Guyana calls again on Venezuela to release illegally detained Guyanese fishermen, vessels

Lady Nayera
Lady Nayera

Guyana has called again on the Venezuelan Government to release the 12 Guyanese fishermen and the two vessels detained last week by the Venezuelan navy.

The plea was made by Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Hugh Todd during an address to the National Assembly this morning.

He said Guyana “has encouraged Venezuela to release our Guyanese nationals and their fishing vessels and to desist from actions that violate international law and threaten the peace and stability of the region.”

Minister Todd further informed the House that he had a virtual meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, on Monday last to discuss the detention of the fishing vessels and crew and status of their release.

It was reported that the Venezuelan Foreign Minister assured that the crew members were being treated with utmost respect for their human rights and he had undertaken to pursue their early release.

Moreover, Minister Todd noted that the Guyana Government is heartened and encouraged by the support of the international community on this issue.

A number of countries and international organisations have echoed calls for the release of the Guyanese detainees as well as for Venezuela to subscribe to the settling of the border controversy case through the International Court of Justice.

“Guyana values highly the support which it has received and continues to receive from individual member states of the international community such as Belize, Brazil, Canada, France, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as well as through regional and international groupings of CARICOM, the OAS, the Commonwealth, the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the European Union in its strenuous endeavours to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Todd told the National Assembly today.

According to the Foreign Affairs Minister, his Ministry will continue to engage the international community to resolve this issue in the most peaceful and diplomatic manner.

On January 21, two Guyanese registered fishing vessels – the Lady Nayera and the Sea Wolf – operating off the coast of Waini Point within Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone, were intercepted by Venezuelan naval vessel Commandante Hugo Chavez GC 24.

The Captains were instructed to chart a course to Port Guiria where the boats and crew have been detained.

The Ministry had said the Venezuelan vessel was illegally manoeuvring within Guyana’s EEZ and Contiguous Zone when it intercepted, boarded and commandeered the Guyanese fishing vessels.