‘Diplomacy Guyana’s main line of defense in border controversy’ – Greenidge

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As the fallout between the Government of Guyana and the regional and international community continues, this country’s best line of defense in the absence of a robust military remains diplomacy.

This is the belief of Foreign Secretary, Carl Greenidge, who shared this view during a Town Hall meeting which was organised by the Guyanese American Chambers of Commerce (GACC) on Saturday to discuss the upcoming International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearing on the Guyana/Venezuela controversy.

The Foreign Secretary was at the time agreeing with Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Gerry Gouveia, that the importance of diplomacy cannot be emphasised enough in the border controversy.

“Venezuela will continue to bully Guyana and it brings home the importance with our relationship with CARICOM [Caribbean Community], the OAS [Organisation of American States], the Commonwealth, and other bilateral relations.

“It also brings home the importance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure those bilateral and multilateral relationships are strong and that will help to protect us,” Gouveia shared.

Greenidge agreed, noting that: “Diplomacy has to be our main line of defense in the absence of a strong military.”

However, over the last few months, there has been an outpouring of vitriol from the incumbent APNU+AFC Government in response to the position taken by the regional and international community on the March 2 general and regional elections.

The United States (U.S), Britain, Canada, and the 27-member European Union has agreed that the tabulations of the votes for District Four early March, which handed the incumbent APNU+AFC a victory, were marred with irregularities.

More recently, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), Dr Ralph Gonsalves, and former regional Prime Ministers, Owen Arthur and Bruce Golding urged political parties to respect the outcome of the national recount which shows the PPP winning the elections by more than 15,000 votes.

In response, the APNU+AFC Government embarked on a campaign aimed at discrediting those leaders and calling for the foreign powers to excuse itself from the internal affairs of Guyana.

Just two days ago, Arthur, who also served as Head of the Commonwealth Election Observer Mission (EOM) to Guyana, lambasted APNU+AFC General Secretary Joseph Harmon for his attack on Gonsalves.

“It can’t be that someone at the level of Mr Harmon thinks that he has the authority to unleash the kind of vitriolic attack that he unleashes on Caribbean leaders…He is not a Caribbean leader, and your leader should tell Mr Harmon that he is out of order and he is out of place,” Arthur had said.

However, President David Granger that same evening defended Harmon, and posited that: “I don’t want to say I am concerned but I must say that I prefer that no foreign Head of government or no foreign official comment on Guyanese internal politics until the results are announced.”

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced in May that the public hearings of the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy will begin on June 30, at the Peace Palace in The Hague.

Venezuela is laying claims to more than two-thirds of Guyana’s landmass including this country’s exclusive economic zone where more than eight billion barrels of oil deposits have been discovered.

The matter had been settled in an 1899 tribunal which Venezuela agreed and signed on to, but in 2015, then Venezuela President, Nicolas Maduro renewed the Spanish-speaking country’s claim at the height of political instability and deplorable economic conditions.

The International Court of Justice recently announced that the public hearings of the Guyana/Venezuela border case will be held on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, at 2 p.m. by videoconference.

The case was initially slated to commence on March 23, 2020, but was postponed as a result of deadly new Coronavirus.

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