Bajan opposition leader slams Mottley over stance on Guyana-Venezuela controversy

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The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has sharply criticized Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s administration for its perceived lack of support towards Guyana amidst Venezuela’s claim on the Essequibo region. 

Dr. Ronnie Yearwood, leader of the DLP, condemned the Barbadian government’s approach, highlighting concerns during a recent meeting held by the party’s St. Michael Central branch on November 19, 2023.

“Barbados and CARICOM must stand on the right side of history in supporting Guyana’s territorial sovereignty,” expressed Dr. Yearwood, emphasizing the need for unified action within CARICOM against Venezuela’s claim on two-thirds of Guyana’s territory. He underscored the broader implications of Venezuela’s actions, not only for Guyana but also for the wider peace and stability within the Caribbean region.

Dr. Yearwood criticized what he perceived as a “hedging approach” by the Barbados Mia Mottley-led administration.

He drew attention to the historical ties between Barbados and Guyana, citing past collaborations between leaders Errol Barrow and Forbes Burnham that laid the foundation for friendly relations and mutual benefits between the nations.

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The DLP leader stressed the importance of solidarity among CARICOM states when faced with threats to their sovereignty, urging support for Guyana in the current case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). He also emphasized the commitment of Barbados and CARICOM to upholding the international rule of law and peaceful dispute resolution, calling upon Venezuela to adhere to the ICJ process and comply with its decisions.

Moreover, Dr. Yearwood cautioned against leveraging agreements like the Venezuela-Caribbean Petrocaribe oil procurement deal to gain support for Venezuela, urging signatory nations to resist such attempts.

In concluding remarks, Dr. Yearwood reiterated the significance of upholding Guyana’s territorial integrity and urged all involved parties to abide by the final decision of the ICJ once delivered.

The comment made by Mottley urging both Guyana and Venezuela to ensure the Caribbean region remains a zone of peace did not sit well with Guyanese lawmakers.

Mottley told attendees at her party’s 84th Conference over the weekend that Venezuela has been a “good sister country to us and we pray that therefore…persons will allow maturity to attend all of their actions and conversations.”

She went on to call on both countries to maintain the peace. “I hope that the rhetoric and noise between Venezuela and Guyana does not turn our Caribbean into anything that is not a zone of peace. Because it matters to us that this Caribbean remains a zone of peace and we ask those parties to recognize that their actions go beyond their two countries,” Mottley stated.

Guyana’s Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton criticized the call as “classic eye pass,” a colloquial term used in Guyana and the wider West Indian context to signify blatant disrespect. Expressing dismay, Norton highlighted the concern that a Caribbean nation implicating Guyana in such a plea while acknowledging the country’s lack of military capability was deeply troubling. Meanwhile, analysts view Mottley’s pleas for peace from both nations and her apparent attempt to maintain neutrality as conflicting with the historical context of provocation, aggression, and the current explicit threat of military invasion by Venezuela against a fellow CARICOM member.

The international community and CARICOM, as a regional body, have strongly condemned Venezuela’s recent actions. These actions involve a referendum aiming to annex more than 70% of Guyana’s territory, specifically targeting the vast Essequibo region.

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