Leader of the Opposition David Granger has challenged Prime Minister Sam Hinds to provide answers on the Venezuelan incursion on August 31 on the day that President Nicolas Maduro paid Guyana a State visit as to whether there was any breach of Guyana’s laws.
According to the Order Paper for Thursday’s sitting of the National Assembly, Granger asks Hinds – the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs – to provide information on the circumstances surrounding what he referred to as the intrusion of units of the Venezuelan National Armed Forces into Guyana’s territory on or about Saturday 31 August, 2013.
“Could the Honourable Prime Minister inform the National Assembly of the actual time and duration of the said intrusion, of the titles of the units and numbers of members of the Venezuelan National Armed Forces and the numbers of the vessels etc, involved?” the opposition leader asked.
“Could the Honourable Prime Minister inform the National Assembly of the response of members of the Guyana Defence Force who were stationed at Eteringbang and what was the effect of the actions taken, if any?” he asked of the Prime Minister.
“Could the Honourable Prime Minister inform the National Assembly whether an inquiry has been conducted into the incident and whether, as a result of the findings of that inquiry, if any, it has been found that there was a breach of any Agreement, Standing Order, Regulation, Act or Law?
“Could the Honourable Prime Minister inform the National Assembly whether any persons were found to be blameworthy of any breach or offence with regard to the intrusion and, if so, what were the outcomes of disciplinary action and what measures have been taken to prevent a recurrence?”
Following the incident, the Government of Guyana said it was investigating the events of August 31, 2013.
According to a report in the Venezuelan publication El Universal, officers of the Venezuelan army accompanied 45 Venezuelan citizens who carried out “an act of sovereignty in the Essequibo disputed area.”
The publication quoted a member of the Venezuelan party as saying: “We came here to carry out a civil exercise of sovereignty, but we do not understand what President Maduro [is] doing there [in Guyana].” According to the publication, the persons belonged to an organisation calling itself ‘My Map of Venezuela also Includes our Essequibo’.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyb Rodrigues-Birkett following the incursion had said that preliminary information suggested that a group of Venezuelans came to Guyana via Eterinbang. “They indicated that they were students and sought permission from the relevant Guyanese authorities to enter Guyana.
That permission was given. They further indicated that they were doing a research in relation to the border,” she had said.