As elements in Venezuela escalate their provocative activities at border areas, the PPP/C administration must accept the responsibility for allowing this to happen. The soft approach by this administration to Venezuelan aggression over the years has emboldened our neighbour to the west to new heights. Since Guyana signed on to PetroCaribe in June, 2005, there have been numerous reported cross border incidents; who knows how many never enter the public domain?
In 2006 Mr Parasram Persaud, a Guyanese citizen, was killed in Etering-bang by Venezuelan soldiers. President Jagdeo hushed it up in exchange for a better oil deal and nothing came of the matter.
In 2007 two dredges owned by Guyanese were destroyed in the Cuyuni area; nothing came of this either. The current administration has done nothing following incursions by Venezuelan military aircraft, military ships and armed army personnel.
After soldiers entered Guyana at Eteringbang on August 31, 2013, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett down played the incident. The PPP/C government later declar-ed they were satisfied that the matter had been addressed, calling it a storm in a teacup.
The killing of two Guyanese on October 3, 2013, by Venezuelan soldiers, allegedly on the Kaurasima Creek, Wauna, in Guyana is now overshadowed by the seizure of a ship and arrest of its crew operating under the aegis of the Government of Guyana in our Exclusive Economic Zone.
Evidently, the Venezuelans are getting bolder. This is not surprising given the PPP/C non-responses to past incidents. Of course, PetroCaribe is the major consideration, but why? The PPP/C has had 21 years to forge strategic partnerships, develop the border region in question, pursue alternatives to PetroCaribe and work on the diplomatic and international legal fronts to avert such a situation. The regime failed to do any of those things. As a result, Guyana may now be facing an unnecessary problem, but such is not unusual under this regime.