The Government of Venezuela today ended its silence on the arrest and detention of two Guyanese fishing vessel and their crew members, claiming that the vessels were illegally fishing in its waters.
Guyana maintains that the two fishing vessels were off the coast of Waini Point within Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone when they were detained by the Venezuelan Coast Guard and escorted to Venezuela.
In its statement today, the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Relations claimed that the two vessels were within its jurisdiction without any legal documentation.
“The operation of the Bolivarian Navy was carried out in waters of undisputed Venezuelan sovereignty, in full respect of current legislation, guaranteeing due process for the detained crew members”, the statement said.
The Venezuelan government accused the Guyanese government of a new media matrix with its statement on the issue.
Venezuela says by its statement, the Guyana Government is interfering in its internal affairs by making references to a recent decree issued by Venezuela.
That decree claims land and maritime space belonging to Guyana and has been condemned by the Guyana Government and a number of its international partners.
“By reiterating the aspiration to maintain relations of respect, cooperation and good neighborliness with the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates that it will not allow illegal incursions of any kind into its territory and that it will exercise, as it has always done, the sacred right to the defense of their sovereignty”, the Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Ministry noted.
Guyana has condemned the arrest of the fishermen and the detention of their boats.
Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Hugh Todd today met with the owners of the boats and assured them of the Government’s efforts to secure the release of the crew and have them returned to Guyana.