Venezuela border controversy: Venezuela will have to account to Int’l Community for any recklessness – Pres Ali

– urges peaceful coexistence

As the Government embarks on a massive outreach programme to interact with residents of frontier communities, President Dr Irfaan Ali on Thursday visited Kaikan in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) where he interacted with residents regarding their concerns amid the heightened acts of aggression from Venezuela.
President Ali reiterated, however, that Guyana is a peaceful country and that all of its actions will be geared towards maintaining such.

President Ali and army officials at the border with the Golden Arrowhead in background

“…everything we do will be to ensure our country remains a peaceful place,” the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces expressed.
However, he assured the residents that “everything we do will be to ensure that peacefully, our neighbour will understand that any reckless behaviour will be followed by accountability from the international community.”
In this regard, Ali urged Venezuela to avoid “any reckless behaviour”. “…and to subject themselves to the ICJ (International Court of Justice) and international rule of law.” “Let us continue to coexist peacefully,” he added.
President Ali further assured the residents that the Government is working aggressively and strategically on this matter and that they have nothing to worry about. He further reassured that Guyana has the support of the wider international community, on the side of international law.

President Ali, Army Chief Omar Khan and others sharing a meal at the border at Kaikan on Thursday evening

Moreover, the Head of State urged the residents to be vigilant and cooperative with the soldiers stationed along the borders in that area.
“Because you have a responsibility also to work along with our men and women in uniform to help them to support them.” Ali also highlighted to the residents how important this matter is, which prompted him to visit, instead of simply sending a message.
“I came myself… I am not speaking to you from Georgetown. I could have sent the Chief of Staff,” he posited.
“There are many people who said to me “why Mr President, why you going on the border…?” and I said, “I have to be there with the people, I want to be there with the people, I want the people to hear directly from me,” the President elaborated.

The President along with the army personnel also hoisted the Golden Arrowhead more than 2200 feet above sea level on our border with Venezuela.
Prior to travelling to Kaikan, the President met with residents living near the Venezuelan border in Region One (Barima-Waini) and urged them not to succumb to efforts by Venezuela to drive fear into them.
At the same time, he has made it clear that the Government is taking nothing for granted, and is working on strengthening Guyana’s defence capabilities.
“As it is now, the Guyana Defence Force has done its analysis, and what is required, based on the present level of analysis, they are putting in place. We don’t want any overreaction or overreach, but I want to assure you that behind the scenes, in addition to the physical men and women you’re seeing on the ground, there’s a lot more work that is going on,” he had detailed.
“As the situation unfolds, they will determine what level of physical presence and assets they need. But we are sparing no effort. Everything that is needed, we are making available. But we don’t want to sound alarm bells. We’re not taking anything for granted. Because we are listening carefully to the rhetoric coming out of Venezuela… now we’re hearing military personnel, who should be more measured in what they say, are joining the rhetoric,” the President had said.
Venezuela has laid claim to more than two-thirds of Guyana’s landmass, the Essequibo region, and to a portion of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in which nearly 11 billion barrels of oil have been discovered.
Over the past few weeks, Guyana has been informing regional and international partners of the referendum planned by Venezuela for December 3, 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, for seeking to, among other things, gain a national consensus to annex Essequibo.
In addition to its substantive case at the International Court of Justice, Guyana is currently seeking an injunction from the World Court against Venezuela’s efforts to annex Essequibo via the referendum.