Guyana’s defence diplomacy stronger than ever before – Min Teixeira

– as US Army maintains strong presence here

Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Minister, Gail Teixeira has reckoned that the strength of Guyana’s defence diplomacy and capabilities is better than it has ever been, in light of heightened tension between Venezuela in the ongoing border controversy.
Engaging the Virtual Diaspora Public Awareness Session in Florida on the Guyana-Venezuela Controversy on Wednesday evening, Texiera underscored that Guyana has good allies on its side, especially neighbouring Brazil, which has been concerned about any incursions from Venezuela in Guyana’s territory.
According to her, times have changed from the position Guyana was in decades ago when it was not considered geopolitically important. Now, many such variables have turned around.
“Guyana today is not Guyana 20 or 30 years ago. It is completely different…Today, we are quite different in terms of our capabilities and intelligence gathering. Brazil has been the big brother of Guyana for decades regardless of which government is in power in Brazil. Every smaller country needs a big brother or big sister, especially if the neighbouring one is trying to claim your territory,” the Minister outlined.
Acknowledging that several South American countries currently have existing border conflicts with their neighbours, Teixeira said many of them are fearful that it may open similar controversies.
She reasoned, “Brazil probably has the most in terms of its huge landmass. So, many variables at work could change the outcome of what’s going on. Clearly, Maduro is delusional but the world and Guyana today in terms of what it has been able to do, we were never in this position before, in terms of the strength of our defence diplomacy.”
In fact, Reuters on Wednesday reported that Brazil “has intensified defensive actions” along its northern border as it monitors a territorial dispute between Guyana and Venezuela.
“The Ministry of Defense has been monitoring the situation. Defensive actions have been intensified in the northern border region of the country, promoting a greater military presence,” it said in a statement.
However, Education Minister, Priya Manickchand also addressed the forum, where she spoke of Guyana’s preparedness both nationally and domestically.
“While we hope and expect that the ICJ’s ruling will be respected and we believe that ruling is going to say that Venezuela is injuncted from doing anything with kind of result it gets from its referendum…While we hope that they will be compliant and respectful of that, we are also going to be prepared. We have made no secret of that.”
Manickchand added that the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) is mobilized and the United States Department of Defence remains on the ground and there will be ‘no holds barred’ in defending the border.
The education minister asserted, “We are mobilized. Our army is mobilized. The United States has troops on the ground that arrived here two days ago – a special delegation who have worked with us before. There will be no holds barred in the defence of our borders, our people, our territorial integrity and that may mean the reliance on friendly forces.”
After abiding by the 1899 Arbitral Award for almost half a century, Venezuela in 1962 claimed that the Essequibo area of Guyana belonged inside its borders. Guyana has noted that the boundary between the then-colony of British Guiana and Venezuela was determined by the Arbitral Award as a “full” and “final” settlement.
Last month, the Venezuelan National Electoral Council had published a list of five questions that it plans to put before the Venezuelan people in a referendum set for December 3, 2023. The referendum will seek the Venezuelan people’s approval to, among other things, annex Essequibo and create a Venezuelan state. It also seeks the citizens’ approval for Venezuela to grant citizenship and identity cards to residents of Essequibo.
Over the past few weeks, Guyana has been informing regional and international partners of Venezuela’s planned referendum, which has been criticised by the United States, Caricom, and the Organisation of American States (OAS), as well as several other nations in the Region, including Brazil.
The Guyana Government has, however, already declared its commitment to resolving this longstanding border controversy with Venezuela through the legal process at the World Court. This position was also reaffirmed by Guyana’s National Assembly in a unanimous vote. (G-12)