Following the culmination of the annual Heads of Government meeting of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) in Suriname, leaders issued a communique reiterating the regional body’s support for Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as Venezuela persists with its claim for the Essequibo region.
The Heads also reiterated their full support for the ongoing judicial process at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in the case concerning the Arbitral Award of October 3, 1899 (Guyana v. Venezuela). The Heads said the process is intended to bring a peaceful and definitive end to the long-standing controversy between the two countries.
They noted that Guyana submitted its memorial on March 8 2022 in accordance with the schedule set by the ICJ to hear the case, and the related question of the definitive settlement of the land boundary between the two countries.
Notably, Venezuela had filed a Preliminary Objection to the admissibility of the ongoing border controversy case with Guyana, resulting in a suspension of the hearing, Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said in June. The CARICOM communique made no mention of this development. Guyana had said that by filing this objection, Venezuela is trying to delay the ICJ’s final judgment.
Like CARICOM, the Commonwealth of nations reaffirmed its support for Guyana’s sovereignty in the matter, following the culmination of the Commonwealth Summit in Kigali, Rwanda in June.
Notwithstanding its position on the matter of the border controversy with Guyana, the CARICOM Heads agreed in the context of the bilateral relationship with the United States, to urge for the removal of sanctions on Venezuela.
They expect this to allow for countries in the Region to benefit from the PetroCaribe initiative, that had started nearly two decades ago so Caribbean nations would have access to Venezuela’s oil supplies. It was not sustained for reasons including sanctions against Venezuela and that its economy has been in turmoil.
Trinidad is working to up its gas output and would like to proceed with the development of cross-border natural gas fields with Venezuela.
The recent posture taken by the United States government to replace Russian oil supplies gives Venezuela new hope.