I was just about captioning my discourse with you this morning as “The Venezuelan aggression,” making specific reference to the border controversy between the two states, but I stopped short of doing so knowing fully well that we have no controversy with that country’s peoples but with its leader. Hitherto this time we’ve had excellent relations with the Bolivarian Republic in a good neighbourly friendship in the bartering of our rice and sugar in return for cheap petroleum and their byproducts.
This is the kind of cordial relations that each country enjoyed until something drastically took place, when all of that changed.
That eventful something was the change in USA policy towards Venezuela which in essence started this turn of events. So if someone should ask the question, why would a change in Venezuela’s relations have any bearing on us? Well, the simple answer to that question is ever since relations between Venezuela and the Americans soured, this caused the Bolivarian Republic to shift its stance with us, meaning, everything from that time until now hit a discordant note where friendship is concerned.
Venezuela now views Guyana as a threat to them and in that regard, the concomitant hostilities meted out towards us. They are picking a fight with poor defenceless Guyana when the real object of their indignation is the United States, this is the way Maduro sees it. He thinks that we are too close to the USA, which is an arch-enemy of theirs, hence the peeved performance of this man when he sees our fishermen near his territorial waters. And from the look of things, this aggression will not go away anytime soon, even though they have agreed to a resumption of the good neighbourly diplomacy policy. Even at this latest conciliatory move of theirs, we cannot drop our guard but keep a constant, watchful eye, on the actions of Maduro.
But lest we be carried away with the Venezuelan discussion, we need to take a step back and review the actions of our neighbour to the east of us, theirs was a similar course of action taken to resolve the disputed maritime boundary. In fact, Suriname’s actions were even more severe, in that they routed the prospecting CGX oil rig out of the disputed waters with gunboats. That matter was only settled when we resorted to the international court. In short, Guyana has had its fair share of hostilities from both our neighbours.
The point I am making is that the legal resolution is the only recourse we must take to get to a final and lasting settlement to our borders. In addition, we must get back to the beaten path of good neighbourly relations; neighbours ought to live like neighbours.
To our legal team, I would reiterate the point that we must add our maritime boundary dispute matter on to the ICJ’s case docket, in this way we will get to a final and definitive settlement of this issue.