Guyana must be complimented for its diligence in succeeding in persuading the UN Secretary General to submit the border controversy to the International Court of Justice, requesting the court to confirm the legal validity and binding effect of the 1899 Arbitral Award.
We may not have the military might to protect our territorial integrity against Venezuela’s brutal claims, but we have the sovereignty of nations doctrine. Inter-national jurisdiction has been invoked via the ICJ, to resolve the controversy in accordance with international laws and jurisprudence, including the sanctity of treaties and the maintenance of settled boundaries.
However, more has to be done, both within and outside Guyana. Not only must each of Guyana’s ambassadors, diplomatic staff, embassy and consular officials lobby every nation and international organization, but all Guyanese and West Indians. Indeed, every right thinking person must advocate publicly and support Guyana’s cause, while exposing and condemning Venezuela’s bogus and vicious claims.
Those charged with representing Guyana’s interests abroad must not sit idly by, and expect support to come to us. That is not how global politics works. My foray into politics taught me what my father always warned me of, “that not all those who laugh and smile with you are your friend. Most will stab you in the back when your back is turned.” Then they will pretend to shed “crocodile tears” for you.
Many of my life experiences have taught me that the DNA of the same people we help is so perverse, that they will sell that very person down the river, or dump them under the bus unnecessarily. They just cannot help it. They will point fingers at you, and criticize, jump on your back for you to carry them, make you spend your time and money on their welfare as if they are entitled to your sacrifices by some divine right, but will never make an attempt to even walk a few steps in your shoes. It is explained by diverse sociologists as the “crab mentality” or the “crab dog attitude”.
Wherever it derives its genesis from, some regret that it clearly affects Guyanese and Caribbean people most. Indeed, I have experienced that first hand. One thriving expatriate told me when asked about the controversy, that “she would be happy to become a Venezuelan citizen,” with alarming ignorance and unabashed treachery. I remember my QC and law school professors’ admonitions, citing Sir Winston Churchill: “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”
Indeed, when my blood, sweat and tears were singularly spent in what the mainstream media described as my “unprecedented efforts to unify and empower my community socially, economically and politically,” others ran for the same office just to divide up the community vote, and serve their own narrow-minded egos and interests. Now, after countless election cycles and openings, none have come forward to fill my shoes, or follow that defined path, or help empower our communities, confirming their selfish and misguided reasons for running in the first place.
It will be no different on the international stage where Guyana now has to fight. And, with Guyana’s future looking great with the recent oil discovery, major interests will be involved ‒ the good, the bad, and the ugly. And yes, there will be jealous neighbours, friends and family, and manipulative mercenaries. The United Nations, OAS, Caricom, the Common-wealth and other organizations and nations must individually and collectively speak louder on Guyana’s behalf. Guyana must hold them accountable.
Whenever Guyana’s name came up in the USA, I was reflexively reminded of Jonestown. I got tired of explaining to people that Guyanese were not involved in that tragedy, that it was an all American affair, that the stereotypes and stigma of pinning the Jonestown tragedy on Guyanese was wrong and undeserved, and that no other country would have allowed them such largesse and hospitality as Guyana did. Often, it brought out colourful West Indian language to explain that to our detractors, emphasizing that other countries would have demanded reparations and compensation for the perpetration of such an atrocity on their territories.
However, I imagine Guyanese and West Indians will always be the most friendly, docile and hospitable people in the world.
Accordingly, I respectfully remind the Guyana government and our legal team to take Sir Shridath Ramphal’s deposition and opinions in this matter, memorializing his unique expert and venerated views confirming the validity of Guyana’s rights over Venezuela’s intrusions.