Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton today rejected the moves by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro to create a Venezuelan state out of Guyana’s Essequibo region, declaring that the the neighbouring country has no jurisdiction over the Essequibo Region
The Leader of the Opposition said the development is not only abhorrent, but has dangerous implications for the existing territorial controversy and represents a flouting of the recent decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
It is also being viewed as a major threat to the peace and stability of the region.
In an interview with News Source at his Congress Place office this afternoon, Mr. Norton said the 1899 Arbitral Award that outlined the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela still stands, and it is clear that Venezuela’s actions are “misplaced.”
He said Guyana will not allow the Nicolas Maduro Administration to capitalize on the border controversy, which is before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to score cheap political points.
“As Maduro grapples with his internal problems, we will not allow him to utilize the situation with Essequibo to achieve his narrow political objectives,” the Opposition Leader said.
Norton, who spoke to President Irfaan Ali on the matter this morning, said the Government should press countries across the world to reject President Maduro’s attempt to establish a new state that incorporates the Essequibo Region.
“It is a dangerous precedent; it violates international law, and therefore, it should be dealt with instantaneously. Essequibo belongs to Guyana, and there is nothing; there is no concept like Guayana Esequiba as suggested by the Venezuelan Government,” Norton said.
The Opposition Leader said while he stands united with the Government and the people of Guyana on the issue, he believes that Government’s approach to addressing the “national crisis” is lacking.
“First, the Government should have prepared a proper a memoir in which it identifies all the issues and have it circulated in all capitals in the world. It is easy to do it because all the countries are at the United Nations, and at the United Nations, you can have them circulate it to all the countries,” he said.
He said missions and special envoys should be dispatched across the world to ensure that Guyana’s position is known globally.
Further, he submitted that the issue should be dealt with as a nation, and not single handedly by the Government. According to him, key stakeholders, including the Opposition, should be involved in every step of the way and aid in the decision-making process as information becomes available and is analyzed as a collective.
“The Government should have already established a mechanism whereby the Government and the Opposition, and all key stakeholders were operating like a war room, in which we are analyzing every issue, in which, we, having analyzed the issues, putting out the information and giving leadership and guidance to the people. We have to do everything to build confidence in the people of Guyana,” Norton reasoned.
Norton said Foreign Diplomats should be called in to to offer support and build the capacity of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address the controversy.
Describing the issue as a “national crisis”, the Opposition Leader said it is important to put the appropriate organization in place to manage the issue, emphasizing that it cannot be done by the Government alone.