Funds budgeted for public education on Guyana/Venezuela border matter – Minister Todd

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hon. Hugh Todd says the Government of Guyana will spare no expense to ensure the Guyanese population is educated and informed about the Guyana/Venezuela border issue.

In his contribution to the National Budget Debate on Thursday, Minister Todd announced that this year, a massive public relations campaign would be launched as part of a concerted effort to safeguard Guyana’s territorial integrity.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon. Hugh Todd

“Monies will also be allocated to a national public relations committee, a committee that will drive a national PR campaign because it is felt that we need to be very proactive over the next several years by educating our people and this was also raised in the Foreign Relations sub-committee and we all agreed that [there] should be a massive public relations campaign which includes our grade school children right through to adulthood,” he said.

Minister Todd told the National Assembly that the intention is to foster solidarity among the people to speak “one message” on the matter and to ensure every citizen understands the value of maintaining and protecting the country’s territorial integrity.

Further, the Ministry would continue to host regular stakeholders’ engagements to ensure they are updated on the process. The first engagement was held in early January.

The Ministry has also started engaging journalists, publishers and editors, to ensure media personnel understand the context, history and process that is being embarked upon.

The Case Management Conference for the Guyana/Venezuela border matter is scheduled to get underway on Friday at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The preparatory conference will lay out details for the substantive hearing of the matter.

Guyana is challenging the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela over its disagreement on the “legal validity and binding effect of the October 3, 1899 Award.”

Venezuela continues to lay claim to a significant portion of Guyana’s territory in the Essequibo, even though for more than 60 years, it consistently recognised and respected the validity and binding nature of the 1899 Award and the 1905 Map agreed by both Venezuela and Great Britain, in furtherance of the Award.

Guyana filed its case with the ICJ in March 2018, after United Nations Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres referred it to the ICJ for final resolution.

On December 18, 2020, the ICJ, by a 12-4 majority ruling, found that it has jurisdiction to entertain the matter after a Venezuelan challenge.