Guyana is now looking to the United Kingdom for support against Venezuela’s persistent aggression over its claim to the Essequibo region and Guyana’s oil rich maritime space.
President David Granger while attending an event to mark the birthday of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, called on the UK to demonstrate solidarity with Guyana “and to condemn the use, or threat of the use, of force in the settlement of international disputes.”
The Guyanese Head of State said he was particularly lobbying the UK for support because it was under its regime that the territorial issue arose and was resolved peacefully by an international tribunal.
The UK and by extension the Commonwealth have always supported Guyana’s contention that the border issue with Venezuela has been settled.
In this regard, the United Kingdom’s support for Guyana’s position on the claims being generated by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela over previously settled borders was also welcomed by President Granger.
“Guyana-Venezuela relations, since the independence of Guyana in 1966, have been affected by intermittent and aggressive claims by Venezuela on Guyana’s territory,” he added.
He noted that Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, on May 27, 2015, issued Decree No. 1.787 extending Venezuela’s claim to Guyana’s waters which include the exploration site of ExxonMobil.
The US oil giant recently announced what could be the most significant oil find in this part of the world.
The Guyana government has stated that the decree gives the Venezuelan Navy the authority to secure the area and prohibit any exploration activity.
“It has become increasingly clear that Venezuela intends to put Guyana under pressure and stymie its development by its unfriendly actions,” Granger contended.
President Granger stated that on the occasion of the Queen’s 89th birth anniversary, the Guyana government stood ready to work with its international partners for the development of all Guyanese in pursuit of common goals. “Our longstanding relations with the United Kingdom have evolved considerably over the years. Our two countries have developed fruitful cooperation at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels including through the successful biennial United Kingdom – Caribbean Forum and the Commonwealth.”
He also thanked the United Kingdom for its support for this country’s development efforts and, “more recently, for its advocacy of good governance and respect for the rule of law.” He said that Guyana also welcomes the United Kingdom’s continued collaboration in addressing global challenges which confront both developed and developing countries.
“The United Nations will be adopting and pursuing a new development paradigm in the post-2015 development Agenda and this will provide a sound basis for our future cooperation especially in the area of sustainable development”.
Before proposing a toast on his country’s behalf, UK High Commissioner Gregory Quinn noted the difference that a few weeks had made in the local political landscape, and reiterated that the recently concluded elections were free and fair.
He said that the important thing now is to move forward, “for us all to help develop and grow Guyana in the way its people want, and its people desire”.
He reiterated that the UK stands ready to help with that process. “We are a friend of Guyana. There are no doubt challenges (and) much work to be done in many areas”. He listed the example of abuse against women which continues to be a concern for him, describing this as unacceptable and disgraceful. He added that it should bring shame on those who perpetrate it and that, “It has no place in a modern democratic Guyana”.
High Commissioner Quinn commended the new government for its work on reconciliation and national unity, urging that everyone work for this common goal. He added that those who work “so tirelessly and passionately for that independence would join him in seeking that unity”.