Director of Frontiers in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ms. Donnette Streete, has cautioned Guyanese to be careful with following some of the utterances coming out of the Venezuelan government on the border controversy, explaining that the neighbouring country is involved in a massive propaganda campaign on the issue.
During a Kaieteur radio interview, she said Venezuela’s continued misinterpretations of the 1966 Geneva Agreement continues to be troubling, since the country is well aware that it is in acting in conformity with that agreement.
“So, these are all deliberate misinterpretations of the Geneva Agreement, that the government of Venezuela has been propagating and if we are not careful, I think we can get really caught and sucked into that level of propaganda,” Ms. Streete said.
She describes Venezuela’s continued claims over the Essequibo as increasingly ridiculous that has no basis in law and goes against the spirit of the Geneva Agreement.
“Venezuela’s claims became more outrageous so essentially what happened the Government of Venezuela started out by declaring that the award was invalid from this original declaration. Venezuela then graduated her claim to the Essequibo region, and then it moved from the Essequibo belong to Venezuela to the waters off the coast of Essequibo belonging to Venezuela, then it moved from that to now claim has graduated to include the water off the Coast of even the water of Demerara and Berbice,” Streete pointed out.
According to the Foreign Affairs official, the Geneva Agreement does not mention Essequibo or Venezuela’s claims to Essequibo. She said it was the actions of Venezuela that has led Guyana to moving to the International Court with the issue.
“The Geneva Agreement does not in any way negate the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award, the Geneva agreement in no way recognizes that Venezuela has a legitimate claim to the Essequibo region, the agreement is in no way intended to supersede the award or to indicate that Guyana is somehow stopped from developing its territory or continue it economic development of Essequibo or the water,” Ms. Streete noted.
It was also stated that Venezuela’s continued rejection of the ICJ process shows that the country has no intention to negotiate in good faith. She explained that Venezuela fully participated in a process in 2017 which was spearheaded by the UN Secretary General and both parties agreed that should that process fail, the ICJ was next.