Any incursion will be dealt with by security forces – VP
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo has issued a stern warning, emphasising that any attempt to breach the nation’s borders including those by criminal gangs, will be met with resolute action by Guyana’s security forces.
Speaking at his recent press conference, Jagdeo firmly declared that Guyana does not recognise any extension of the Venezuelan map. The Vice President said that acknowledging such an extension would imply a flaw in the 1899 Arbitral Award, a historical agreement that demarcated the borders between the two nations.
Addressing the question of incursions by illegal gangs, he placed attention on the readiness of Guyana’s security forces. This is part of Government’s commitment to maintaining sovereignty and protecting its territorial integrity.
“Our position is that it’s illegal. What he has done is illegal but it is not unpredictable because they’ve always had this area as part of their map but as Zona en Reclamación. We know what our borders are and any incursion by anyone, including criminal gangs will be dealt with by our security forces. We are watching this carefully,” the Vice President told media operatives.
Recognising the diverse composition of migrants, Guyana is taking steps in addressing the evolving situation. In looking at every possible threat, the Vice President said they remain alert for any person who might have ill intentions towards the country.
“The majority of the migrants here who have come, they’re peace-loving people. Many of them are Guyanese but there could be people here who have ill intent to our country. We’re not turning a blind eye to that too. Our security forces are looking at that. We’re looking at every possible threat to our country and our people.”
Under the watchful eyes of the world, Venezuela on December 3 went ahead with its planned referendum containing all five questions as is, including a question asking its citizens for approval to invade Essequibo and create a Venezuelan state out of two-thirds of Guyana’s territory. This is despite the ICJ ruling on December 1, which barred Venezuela from taking any action emanating from the referendum, to seize Essequibo while the Court makes its decision about the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award.
On Tuesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced several measures which his Government intends to take in enforcing the outcome of the referendum held on December 3, 2023.
Guyana has since engaged Caricom, the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Commonwealth and many bilateral partners, including the United States of America, Brazil, the United Kingdom and France.
The United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) commenced “flight operations” across Guyana on Thursday, and has communicated that it would continue collaboration with the GDF in the areas of disaster preparedness, aerial and maritime security, and countering transnational criminal organisations.
This exercise was built upon routine engagement and operations to enhance security partnership between the United States and Guyana, and to strengthen regional cooperation. (G12)