Venezuela border controversy: ‘Violence has no place in modern world, int’l relations’ – Finance Minister tells Canadian forum

– says controversy should also foster solidarity among diaspora

Fortifying the government’s stance that Venezuela’s aggression to annex Essequibo should be condemned, Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh told a Canadian forum that there is no place for violence in this modern world.
Dr Singh appeared on CSTV Canada’s ‘Guyana Today’ Show where he apprised the diaspora on the Venezuela border controversy.
As he delved into the ongoing issue, Dr Singh positioned that no responsible government would wage war against its neighbours.
“Violence, the threat of violence, and provocative actions in relation to your neighbours have no place in the modern world and in modern international relations. No responsible government should be engaging in violence and the threat of violence and in provocative actions against their neighbour.”
Singh drew attention to the fact that there is strong regional, hemispheric and global solidarity and that many law-abiding countries have condemned Venezuela’s actions. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Commonwealth and the Organization of American States (OAS) have also thrown support behind Guyana.
However, the Senior Minister highlighted that every Guyanese, both locally and in the diaspora, should arm themselves with detailed information on the controversy.
President Irfaan Ali has already positioned that information should only come from official channels, such as the official Government pages and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).
He disclosed, “It’s absolutely essential that all Guyanese including those in the diaspora stay fully informed and abreast in relation to this matter…What this moment requires of us is to ensure that we’re all acquainted with the facts of the matter and knowledgeable on the facts of the matter so that we are able to speak authoritatively.”
It was opined that Guyana’s diaspora has always played a tremendous role in advancing the country’s interests, through the preservation of democracy and advancement of economic interests. This controversy should also foster solidarity among the diaspora.
“Certainly, no other matter should generate more solidarity amongst the Guyanese diaspora than this matter of Guyana’s territorial integrity…On the matter of Guyana’s territorial integrity, there is unanimity politically. There is no political divide. Successive governments and both major parties in the parliament are of one position in relation to this matter,” Dr Singh outlined.
He clarified that there is no fear whatsoever and that the Guyanese citizenry is calm, despite the outrage at reports coming out of Venezuela.
“That is very clear that there is calm in Guyana. I would not say it is business as usual because there is a renewed, doubled resolve in the Guyanese people. there is understandable outrage at the absolutely repugnant pronouncements that are being made by Venezuela and the aggressive tone used by the political leadership in Venezuela.”
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. (Rupa Seenaraine)