Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d), Mark Phillips, who is performing the functions of President, called for vigilance, patriotism, and unity, emphasising that collective strength is needed to address the 124-year-old controversy.
During his address at the National Stakeholder Forum for Civil Society Engagement on the Venezuela/Guyana Border Controversy at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre yesterday, the Acting President expressed gratitude to the public for their display of national patriotism and for standing in solidarity with Guyana’s position of peace towards Venezuela’s claims on Essequibo.
“I want to thank all of Guyana, all the people of Guyana, the opposition, civil society, private sector, people from all walks, for being part of this task of shouting loudly to Venezuela and letting them know that ‘Essequibo is We Own’. Essequibo belongs to Guyana.”
Prime Minister Phillips said that it was a significant day as he cited the favourable ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to prevent any actions by Venezuela under its referendum from unlawfully annexing Guyana’s Essequibo region.
He emphasised the importance of unity and urged citizens to rise above their differences and come together in solidarity.
“It is through unity that we will prevail; through unity that we will stand strong; through unity, we will emerge victorious against adversities that come our way. Patriotism and nationalism are the bedrocks of our resilience. We must love our country, cherish our heritage, and defend our territorial integrity with unwavering dedication. In the face of the ongoing border controversy, let us reaffirm our commitment to the principles that bind us together as proud Guyanese.
Addressing concerns about misinformation, Prime Minister Phillips urged the public to rely on official sources for accurate information about national security and public safety. He emphasised the need to verify news before sharing, especially in the face of fake news intended to sow panic and confusion.
The Prime Minister also affirmed the Government’s resolute commitment to following international law to protect Guyana’s territorial integrity, while asserting that “Venezuela’s attempts to undermine our sovereignty, particularly through the unlawful manipulation of the forthcoming referendum, will not prevail”.
He also thanked organisations such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Commonwealth, the United Nations, and the Organization of American States for supporting territorial integrity and sovereignty.
“Essequibo belongs to Guyana. Let that be our guiding mantra even as we move towards a peaceful resolution of this matter.”