Guyana looking for strong Caricom statement on Venezuela decree -Harmon

Guyana will be looking to have a “very strong statement” of support from Caricom on Venezuela’s recent claim on Guyana’s maritime territory, Minister of State Joseph Harmon has said.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Harmon noted that President David Granger was scheduled to attend the Caricom Heads of Government meeting in Barbados on July 1, and Guyana would be looking for that statement of support. Guyana also hopes that Caricom would support its position that will be taken to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

Last week President Granger had told this newspaper that US oil firm ExxonMobil would continue its work on schedule as it had nothing to fear since it is operating in Guyana’s exclusive economic zone and it has the weight of international law behind it.

On May 26, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro issued a decree purporting to annex maritime zones belonging to Guyana. The decree was gazetted in Venezuela on May 27.

Georgetown has since said that it was a “baseless and shameless” bid to usurp Guyana’s territory and a “flagrant violation” of international law. Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge told Parliament that a definitive solution must be found and signalled that the government would be moving for a juridical settlement of the border controversy.

Questions have been raised over the motive behind the decree and observers pointed out that it came just after ExxonMobil announced what could be the first major oil find in Guyana’s waters. Maps issued by Caracas showed the ExxonMobil well site within the zone now being claimed.

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