In a firm and resolute address to the nation on Tuesday night, Guyana’s President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, vehemently denounced Venezuela’s apparent move to enforce a December 3 referendum on Guyana’s Essequibo Region, in blatant disregard of an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling.
Ali said this latest move is a direct threat to Guyana’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and is in violation of the United Nations and Organisation of American States Charters. He expressed grave concern over these developments, emphasizing Guyana’s commitment to safeguard its territory by intensifying precautionary measures.
In a bid to reassure investors, Ali declared that they have “nothing to fear.”
He said “Your investment is in a safe, democratic, stable country in which the rule of law prevails. You have nothing to worry about when you invest in a country that governs itself in accordance with the rule of law that stands on the side of democracy and understands what true freedom is.”
The Guyana Head of State reaffirmed the readiness of its international partners to lend support to the country and called on Caracas to “correct its missteps” and “for Venezuela to… commit itself to peace and to act in a manner that is befitting of a member of the United Nations family.”
President Nicolas Maduro in blatant disregard for the World Court’s ruling not to aggravate the controversy further, on Tuesday evening unveiled a revised map of his nation, incorporating the Essequibo region.
Alongside this, he issued directives for the formation of fresh administrative bodies responsible for issuing licenses for oil, gas, and mineral exploration in the Essequibo area. Furthermore, he put forth a proposal for enacting legislation aimed at establishing designated environmentally protected zones, potentially serving as hubs for tourism and preserving biodiversity.
Partners Alerted on Security Concerns
The Guyana Defence Force remains on high alert and has engaged its military counterparts, including the US Southern Command, to safeguard Guyana’s sovereignty.
President Ali said government is engaging international stakeholders, alerting the Secretary General of the UN and other world leaders about Venezuela’s threatening actions, considered a flagrant breach of international law. Guyana is set to escalate the matter to the UN Security Council for necessary action.
The President has sought support from several key allies and international bodies, including CARICOM, the OAS, the Commonwealth, the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and France.
Undeterred by Venezuela’s defiance, Ali affirmed Guyana’s determination to proceed with the case in the ICJ, emphasizing that Venezuela’s actions will not hinder the World Court from issuing its final judgment.