By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Opposition Leader David Granger has issued a stern warning to the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/) Administration against what he says is the threat of a renewed Venezuelan economic blockade to the development of Essequibo.
He made reference to the October 10 incident where Venezuela seized a U.S ship which was conducting an oil exploration in Guyana’s waters. Venezuela claimed that the ship was in its waters.
Granger said his party considers this ‘maritime aggression’ to be consistent with past Venezuelan confrontational conduct.
“The incident was an unlawful and unwarranted use of armed force in violation of the Charter of the United Nations. Its objective was to impede Essequibo’s economic development” the Opposition Leader said adding that “there is abundant evidence to this effect.”
The Opposition leader went onto to list several past confrontational incidents between the two States.
Venezuela and Guyana have long argued about the status of the disputed Essequibo region, an area on the border and over rights to the ocean resources that lie offshore. Venezuela calls it a “reclamation zone,” but in practice it functions as Guyanese territory.
Granger told Media Operatives on Friday (November 22) that Venezuela, despite its apparent economic generosity, has never altered its maritime strategy or its policy towards Guyana’s Essequibo. “Its quest for access to the Atlantic Ocean is critical to understanding last October’s incident.”
He believes Venezuela’s aggression is beyond that of ascertaining economic gains but in attempts of acquiring greater naval power.
Granger therefore called on the Government of Venezuela to obey Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations and to desist from resorting to armed force in its relations with Guyana.
The Opposition Leader also called on the PPP/C Administration to immediately adopt a bi-partisan approach to all border and territorial issues and to establish a permanent Border and National Security Commission.
According to Deputy Speaker and APNU’s Shadow Minister on Foreign Relations Debroah Backer the party stands solidly alongside the Government on issues of territorial sovereignty.
A call was also made for Guyana’s diplomats to remain awake and alert so as not to sleepwalk into another economic blockade. “Guyanese must not be mesmerized by the mirage of Venezuelan magnanimity” Granger said.