‘Greed’ is the driving force behind Venezuela’s referendum – Parag tells public forum


Minister of Public Service Sonia Parag on Tuesday said that greed is the motivating factor behind Venezuela’s December 3 referendum regarding Guyana’s Essequibo territory.

“Our history of what the Guyana map is, what our borders are, was established since 1899 by the Arbitral Award. Venezuela accepted that and for over 60 decades, that Arbitral Award was deemed valid and it still is as far as Guyana is concerned.

“Today, we can honestly conclude that one of the driving forces behind this referendum and behind this tactic is greed,” Minister Parag told a public awareness on the Guyana/Venezuela Border Controversy at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.

She reminded those in attendance that all Guyanese stand in solidarity on this matter and that Guyana remains committed to pursuing a path of legality and peace.

However, Minister Parag added that: “We will not allow any stones to be left unturned in protecting our territory.”

She stated that Guyana will, at all cost, preserve and maintain the peace not only for the country but the rest of the region.

Parag expressed hope that “good sense and diplomacy” will prevail and that Venezuela will accept the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) decision as the ultimate resolution of the border controversy.

School children were among the attendees at the public awareness forum on the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy (Photo: DPI/November 28, 2023)

The ICJ will this Friday, December 01, 2023, deliver its Order on Guyana’s request for provisional measures to prevent Venezuela from taking action through its provocative referendum over the Essequibo territory.

In its request, Guyana seeks from the Court an Order preventing Venezuela from taking any action to seize, acquire or encroach upon, or assert or exercise sovereignty over the Essequibo Region or any other part of Guyana’s national territory, pending the Court’s final determination.

Meanwhile, Project Manager of the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP), Dr Clement Henry made several recommendations on how Guyana can handle the border controversy.

He suggested that Guyana should continue in pursuing its legal objectives on the international stage, emphasising that participating in the ICJ demonstrates its commitment to international law and peaceful resolutions.

Dr. Henry also recommended maintaining strong diplomatic ties and ensuring internal consensus and stability.

“Politically, it is crucial for Guyana to maintain internal consensus on how to handle the [controversy], a unified national stance strengthens Guyana positions,” Dr Henry posited.

He further noted that it is essential to maintain public communication about the nature of the controversy. This, he said, can foster national unity and further understanding of the matter.

Dr Henry is also recommended that while Guyana is pursuing peaceful resolutions, it should ensure that its defence and security measures are adequate to defend national sovereignty.

“This is important in the context that if Venezuela adopts the strategy of using these non-state actors such as Syndicato and other gangs to come over and destabilize the region,” Dr Henry said.

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