UK sending patrol ship to Guyana
LONDON, England (CMC) — The United Kingdom is sending the Royal Navy patrol ship, HMS Trent, to Guyana in a show of British support for the Caribbean Community (Caricom) country that is involved in a border dispute with Venezuela.
“HMS Trent will visit regional ally and Commonwealth partner Guyana later this month as part of a series of engagements in the region during her Atlantic patrol task deployment,” a Ministry of Defence spokesperson said.
The offshore patrol vessel HMS Trent is in Barbados over Christmas and will then head to Guyana for activities which will be carried out at sea.
Earlier this month, Foreign Office Minister for the Americas and Caribbean David Rutley visited Guyana and later said “the border issue has been settled for over 120 years,” adding “sovereign borders must be respected wherever they are in the world”.
The United States Army’s Southern Command earlier this month conducted joint aerial operations with the Guyana Defence Force (GDF). But neither the GDF, nor the Irfaan Ali Government in Georgetown has made no announcement regarding the arrival of the patrol ship.
Guyana and Venezuela are both claiming ownership of the Essequibo county which makes up about two-thirds of Guyana and is home to 125,000 of the country’s 800,000 citizens.
On December 3, Venezuela staged a referendum in which it said 95 per cent of the votes cast were in support of the annexation of the Essequibo region and President Nicolas Maduro announced soon afterwards that foreign companies working in Essequibo would have to withdraw within three months.
He said he was also proposing a special law to prohibit all companies that work under Guyana concessions from any transaction and that Caracas would be creating a military unit for the disputed territory but that it would be based in a neighbouring Venezuelan State.
Prior to the referendum, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) had ruled that Venezuela must not take any action to seize Essequibo, which has been administered by Guyana for more than a century.
The Joint Declaration of Argyle for Dialogue and Peace between Guyana and Venezuela, issued following talks in St Vincent and the Grenadines earlier this month between President Dr Irfaan Ali and President Maduro, also indicated that the two countries agreed that “any controversies” between them will be resolved in accordance with international law, including the Geneva Agreement dated February 17, 1966.