Leader of the Opposition Brigadier David Granger today called on President Donald Ramotar to convene a border and national security committee in the wake of last week’s seizure by Caracas of a ship in Guyana’s waters.
Granger in a statement today said that the committee should immediately consider the implications of, and Guyana’s response to, the “unprecedented seizure of an unarmed, scientific survey vessel by the Venezuelan Bolivarian Navy (Armada Bolivariana de Venezuela).” The vessel was undertaking exploration in Guyana Exclusive Economic Zone on 10th October 2013.
Granger said his call is based on the June 2001 Report of the Border and National Security Committee of which he was co-Chairman. The Report recommended that the highest level of consultations for discussion and resolution of issues on border and national security issues should take place between the President and Leader of the Opposition.
Granger expressed astonishment at the ‘Joint Statement’ issued yesterday after the meeting between Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and Venezuela’s Minister for Foreign Relations, Elias Jaua Milano, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. He said that the ‘Joint Statement’ merely “agreed to explore mechanisms within the context of international law to address the issue of maritime delimitation.” He argued that it did not address the dangerous use, or threat of the use, of armed force by Venezuela against Guyana which is in contravention of Art. 2 (4) of the Charter of the United Nations.
Granger said that it has become evident that there is need to strengthen the role of the National Assembly, the capability of the Government of Guyana and the capacity of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to respond to challenges to the country’s territorial integrity.