Guyana waters by an American oil company.
The predictions also come at a time when the United States has imposed sanctions on Venezuela which it says is a threat.
“I would hesitate to pronounce definitively on the matter of worsening of the relationship between the government of Guyana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” Luncheon told News Source before noting that the sentiment at the Cabinet level is that the differences between the two countries can be handled using diplomacy without causing injury to the existing relationship.
Guyana and Venezuela have long argued over ownership of the oil rich Essequibo region although Guyana owns the region.
In more recent times the Venezuelan government has objected to exploration activities by Guyana in offshore areas.
Two weeks ago, Venezuela objected again over Guyana’s decision to give U.S based Exxon Mobil a concession to explore for oil offshore Essequibo. But despite the objection the Guyana government and the company have moved ahead with its plans.
But Dr. Luncheon believes that despite these differences the engagements between the two have been healthy in the face of what he termed a peculiar and chronic issue that dates back to the 1990’s.
“Since in the time of President Hugo Chavez both Guyana and Venezuela have sought specific mechanism not to have the controversy impact unnecessarily heavily on bilateral relations,” he added.
Notwithstanding the good relations which Dr. Luncheon speaks of, Guyana is still being warned to be alert of a possible pending escalation in the age old dispute over the Essequibo Region.
There has been no other correspondence between Venezuela and Guyana since Guyana disregarded the objection to Exxon Mobil’s exploration activities which commenced last week. (Kurt Campbell)
Filed: 11th March, 2015