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PetroCaribe caused “watered down” Caricom statement on Guyana-Venezuela row- WPA

Last Updated on Saturday, 11 July 2015, 12:14 by GxMedia

The Caricom Headquarters in Guyana.

The Working People’s Alliance (WPA) on Saturday said Caribbean Community (Caricom) leaders appeared to have issued a watered down statement on  Venezuela’s unilateral extension of its maritime boundary because several PetroCaribe beneficiaries might have sold out Guyana.

“The Statement was extremely terse, as though the Heads would rather be rid of the problem (which might have been the position of Dominica, Haiti, Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines who have especially benefitted from the Venezuelan connection). In fact, the Statement refers specifically to Guyana in only two paragraphs,” said the WPA.

The WPA is a leading member of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) which teamed up with the Alliance For Change (AFC) to win the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections.

That party expressed surprise that , on their return to Guyana, both President David Granger and Minister Carl Greenidge expressed satisfaction with respect to the ‘Statement on the Decree 1787 of Venezuela, which emanated from the conclusions of the 36th CARICOM Heads of Government Conference that was recently held in Barbados.

The WPA observed that in the third paragraph of Caricom’s statement, “Heads (of Government) noted in particular the negative implications which the Decree has for the peace, security and development of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana” and, in the fourth paragraph, there is a mere reference to a letter, written a year ago by the Chairman of the CARICOM Conference to President Maduro “encouraging Venezuela to redouble its efforts at an early delimitation of the maritime boundary between Guyana and Venezuela (and) finding an early solution to the controversy that has emerged from the Venezuelan contention that the Arbitral Award of 3rd October 1899 that established the boundary with Guyana is null and void”.

“The other three paragraphs of the Statement tamely refer to issues of the inviolability of international treaties and boundaries,” the party added.

Looking back at Caricom’s position on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy, the WPA said Guyana should have taken a different approach that would not have yielded a “watered down” Caricom statement given the PetroCaribe and other economic relations with Venezuela.

“Perhaps the strategy that Guyana should have employed is to argue for two separate, but related Statements – one dealing with CARICOM as a whole and another specifically related to Guyana,” stated that political party.

The WPA said Guyana’s negotiators should have struggled for a few “robust declarations” in Caricom’s statement on Guyana. Those declarations could have been:

·         A call on Venezuela to recognize and adhere to the binding1899 Arbitral Award which committed the respective parties to a ”Full, Perfect and Final” settlement 

·         A second would be a call on Venezuela to recognize Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and not to encroach on same

·         A third should have been to call on Venezuela to desist from making military threats against Guyana.

·         A fourth could have been to call on Venezuela to desist from taking physical action or making verbal utterances that scare investors and harm Guyana’s ability to exploit the resources of the Essequibo region.

·         A fifth should have been to call on Venezuela to cease all other actions and declarations that are tantamount to destabilization of Guyana

The WPA wants Caricom to issue a second and strong statement in light of recent development’ “Venezuela’s withdrawal of the 1787 Decree , and its replacement by the equally obnoxious 1859 Decree, with its euphemistically called “defence zones”, designed to allow it to aggressively and illegally patrol Guyana’s waters, requires CARICOM and all other supporters of the Guyana cause to immediately make another Statement, this time harshly condemning Venezuela’s action.”       

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