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Guyana to tell Caricom Venezuela’s aggression threatens regional peace- Harmon

Guyana’s President David Granger intends to aggressively make a case to colleague leaders of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) that Venezuela’s latest act of unilaterally extending its maritime boundaries will affect regional peace and security.

Caricom leaders are due to hold their three-day annual summit in Barbados from Thursday, July 2 in Barbados.

Minister of State in the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon said among the diplomatic artillery that Guyana would be taking to Bridgetown is a recent compilation of several articles showing Venezuela’s aggression to its English-speaking eastern neighbour.

He said the major thrust of Guyana’s contention at the summit would be that Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro’s Decree 1787 issued on May 27, 2015 that seeks to annex the coastal waters off Essequibo – including Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone- impacts on the rest of the region.

“The President has cast his remarks and will do so in the sense that the Caribbean must be a zone of peace and, therefore, a threat by Venezuela to Guyana is about a threat to all of Caricom,” he said. 

Colombia has also issued a protest note to Venezuela over similar actions off the Colombia coast.

Asked whether the Guyana government believed that Venezuela’s concessionary oil scheme, PetroCaribe, could break solidarity among member-states, Harmon hoped acknowledged that “PetroCaribe is a very powerful instrument.”

In a statement on the eve of his departure, President Granger stated that his administration was committed to improving relations with Venezuela but would continue to insist that its lawful boundaries established 116 years ago are “non negotiable”.

“Guyana remains steadfast, however, in its stand against the several illegal and increasingly militant actions of Venezuela directed against Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.

He argued that violation of Guyana’s land and sea borders is an assault on the tenets of CARICOM and must be condemned as such.

Meanwhile, Harmon said Guyana would be pushing for the regional grouping to abide by a coordinated foreign policy. “You cannot always expect total conformity with everything that is done at the Summit.” On that note, he hinted that Guyana would be pushing for harmonization of foreign policy in Caricom to ensure a consistent and coordinated approach.

Guyana’s delegation to the Caricom summit includes President Granger, Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge;  the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Audrey Waddell;  Border Expert, Ambassador Keith George and the Head of the Frontiers Department, Donnette Streete.