THE words “threats to Guyana’s territorial integrity” from neighbouring Venezuela have finally been uttered – albeit tangentially – by President David Granger, according to former President and current Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo. For weeks he has been calling on the Granger-led government to come clean with the Guyanese people about the “active threats” to Guyana’s territorial sovereignty.
A report from the Ministry of the Presidency on Wednesday (February 28, 2018) said: “President David Granger, today, told residents of Baramita, Barima-Waini (Region One) that the Government is working to ensure the security of their community and region against threats to Guyana’s territorial integrity as a result of claims to the nation’s territory by neighbouring Venezuela. Speaking at the Baramita Primary School this morning, the Head of State declared that his administration will do everything in its power to ensure the safety of the residents of Baramita and other residents of, what he has defined as, front line communities along the 800 kilometre border with Guyana’s western neighbour.”
Jagdeo noted that Granger, for the past several weeks, has been visiting border communities and has addressed the issue of security, with respect to criminal activities, but has failed to respond to the Parliamentary Opposition’s call for him to address the larger issue at hand. “Now we have one line…tangentially he talks about it….again we come back to the culture of secrecy in this Government….they seem to believe that they own the defense of Guyana, not us the Guyanese people,” he lamented.
The Opposition Leader also decried the fact that it is the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) that has been asked to address the Parliamentary Committee on Security Oversight, with respect to the developing situation with Venezuela. “We hear the Army will brief the Parliamentary Security Oversight Committee….Ganger has come to Parliament to speak about a whole list of inconsequential things,” Jagdeo said.
He noted that Government ought to have called in the Parliamentary Opposition and related a brief of the situation at hand. According to him, Granger could have also either addressed the nation or addressed Parliament. In the case of the latter, a resolution could have also been put to the floor of the National Assembly, whereby all Parliamentarians could have voted in support of moved to defend Guyana’s territorial integrity – all in the interest of maintaining a national position on the matter.
“These surreptitious moves, keeping it (the issue) in the Cabinet is not the way to go,” the former President stressed.
“This is a vital matter for our country,” Jagdeo declared, stressing that the Government has the full support of the PPP/C in taking steps to defend Guyana’s territorial integrity.