‘As Venezuela mobilises to steal, Guyana mobilises for food security in Essequibo’ – Pres. Ali
By Kurt Campbell
Venezuelans will head to the polls today to vote in a referendum of five questions which essentially bolsters the Nicolas Maduro government’s ambitions to seize the resource-rich Essequibo Region which has been Guyana’s sovereign territory for over 100 years.
But as Venezuelan authorities mobilise their citizenry towards this move of aggression, President Dr. Irfaan Ali is on the Essequibo Coast in Region Two (Poomeroon- Supenaam) mobilising for the future security of residents there.
In so doing, and following an address to the nation in the wee hours of Sunday, President Ali launched a $200 million Agriculture and Innovation Entrepreneurship Programme in the region, the first phase of which will see the construction of a hydroponics shade house.
“While in Venezuela we have a government mobilising the people of Venezuela to steal from thy neigbhour, we in Guyana are mobilising the people in Essequibo for the future,” the Head of state said to a gathering of mostly young people while they stood at the edge of roughly one acre of land already cleared for this purpose.
He asserted that the move was one to ensure food security for the future of Essequibo and the entire Guyana.
“The development of Essequibo will continue,” the President said, to an eruption of loud applause, whistles and shouts.
He said his government’s focus is on building Essequibo to be sustainable and resilient just as the project is designed for self-reliance.
“As we are today as a people resilient about who we are, resilient about our Essequibo, firm and united in our stand, so too is this project,” Dr. Ali said.
It seeks to immediately employ 200 youths from the region but in the coming months, 200 more will be trained at the newly constructed facilities to become agri-tech entrepreneurs.
“I want to assure you not to lose focus on the important task of building community and country.
“As we confront this challenge, let us not slow the momentum of building our country and making our investments.
“Have no fear with your investments because we are working to ensure your investment is secure,” Dr. Ali said.
This project was first launched in Guyana in January of 2022 but is now launched in Region Two for the first time.
The project would be done through interagency and inter-ministry support systems that will see collaboration from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce and the Joint Services, among other groups.
The shade house to be constructed in Region Two will mirror the one already constructed at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara and will place focus on producing crops to particularly reduce food importation.
And so, President Ali believes launching the project today provided the most appropriate opportunity to lead, humbly, towards development.
“I am leading the charge… not to war but to love, hope, peace, prosperity and development.
“… I call on the Venezuelan Government to so do.”
On Friday, the World Court ruled that the Essequibo region, rich in gold, diamonds and oil reserves off its coast, has been governed by Guyana for the past 124 years and Venezuela “shall” refrain from any action that would “modify” or change this.
But this has not stopped the referendum and Guyana has said it is prepared for any eventuality.
Venezuela is claiming the Essequibo Region which is two-thirds of Guyana after no longer accepting the boundary established by the 1899 Arbitral Award.