CARICOM assures Guyana of regional Organisation’s support

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Two leaders from the 15-member CARICOM have sought to assure the government of Guyana that their countries are individually backing Guyana that its borders are inviolable and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) must be used to settle the territorial controversy with Venezuela.

The reassurance came from the Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley and the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves who were speaking in Barbados on Saturday.

“In this particular case in our view, Guyana’s position has been strong, it has been unwavering and it is before the International Court of Justice and we’ll back them 150 per cent with that,” said Mottley who was in a news conference along with Gonsalves.

Mottley said she is relying on CARICOM Chairman, Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and the Vincentian leader who is Chairman of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to “keep the temperatures down even if there is not the settled outcome on the dispute that will be traditionally expected” over Guyana’s 160,000 square kilometre Essequibo County.

Guyana has asked the ICJ to declare that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award is the full, final and perfect settlement but Venezuela does not recognise that court’s jurisdiction in the matter.

The ICJ is expected to rule on Guyana’s request to block Venezuela’s referendum, as currently worded, to declare Essequibo a State of Venezuela and to take care of all current and future inhabitants of that Guyanese county as well as grant them citizenship and identification cards.

Venezuela’s December 3 referendum also seeks a popular vote to reject the ICJ’s jurisdiction in the territorial controversy.

Gonsalves said Guyana and Venezuela “must uphold that the region is one of peace and that there will be no force used or threat of force singly or jointly”. He declined to provide details but sought to emphasise that, “CARICOM has always defended the territorial inviolability of Guyana.”

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