Guyana’s growth will not be paralyzed by Venezuela’s threats – VP reaffirms

Despite the government’s continued focus on the ongoing border controversy with Venezuela, the government made it clear that the nation’s growth will not be adversely impacted.

Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, on Wednesday, reaffirmed that works are well on the way to ensure strategic measures and programmes are catered for in the 2024 Budget, to foster sustainable growth for the benefit of its citizens.

During a televised interview, Dr Jagdeo said while the ongoing matter is of national importance noting that significant attention must also be placed on improving the livelihoods of Guyanese even in the face of challenges.

“It is necessary, we must not be paralyzed as a nation. This is a major challenge on our border. We’ve been there before; we’ve overcome those challenges several times in the past and we will overcome this challenge too,” the vice president stated.

Dr Jagdeo emphasised the administration must maintain a sense of normalcy. As a result, efforts are underway to enhance the quality of life and create jobs, among other things.

The vice president noted that the government is in an ‘enhanced operation’ mood to handle the long-standing border controversy with the Spanish-speaking nation.

Meanwhile, CARICOM heads of state and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) will mediate talks between Guyana’s President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, and Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro on Thursday.

The meeting will focus on reducing tensions between the two nations amid the border controversy. However, discussions on finding a solution to the controversy itself are off the table as the matter is currently before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

After 67 years, before Guyana’s independence, Venezuela challenged the 1899 Arbitral Award. This led to the signing of the Geneva Agreement in 1966. 

Efforts over more than half a century, including a four-year Mixed Commission (1966-1970), a twelve-year moratorium (1970-1982), a seven-year process of consultations on a means of settlement (1983-1990), and a twenty-seven-year Good Offices Process under the UN Secretary-General’s authority (1990-2017), all failed to end the border controversy. 

After years of exhausted efforts, the matter was referred to the ICJ by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the 1966 Geneva Agreement. This referral followed Guyana’s official filing of its case in 2018.

In December 2020, the ICJ affirmed its jurisdiction to hear the case definitively, bolstering Guyana’s confidence in a favourable ruling upholding the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award.