Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr. Keith Rowley has reaffirmed the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) support for Guyana in its border controversy with Venezuela and made it clear that the region must remain a zone of peace.
“We are confident that the governments of Venezuela and Guyana would know that CARICOM’s position – that our region must be and remain a zone of peace – is the best position for all of us,” Dr. Rowley told reporters at a press conference.
He later added: “Guyana knows that it has the support of CARICOM on this matter and Venezuela knows that CARICOM supports Guyana on this matter.”
The Guyana/ Venezuela border controversy is squarely before the ICJ and Guyana hopes for a final, binding settlement there that reaffirms the 1899 Arbitral Award that established the existing boundary between itself and Venezuela. Essentially, Guyana wants the court to reaffirm that the Essequibo region is its own.
Venezuela is pursuing a referendum on December 3 that many fear may set the stage for an annexation of Guyana’s territory that is claimed by the Spanish-speaking nation. Guyana has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to block questions in that referendum that directly relate to Guyana’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Asked about this, Rowley maintained that the region must remain a zone of peace.
“I have no forecast as to how it would go but I would not like to see the relationship between Venezuela and Guyana deteriorate to a point where consequent actions would negatively damage all of us, because all of us would be damaged,” the Prime Minister said.
Good relations, he said too, make good economic sense for the neighbouring countries. In fact, he said that Venezuela, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname could work together to develop the region’s natural gas resources.
And he hopes that the countries, particularly the newer players, would use Trinidad’s Point Lisas facility to develop the gas resources.