One of Guyana’s oldest political parties, the Working People’s Alliance, has issued a call on the Government and the National Assembly to consider a counter-referendum to affirm Guyana’s territorial integrity, in wake of the ongoing acts of aggression from neighbouring Venezuela and a heightening of its claims of Guyana’s Essequibo region.
In a statement on Saturday, the WPA rejected Venezuela’s repeated aggression towards Guyana, describing the current situation as “very serious”. The WPA said the prevailing situation must be treated as a serious matter.
With Venezuela making it clear that it intends to forge ahead with its planned December referendum claiming Guyana’s Essequibo region and seeking the Venezuelan public’s support for the Essequibo to become a new Venezuelan state, the Working People’s Alliance there must be a national response.
The WPA said it feels very strongly that the government, with the support of the National Assembly, should consider calling a counter-referendum in Guyana, “with the clear intention of affirming Guyana’s territorial integrity and our country’s commitment to a just, legal, and peaceful resolution to the issue. In addition to the above, the referendum should serve as a medium for popular education and mobilization of the popular mass of Guyanese citizens”.
According to the WPA, “while the Venezuela leadership is telling the world that it has no intention of invading Guyana, its rhetoric and internal actions leave no doubt that its intention is to hurt our country”.
The WPA noted that the fact that Venezuela challenges the very legitimacy of the current case before the International Court of Justice, exposes a dangerous mindset, which can only lead to permanent aggression on the part of Caracas”, the WPA said.
The party said the ongoing Venezuelan aggression must be seen as an existential threat to Guyana’s inalienable rights as a sovereign country.
“This expression of greed by our neighbor has no place in international relations. While we agree that the domestic political situation in Venezuela may be a motivating factor for its recent aggression, we believe that Gyana’s rise as a Petro-State is ultimately the root cause”.
In commending the Guyana government for putting the matter on the front-burner of its foreign policy agenda, the Working People’s Alliance said it still believes that the situation demands a much more pro-active national approach that transcends narrow partisan considerations.
Concerned that “there is more than a hint of sloth, complacency, and partisan grandstanding”, in response to Venezuela’s threats, the WPA appealed for an enlargement of the political space for joint action in pursuit of an overarching national response to Venezuela.
“Towards that end, WPA urges an overtly national response by the government and other stakeholders to what IS now clearly a permanent problem—one that would not cease to exist even after the ICJ rules in our favor. We, therefore, call on the government to treat the matter with the requisite seriousness that it deserves by setting up a Venezuela Border Task Force with the expressed task of fashioning and implementing a carefully thought-out overall approach to this problem. Sush a task force should include members of the National Assembly from both sides of the political divide, representatives of the Executive Branch and professionals and experts with the necessary skill set in the relevant areas”, the WPA advised.