“We are united as one on this issue, we are not relinquishing any part of Guyana” – Min. Walrond affirms
In a firm and resolute message, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond reaffirmed Guyana’s unwavering commitment to resolving the ongoing border controversy with Venezuela through peaceful means and diplomatic channels.
Addressing her staff at a national engagement and sensitisation exercise held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Monday, Minister Walrond underscored the importance of national unity in navigating this sensitive issue. She emphasised that the government and the opposition stand united in upholding the finality of the 1899 Arbitral Award, which established the boundaries between Guyana and Venezuela.
“In regards to our border, there is no partisan politics. We are one with this issue, with every member of every opposition party. This is one issue on which we are united and we have united voice,” the minister posited.
She delivered a charge to Guyanese to become knowledgeable on all the facts relating to the controversy and not to be misled by misinformation being circulated online.
“As citizens we have to be armed with the knowledge so we can counter that rhetoric. Every single day you can find about 23 tweets from the Venezuelan people. They are mobilised, they are one on this issue and as Guyanese we need to be too. We need to debunk the lies when we see them on social media and otherwise, and we have to be armed with the correct information in order to debunk those lies,” the minster highlighted.
In addressing the treatment of Venezuelans in Guyana, minister Walrond proffered that compassion and respect must be shown towards the migrants who are seeking better economic conditions.
“We embrace all, especially people who are facing hardship … We have done a lot as a government to integrate the migrants who have come with barely just a sack of clothes and no food. We integrated their children who were in school, bring them into schools here … and there is no invasion, there can be no invasion of people who are fleeing for better economic conditions,” she added.
The minister asserted that Guyana’s allies stand firm in defending Guyana’s territorial integrity and reaffirmed that Essequibo belongs to Guyana.