While not calling her by name, Guyana’s Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton on Monday chided Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley over her recent statements on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy.
At a Party Congress Meeting in Barbados, the Prime Minister made reference to the border controversy, describing Venezuela as a “good sister” to Barbados, while calling on Guyana and Venezuela to ensure the region remains a zone of peace.
During his contributions at the Extraordinary Sitting of the National Assembly on the border controversy, Mr. Norton referenced the statement by the Barbadian Prime Minister and questioned whether Guyana has ever threatened the peace of the region, as he made the case for Guyana to devise a more robust foreign policy for the Caribbean on the border issue.
“Only recently a Caribbean politician called on Guyana and Venezuela to ensure that the Caribbean remains a zone of peace. Are we to conclude that Guyana has threatened the territorial integrity and sovereignty of
any state in the Caribbean? Have we issued decrees to take over another state’s maritime space? Have we
rejected the decisions of any international tribunal. It was Venezuela that did. I think I have made the point that we are dealing with a dangerous and sinister enemy in the form of the Venezuelan state, and we will have to take measures not only to defend our territorial integrity and sovereignty but also our place in the Latin American and Caribbean Region. Clearly, there is need for a more robust and aggressive foreign policy, vis a vis Latin America and the Caribbean”, Norton told the National Assembly.
Mr. Norton reminded the National Assembly that Venezuela’s threat to Guyana is also a threat to CARICOM.
“We must keep at the front of our minds that Venezuela has already taken over Bird Island which was once owned by Dominica and has made inroads into the Eastern Caribbean states through the mechanism of Petro-Caribe and economic largesse has made inroads into our support among these states”, he said.
During her party congress address, Prime Minister Mottley told Barbadians that she hopes “that the rhetoric and noise between Venezuela and Guyana does not turn our Caribbean into anything that is not a zone of peace. Because it matters to us that this Caribbean remains a zone of peace and we ask those parties to recognize that their actions go beyond their two countries”.
Guyana was one of the founding member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Over the years, CARICOM has been steadfast in its support of Guyana in the border controversy, even as many of its member states have not been too forthcoming with their support of their sister-CARICOM state.
The Government of Guyana has started a major foreign policy push across the international community on the border issue, and the recent and ongoing acts of aggression from neighbouring Venezuela.
Foreign Minister Hugh Todd has been meeting directly with a number of foreign diplomats to inform and update them on the ongoing controversy and the aggression coming from Caracas.
The Opposition has said that it is fully supportive of the Government’s efforts.