Venezuela’s actions threaten diplomacy, neighbourly relations – Min. Parag

Minister of Public Service, Sonia Parag, has firmly denounced Venezuela’s persistent and baseless territorial claims, emphasising the potential for these claims to undermine the foundations of democracy, diplomacy, and harmonious relations within the region.

Addressing a public awareness conference on the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Tuesday, Minister Parag delivered remarks on behalf of His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali. She asserted that Venezuela’s pursuit of these claims poses a grave threat to the sanctity of international law and regional stability.

Minister of Public Service, Sonia Parag addressing the gathering

“An act like that puts the entire world in limbo. It puts the entire world in a state of confusion, or it has the potential to do that. Because, any country in any part of the world can decide that they are going to wake up tomorrow and decide, on their own, that they want to come and take a territory irrespective of the rule of law, and irrespective a legal decision made by an institutional body. Where does that leave us in the world? It means that no country is safe,” she told the gathering.

Despite the definitive resolution of the border controversy nearly a century ago, Venezuela remains fixated on its unfounded claims to Guyana’s Essequibo region. This persistent refusal to accept the finality of the 1899 Arbitral Award, as reiterated by the minister, exemplifies Venezuela’s blatant disregard for the rule of law and its contempt for international principles.

Delving into the historical context of the dispute, the minister highlighted Guyana’s unwavering commitment to a peaceful and legally binding resolution from the outset.

“We have never shied away from taking a course of peace and diplomacy because we are that kind of country, and we will, at all times, preserve and maintain our peace for us and for the rest of the region, because we want our country to be an example to the rest of the world.

A section of the gathering at the awareness session

“Every single step of that Arbitral Award and process was documented. That is why we can, today, refer to all of what transpired then, because of the well-documented records,” Minister Parag added.

The conference was organised by the National Security and Intelligence Studies students of the University of the Southern Caribbean. It saw the attendance of students from various schools in Georgetown, such as the Government Technical Institute (GTI), the Bishops’ High School, Queen’s College and St. Joseph High School, as well as students from the University of Guyana, and other stakeholders.

It accompanies a host of other activities organised by both public and private sector organisations to affirm Guyana’s position on the matter, and to enhance public awareness of the historical significance of the controversy.