Guyana calls on Venezuela “to behave itself”

Friday, June 26, 2015

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – Guyana has called on Venezuela, to “behave itself” as the two South American countries continue to seek public support for its position regarding the ongoing border dispute between them.
Minister of Governance, with responsibility for National Patrimony, Raphael Trotman, told the National Assembly Thursday that Guyana is fully prepared to stand up against Venezuela which has recently laid claim to Guyana’s territorial waters.
“Venezuela knows what it has to do and that is to behave itself,” Trotman told legislators, adding that “there is a substantial oil find off the coast of Guyana.
“What we now have to do is develop it and protect it, even from the rapacious advances of our neighbours to the West”.
Trotman said that Guyana is entitled to “develop what is ours just as they (Venezuela) are entitled to develop what is theirs” and that Georgetown had allowed its neighbour to develop its own resources  “without questioning by us or from us”.
Trotman said that as a result, Guyana “will guard jealously the right to do the same to our resources without interference,” telling the National Assembly that while the Guyana population does not number in the millions, all can, “rest assured that the desire to defend and enjoy what is ours is not to be underestimated”.
Trotman also expressed government’s gratitude to Columbia and Suriname which have taken offense to Venezuela’s latest claims and signalled their displeasure in no uncertain terms, by “speaking out strongly against Venezuela’s move”.
Venezuela has issued a decree which states that a very large area of the sea belongs to Venezuela and has instructed its navy to enforce this zone.
This claim comes on the heels of the news of the discovery of a significant quantity of oil in Guyana’s internationally recognised territorial waters, several weeks ago by Exxon Mobil.
Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge recently said that the area in which oil exploration is currently underway by ExxonMobil has never been the subject of any claim from Venezuela.
“It is a new claim by Venezuela, not a repetition of any claim, it’s a new claim. Secondly, it is not this government that issued the exploration rights, so to suggest that they have to move now because this government has gone a step too far, is not accurate.’
Greenidge said that in its new claim, Venezuela has not demonstrated and indeed cannot show any reason for so doing.
 “The principle underlying the claim hasn’t any basis whatsoever in any known formula for allocation of the ocean, save bullyism.”
The government has promised to work on all fora, including the United Nations (UN), Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), Organisation of American States (OAS), Commonwealth and CARICOM to have the matter resolved.


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