Even as a suspected hacker removed Essequibo County from the map of Guyana on the state-owned newspaper’s website, the United States (US) referred to the entire 83,000 square miles of the country in its Independence congratulatory message.
The state-owned Guyana Chronicle newspaper ion Saturday- Guyana’s 52nd Independence anniversary- contained a map of Guyana that excludes Essequibo County which is the subject of a decades-old claim by Venezuela.
The Chronicle apologised for the publication of the image and blamed an unnamed “mischievous person” for the publication of the map. “The Guyana Chronicle deeply apologises for the inexplicable publication of a map which annexed the Essequibo on our webpage this morning. Based on our internal checks such a map is not in our photograph database and it would seem that some mischievous person might have uploaded this distorted image of the Guyana map. An internal investigation has been launched into this issue,” the newspaper said.
GTjobs.com’s Facebook page also contained an identical image of what purports to be a map of Guyana, minus Essequibo. Venezuela has for decades shaded that county as part of its map and called it either Esequibo Guayana or the Zone of Reclamation.
Meanwhile, the US’ congratulatory message to Guyana on its independence referred to the entire country as is recognised internationally to be the sovereign State of Guyana. “We wish the people of Guyana, from the Corentyne to the Pakaraimas, from the Takutu to the Amakura, and across the entire “Land of Many Waters,” a happy Independence Day celebration with peace and prosperity throughout the year to come,” the Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary of State said.
The US also reiterated its commitment to assist Guyana in developing its oil and gas sector. “Today, we celebrate our strong connections. We look forward to advancing prosperity by helping Guyana develop its emerging oil sector in partnership with U.S. business,” the State Department said on behalf of US President, Donald Trump.
The US also said it underscores “our commitment to partnership via the Caribbean 2020 strategy.”
Guyana attained independence from Britain on May 26, 1966.
Meanwhile, President David Granger noted that independence was not the result of a single event, but was a culmination of 350 years of resistance, revolt and struggle against conquest, degradation, enslavement, indentureship and exploitation – the most dehumanising characteristics of European colonial rule.
“Independence ushered in an era of national pride which has buoyed Guyanese society. National symbols – such as the national anthem, awards, coinage, flag, institutions, patriotic songs and stamps – helped to define our distinctive
identity. Guyana took its place as a sovereign state in the international community,” he said.
The Guyana-Venezuela border controversy was earlier this year referred to the International Court of Justice by the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.