Guyana Defence Force not perturbed by movement of soldiers in Venezuela
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – The head of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Tuesday sought to reassure the country’s citizens that they need not be worried by the movement of soldiers from the neighbouring country of Venezuela near the border with the Caribbean Community (Caricom) country.
“If there is any need to alert on developments outside of the norm, we have a duty to make it known,” GDF Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Omar Khan stated.
Media reports have highlighted an increased presence of Venezuelan soldiers with some indicating that there continues to be a crackdown on illegal mining in Venezuela and a number of the military operations appear to have been launched to address the issue.
Brigadier Khan acknowledged the need to verify several reports on social media on the issue.
“There are several pieces of information being circulated via social media on the subject topic, and from various sources which must always be verified,” he said.
Opposition Shadow Foreign Minister, Amanza Walton-Desir, has called on Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd to summon an “urgent” meeting of the parliamentary committee on foreign relations to brief the bipartisan body on developments concerning the territorial controversy and the increasing arrival of Venezuelan migrants.
“The critical issues of the border controversy and the escalating Venezuelan migrant crisis demand our immediate attention. These matters have clear implications for our national security, stability, and international relations and it, therefore, is essential that we address these challenges with the diligence and vigilance that this state of affairs warrants,” she said.
Guyanese officials warn that with elections pending in Venezuela, there is expected to be increased dissemination of misinformation by the neighbouring country on the border controversy, since the issue could be used as a campaign tool to drum up support among Venezuelans as they prepare for the polls.
Guyana has in the past shunned President Nicolas Maduro’s public call for talks with his Guyanese counterpart, Irfaan Ali, to settle the controversy over that Spanish-speaking neighbour’s claim to the mineral and forest-rich Essequibo Region and all of the Atlantic waters offshore that region.
Instead, Guyana continues to rely on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) whose decision is yet to be handed down in Georgetown’s case for a finding that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award is the full and final settlement of the land boundary.