Home Top Stories Opposition Leader stands with Govt on territorial integrity efforts
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Monday condemned the actions of the Venezuelan Navy on Saturday when it interfered with a research vessel doing work on behalf of ExxonMobil in the Stabroek Block.
At a press conference at his office, Jagdeo stressed that Guyana’s territorial integrity was above politics. As such, the former President expressed nothing but support for the Government’s efforts in this arena.
“We condemn this action, on the part of the People’s Progressive Party and the parliamentary Opposition. We condemn it outright and we hope there is no repetition of this action,” Jagdeo said. “On Saturday, when I got wind of the incident, I called the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Carl Greenidge).
“When I got on to him, he said he was still sketchy of the incident and all the details. So I asked him to inform me when he had more information. He did so subsequently, but I indicated to him at that time … that should he issue a press statement he could include that I spoke to him and the PPP.”
According to Jagdeo, he had wanted the parliamentary Opposition’s unequivocal support on the matter to be apparent from the start. He noted the importance of this unity reflected nationally and internationally, notwithstanding the recent no-confidence vote.
Jagdeo noted, however, that the Foreign Affairs Ministry avoided mention of him reaching out to the Government and offering support on the matter in the press release it issued on Saturday following the incident.
“I did not see it reflected in the press statement, that is why I’m mentioning it here … that is one issue that is above politics in Guyana: the integrity of every inch of our country,” Jagdeo said.
On Saturday, the Venezuelan Navy intercepted and forced the ExxonMobil research vessel to cease conducting its work in Guyana’s Stabroek Block. This led to Exxon announcing the suspension of seismic data collection.
The US Government has since called on Venezuela to respect Guyana’s sovereignty, with the State Department reiterating in a press release that Guyana has a right to extract its resources from the economic zone. Meanwhile, Venezuela has said it wants talks with Guyana.
In a broadcast on Saturday, Greenidge had condemned the actions of the Venezuelan Navy; actions which he noted were both illegal and aggressive, having occurred in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Guyana.
According to the Minister, Exxon reported to them that the Venezuelans intercepted the Ramform Tethys vessel at approximately 10:30h on Saturday at N 09 deg 17.19 min / W 058 deg 16.20 min at an approximate distance of 140 kilometres from the nearest point to the provisional equidistant line with Venezuela. Greenidge noted that the vessel had a crew of 70, including the Captain, on board.
“The Government of Guyana rejects this illegal, aggressive and hostile act perpetrated by the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela which once again demonstrates the real threat to Guyana’s economic development by its western neighbour; an act that violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be bringing this latest act of illegality and blatant disrespect for Guyana’s sovereignty by Venezuela to the attention of the United Nations,” Greenidge said. “It is also in the process of informing the several Governments of the 70 crew members of the threat to their safety.”
According to Greenidge, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela would also receive formal communication from the Government of Guyana on the matter.