Guyana presents strong evidence to Venezuela to support territory claim

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues - Birkett.

A Venezuelan Coast Guard boat sits next to the 285-foot survey ship Teknik Perdana docked near the shore in Margarita Island, Venezuela, Sunday. [Gustavo Granado / AP]
A Venezuelan Coast Guard boat sits next to the 285-foot survey ship Teknik Perdana docked near the shore in Margarita Island, Venezuela, Sunday. [Gustavo Granado / AP]
[] – Guyana has strong evidence to support that the US ship was well within its jurisdiction when it was accosted and seized by the Venezuelan navy.

As a matter of fact, a government official confirmed that the exact location of the ship was recorded when the Venezuelan navy took control of it. This is the evidence which Guyana took to the Venezuelan authorities on Wednesday (October 17) as they meet in Trinidad and Tobago to discuss and resolve the issue.

Guyana’s Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon told reporters at a press conference that because the ship was engaged in a seismic survey, its exact location was being captured by the second.

“The vessel was engaged in Seismic survey work. The reports of the investigations are meaningless save and except their precise location is identified, so at all material times the location of that ship – the coordinates – was being captured second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour during the survey. So there can be no question of where the ship was located,” Dr. Luncheon explained.

Given this explanation, Dr. Luncheon was then asked if the seizure of the ship was a deliberate one by the Venezuelan navy. However, the Cabinet Secretary responded that it would be impossible for him to pronounce on the intention of the navy.

“The vessel was in Guyana’s waters particularly when it was accosted and seized. The issues surrounding the misguided actions of the Venezuelan military should, as has been during the periods before this incident; it should be addressed bilaterally through diplomatic channels.”

Venezuela’s navy on October 10 took control of the research vessel, which was conducting a survey in the Roraima Block offshore Guyana. According to the Ministry, the crew of the RV Teknik Perdana explained to the crew of the Venezuelan vessel that they were conducting a multi-beam survey of the seafloor in Guyana’s exclusive economic zone.

However, Venezuela sailed the ship to its Margarita Island, where the vessel was seized for six days, during which its Captain was charged and released on bail.

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.

At the meeting today in Trinidad, the Guyanese delegation includes:


–         The Hon. Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs


–         The Hon. Robert Persaud, MP, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment,


–          Mrs. Elisabeth Harper, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,


–         Ambassador Rudolph Collins, Adviser


–         H.E. Keith George, Guyana’s Ambassador to Suriname,


–         H.E. Audrey Jardine Waddell, Guyana’s Ambassador to UNASUR and


–          Mr. Newell Dennison, Deputy Commissioner (Technical), Guyana Geology and Mines Commission.




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