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Government tells Venezuela don’t underestimate nation’s desire to defend its territory, assets

Liza Point on ExxonMobil’s concession 120 miles offshore Guyana.

by Zena Henry

With a widening territorial threat from Venezuela, Minister of Governance Raphael Trotman made it very clear that the country’s desire to defend its territory should not be estimated.

He spoke strongly on the issue while addressing colleagues of the government at the second sitting of the Eleventh Parliament, which the Opposition has once again chosen to boycott.

The members were discussing President Granger’s speech to the opening of the 11th Parliament when Trotman revived the ongoing issue that threstens the development of the country’s oil potential which is being developed offshore.

Venezuela has declared a significant part of the country to be part of Guyana’s maritime space its territory, a May 27, 2015 decree that Guyana has empathically resisted. Trotman said that evidence shows that Guyana’s oil potential is as massive as the lucrative West African oil industry and what we have could be described as “elephant wells.”

He noted however, that with such great potential, “Venezuela knows what it has to do, and that is to behave itself.” He said, “We are entitled to develop what is ours just as they have been entitled to develop what is theirs; and what is theirs is in abundance.”

He said that nation had the right to develop and do whatever it wanted to without questioning from Guyana. “So we enjoy and will guard jealously the right to do the same to our resources without interference.”

“And whilst we are not in the millions, rest assure that our desire to defend and to enjoy what is ours is not to be underestimated.” The Governance Minister said that he hopes that Venezuela knows what it is they have to d,  before thanking the governments of Suriname and Colombia for speaking out against Venezuela’s move.

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has since cancelled plans to deliver to his country’s Parliament the official position on the activities being conducted by American company ExxonMobil.

The Venezuelan President said he will denounce international manoeuvres and summon the civil union, the military to defend their country, land, and historical positions.

Maduro issued Decree 1787 on May 27, 2015 less than one month after ExxonMobil announced a significant oil find at Liza Point in its concession on the Stabroek Block about 120 miles offshore.

The decree sees Venezuela claiming all the Atlantic Coastal waters off Essequibo as hers. 

Venezuela already claims the Essequibo River and all land west of that waterway as her territory.

Since this recent border flare-up, Guyana has said it would be asking the United Nations Secretary General to help find a judicial settlement to the border controversy that has seen Venezuela repeatedly obstructing its eastern neighbour’s development efforts onshore and offshore.