Normal operations will continue in Guyana to protect economy amid border controversy – Hamilton
In the face of Venezuela’s plans to go ahead with its December 03, 2023 referendum in pursuit of Guyana’s Essequibo region, Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton said Monday that Guyanese must not dissolve their regular operations.
During remarks at a national sensitisation event at his ministry’s head office in Georgetown, the Minister told staffers that the government is committed to ensuring that the economy is not affected by the ongoing border controversy.
The Golden Arrowhead – the national flag – was hoisted at the Ministry’s office, symbolising the national resolve.
Minister Hamilton assured citizens that in wake of the threat of an annexation of Essequibo, the government will ensure that citizens and their economic investments are protected.
“Everything we do will be to ensure that we protect the people of this country and while we do that, you will notice we still continue to develop this country. We are not operating like we think the country will dissolve.
“I don’t know that we have shut down a project in Essequibo…we are proceeding as a peaceful country operates,” the Labour Minister said.
Rejecting Venezuela’s claim to Essequibo, the minister said Guyana will continue to seek support from its international partners as the case remains squarely before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for conclusion. He said too that Guyana will not replicate the Spanish-speaking Country’s propaganda but intends to have a peaceful resolve.
“We want peace with all our neighbour, we want the Caribbean to continue to be a zone of peace that is the reason why the government of Guyana have proceeded to deal with the matter by the rule of law.
“We threaten no one but at the same time we say that this land that is our Guyana, we will ensure that we use every method to protect this land,” Minister Hamilton said.
And to ensure that Venezuelans do not feel victimized or threatened here, Minister Hamilton reminded that they came to Guyana seeking a better life. He said some are Guyanese who left and are returning because of the economy in Venezuela while persons who are Venezuelans by birth are also seeking refuge.
These migrants, he insisted, must be treated fairly.
“Anytime you see people attempting to hit at any person who has sought refuge in this country, you cast your mind about whether you would want your cousin or your brother or your mother to be treated like that,” the minister said.
He added that the migrants have rights to work, education and other benefits according to international laws which the ministry will continue to adhere to through its collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR).