Rowley hopes for peaceful solution to Guyana/Venezuela row

Guyana President Dr Irfaan Ali - File photo/Angelo Marcelle
Guyana President Dr Irfaan Ali - File photo/Angelo Marcelle

THE Prime Minister said on Monday Venezuela's claim to Guyana's Essequibo territory is a situation full of risks, but he was confident of a peaceful resolution.

He was addressing a news briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's.

Dr Rowley hoped such a resolution would be encouraged by both disputants having respect for Trinidad and Tobago's having taken principled past positions.

His remarks precede the Venezuelan Government's December 3 referendum on the Essequibo claim, which Guyana last Tuesday asked the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Netherlands, to block, to which Venezuelan vice president Delcy Rodriguez said no.

"If there is any country which understands the principled position of TT, it is Venezuela. It is on a Venezuelan issue when Venezuela's lifeblood was at stake, that TT took its most principled public position. Not once, but more than once."

Rowley said when the Essequibo row had previously flared up, late prime minister Dr Eric Williams had brought some easing of tension in a scary situation.

He said, "We are confident that the governments of Venezuela and Guyana would know that Caricom's position, that our region is and must remain a zone of peace, is the best position for all of us.

"Secondly, they'd all know, even in the darkest hour, it was known that TT's position was that if difficulties arise, the response must be dialogue, dialogue and dialogue."

Rowley said a Venezuelan issue had taken TT, Mexico and Norway to Uruguay on a principled position on opposition to efforts to unseat the Nicolas Maduro Government.

"There's nothing new here.

"Guyana knows it has the support of Caricom on this matter, and Venezuela knows Caricom supports Guyana on this issue.

"So let us not overreact or overreach."

He said TT viewed Venezuela as its closest neighbour, with close working relationships, and TT was heavily invested in Guyana as Caricom's capital.

"I think we all know what is happening. It would be a tragedy indeed if we misunderstand what is happening and mishandle it."

Rowley reiterated that TT was present when the Venezuelan Government faced challenges.

"The Government of Venezuela saw us at work, to know how we handled it."

Pressed on the border row, he admitted there were always risks, including that of a "nuclear"-style political chain reaction, but said Caricom wished the region to be a zone of peace. Rowley did not want to see the relationship between Venezuela and Guyana damaged.

Also on foreign policy, Rowley touched on Haiti, which now faces lawlessness and gang rule in certain areas of its capital city. He advocated a broadening of the current governmental structure, saying, at present, not one governmental official had been elected.

"A stronger effort should be made to get a broader-based government."


"Rowley hopes for peaceful solution to Guyana/Venezuela row"

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