Guyana/Venezuela peace deal is a template for others in the world to follow – outgoing CARICOM chair


The peace deal that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) helped broker between Guyana and Venezuela in St Vincent last December is a template for others in the world to follow, the grouping’s outcoming chairman, Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica, said Sunday evening.

Skerrit, who served as chairman of the 15-nation grouping, said it was a moment of immense pride when Venezuela backed away from its threat of using force to annex the Essequibo region, and Guyana agreed, though never using force, to reciprocate.

The meeting brought together President Irfaan Ali and Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro in the face of Venezuela’s military buildup.

“We made international news, not for unrest, war of violence but for hosting of mature, proactive deliberations that created a template that others in the world would do well to follow,” Skerrit stated at the opening of the 46th Regular Meeting of CARICOM at the National Cultural Centre in Georgetown.

Skerrit was among those in St Vincent when the agreement was reached.

“I have full faith that the Caribbean spirit of unity and determination will continue to guide us,” Skerrit added.

The border between Guyana and Venezuela was settled by an arbitral tribunal on October 3, 1899, but on the even of Guyana’s independence in 1966, Venezuela repudiated the award which it had upheld for more than 60 years.

Decades of talks failed to settle the controversy and the United Nations Secretary General, in keeping with an agreement in Geneva which Venezuela signed on to, referred the matter to the International Court of Justice.

In provisional measures granted last December, the Court ruled that Guyana has governed and exercised sovereignty over the 83,000 square miles determined as its territory in 1899, and that should not change unless the court determines otherwise in its ultimate ruling.

Guyana is one of the founding members of CARICOM, establishing the body in 1973 with Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica.

CARICOM has grown to include 11 other countries, with the last being Haiti. There are also five associate member nations.

CARICOM has supported Guyana in the controversy with Venezuela.

At their Heads of Government meeting – the grouping’s highest decision making body – acknowledged the overwhelming decision of the Court of 6 April 2023 to reject Venezuela’s Preliminary Objection which sought to make the United Kingdom an indispensable party to the proceedings. They further noted the Court’s decision that, in keeping with the provisions of the 1966 Geneva Agreement, it had jurisdiction to adjudicate on the merits of Guyana’s claim regarding the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award that had determined the boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela.

The Heads of Government reiterated their “continued support for the judicial process and the security, maintenance and preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana.”

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