A press statement from the Association declared that they intend to annex all resources at its disposal to Government’s efforts to protect the entire Essequibo region from Venezuela’s unlawful claim to ownership.
According to the GMSA, history states that this latest in a series of injudicious claims by Venezuela to two/thirds of Guyana’s land mass may have contributed to delayed development in the Guyanese county.
See full press statement below:
The Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association (GMSA) Ltd. takes this opportunity to throw the weight of the entire Manufacturing and Services sectors behind the nation’s response to the Venezuelan threat to our sovereignty, to our legitimate, indisputable right to our territorial waters and the resources that lie beneath. We also declare here and now that we intend to annex all resources at our disposal to Government’s efforts to protect the entire Essequibo region from Venezuela’s unlawful claim to ownership.
History informs us that this latest in a series of injudicious claims by Venezuela to two/thirds of Guyana’s land mass may have contributed to delayed development in this Guyanese county.
Though gold mining and mineral prospecting (called pork knocking in local parlance) has been going on in the hinterland on a small scale even before the 1899 Arbitration Tribunal, it is only in recent years during the presidency of the now late Hugo Chavez that large scale mining for gold, diamonds, precious and semi-precious gemstones and industrial logging increased exponentially.
Without a scintilla of doubt, the entire Essequibo region is of immense value to Guyana’s short to long term economic development. It plays a pivotal role in the government’s plans to develop Lethem into a municipality and a free trade zone in order to strengthen our partnership with Brazil, our neighbor to the south. There are also plans to transform the Lethem-Linden corridor into an all-weather road to enhance overland trade between our two countries.
In addition, the aesthetic beauty of the bountiful Essequibo and its biological diversity are the main selling points for Guyana’s tourism product – eco-tourism. It is home to one of the wonders of the world, the Kaieteur Falls, of which every Guyanese is proud. The arable soils, the numerous minerals it contains including manganese (the main ingredient in steel production) and rare earths that contain elements utilized in the manufacture of high tech ICT products, all render this region inimical to the economic progress Guyana anticipates, especially with the involvement of international investors.
In case of any residual doubt, Guyanese should know that Venezuela’s Ambassador to Great Britain, Jose Andrade who was also the brother of the then Venezuelan President declared in 1899: “We were given the exclusive dominion over the Orinoco, which was the principal aim we sought to achieve through arbitration”. In 1911, in commemoration of the Centenary of Venezuelan independence, their Minister of Internal Relations, Mr. F. Aliantaro, published a map showing concrete and positive acceptance of the boundary line that had been drawn after endless consultations by the Mixed Boundary Commissioners. Then in 1931 a boundary commission made up of representatives from Great Britain, Venezuela and Brazil climbed Mount Roraima to fix the specific points where the boundaries of Brazil, Venezuela and British Guiana should meet. Thereafter, the matter of the borders was considered by all parties to be permanently settled!
Venezuela’s claim to our patrimony and our territorial waters is spurious, provocative, null and void. GMSA is convinced that Guyanese people across this country are resilient and we will stand with our compatriots to face down any threat or act of aggression by Venezuela. In the words of the venerable Guyanese songster, Dave Martins, “We ain’ givin’ up no mountain, we ain’ giving up no tree … not a drop of water from the Pomeroon … not one curass, not a blade o’ grass!”