…several flyovers reported
The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has begun investigations into whether Venezuela has in recent days been conducting illegal flights over Guyana’s Essequibo territory to which it has resuscitated claims, with a view to creating maps for that country which will include two-thirds of Guyana’s territory.
This is according to Foreign Affairs Minister, Vice President Carl Greenidge, who on Wednesday during an interaction with media operatives at the Georgetown Club, called the action “irresponsible and dangerous” on the part of the Venezuelans, if substantiated.
Vice President Greenidge said the matter has already been communicated to the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.
According to Greenidge, there are currently unconfirmed reports emanating from our western neighbour that that country has been conducting flights over Guyana’s Essequibo “with a view to completing an atlas of Venezuela which will include two thirds of Guyana”.
Greenidge told the local media that the information has since been passed on to the GDF with a view to investigate and substantiate whether the claims are in fact true.
Conceding the Guyanese military’s shortcomings to undertake such a mission, Vice President Greenidge said international help has been sought.
He reminded too that as recent as last week, Guyana left with the Secretary General a document which “sets out our concerns about the escalating behaviour of Venezuela and the consequences of some of the steps taken”.
According to Vice President Greenidge, the entire affair is “something we view with the greatest concern”.
He told media operatives Venezuela was reportedly also doing digital mapping of Guyana’s sovereign territory with the aim of getting details for its maps, “but the over flights themselves are illegal in international law”, should the report of them prove true.
The news of the illegal flyover comes on the heels of a condemnatory statement issued by the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Guyana a day earlier lambasting a statement by the Venezuelan Government on the 117th anniversary of the 1899 Arbitral Award handed down in Paris regarding the border controversy between Guyana and that country.
The missive from the Foreign Affairs Ministry said Venezuela marked the occasion with an insulting statement unworthy of a law-abiding member of the international community.
“Its statement is a reaffirmation of Venezuela’s disrespect for the rule of law among nations. It is a frenzied display of ill temper from forces with whom history has caught up, revealing the tangled web of falsehoods on which their specious claims to Guyana’s Essequibo were built,” the Ministry’s statement said.
“The Venezuelan statement of October 4, 2016 perpetuates the falsities that have marked its predatory campaign and have continued in relation to Guyana’s maritime space. Its greed for territory has added a new dimension of Guyana’s maritime resources,” it said.
According to the Ministry, “Guyana continues to uphold and respect the Arbitral Award of 1899. It will defend its validity in the world’s highest courts and expose Venezuela’s sordid efforts to besmirch Guyana’s development agenda.”
Outgoing United Nations Secretary General Ban has pledged to assess the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela before he leaves office.
During a meeting with Guyana’s President David Granger on the sidelines of the just concluded UN General Assembly, Ban said his assessment would most likely be given in November.
Granger, who accepted the timetable, has committed to providing the Secretary General with any additional information needed to complete the assessment.
(Reprinted: Guyana Times)