GDF intensifies vigilance on border

File photo: GDF troops at an interior location
File photo: GDF troops at an interior location

In the wake of the recent renewal of Venezuela’s claim to Guyana’s Essequibo region and its maritime space, Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Chief of Staff Godfrey Bess has assured that the army has stepped up its vigilance on Guyana’s border, while a peaceful and binding solution is pursued at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Chief of Staff Brigadier General Godfrey Bess was at the time fielding questions from the media after signing an agreement with the United States Department of Defense. When asked, Bess noted that the Guyana Defence Force has indeed stepped up its vigilance on Guyana’s borders.

“We have changed our postures on the border. And we are there, more alert and like I said, are ready to constitutionally continue to preserve Guyana’s patrimony,” the Brigadier General explained.

At the same time, he took care to remind that the Government’s position is for Guyana to first and foremost use its diplomatic channels and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to seek a resolution. Already, the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and other regional and international players have thrown their support behind Guyana.

On Thursday last, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro issued a presidential decree reinforcing his country’s illegal claim to Guyana’s Essequibo region. Additionally, the Venezuelan President announced that he has written to Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) Antonio Guterres, to lead direct negotiations between the two countries, as opposed to the binding judgement of the ICJ.

That option has been exhausted, however, as the UN tried to mediate discussions between Guyana and Venezuela for years as part of an ultimately futile good offices process until Guyana activated its right to take Venezuela to the ICJ in 2018 to get a final ruling on the border issue.