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Opposition calls on Pres. Ali to convene national dialogue to address Venezuela’s recent action

L-R: President Dr. Irfaan Ali and Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs Roysdale Forde

Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs Roysdale Forde has called on President Dr. Irfaan Ali to convene a national dialogue that includes the Opposition and other key stakeholders to address Venezuela's recent decision to approve Guyana’s Essequibo as its own.


In a recent and unsettling development, Venezuela has taken measures that not only exacerbate the longstanding territorial controversy over the Essequibo region but also starkly violate the spirit and letter of the recently crafted Argyle Agreement.

This agreement, a testament to our mutual commitment to peace, clearly stipulates that both Guyana and Venezuela shall refrain from any actions or rhetoric that could escalate conflicts arising from territorial controversies.

Venezuela's unilateral declaration of the Essequibo region as its own starkly contravenes this agreement, undermining the principles of peace and diplomacy that both nations have pledged to uphold.

This egregious act by Venezuela is not only a breach of international law but also a departure from decades of established precedent. In its initial Application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Guyana detailed how Venezuela, for more than half a century, had acknowledged and respected the 1899 Award's validity and the subsequent 1905 Map, which were both integral to delineating our territorial boundaries.

It is both notable and regrettable that Venezuela reversed its stance in 1962, coinciding with the United Kingdom's preparations to grant Guyana independence. This year, we mark the 57th anniversary of the 1966 Geneva Agreement, a reminder of our enduring quest for a peaceful and just resolution to this dispute.

The recent actions by Venezuela not only disregard these historical agreements but also pose a significant threat to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity—fundamental tenets that ensure the stability and security of nations worldwide. Such unilateral measures threaten to destabilize the Caribbean and Latin American region, creating a climate of uncertainty and potential conflict that extends far beyond our borders.

The unwavering support from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of American States (OAS) underscores the international community's solidarity with Guyana. It highlights the collective understanding of the importance of resolving this dispute through dialogue, adherence to international law, and the mechanisms provided by the ICJ.

In response to these challenging times, I urge the President of Guyana, Mr. Irfaan Ali, to exercise decisive leadership by convening a national dialogue that includes the opposition and other key stakeholders. Our goal is to forge a unified front in addressing this existential threat to our nation's sovereignty. The sovereignty of Guyana transcends political divides; it is a shared treasure that we must all safeguard with unwavering commitment and inclusivity.

As we reflect on the significance of the Geneva Agreement's anniversary, let us renew our commitment to seeking a peaceful and lawful resolution to this dispute. Our nation's future, and indeed the stability of our region, depend on our ability to stand together in defense of our sovereign rights.

I urge President Ali to place  great store on Article 13 of Guyana’s constitution and embrace inclusivity. Inclusionary democracy lies at the heart of our nation’s ethos, and it is incumbent upon us, all of us, to uphold this principle, particularly, in the face of external threats to our sovereignty. We must, at the very basic level, transcend partisan divides and stand united in defense of our territorial and national sovereignty.

As we navigate these turbulent waters, we are reminded of the complex history of the Essequibo dispute, rooted in the colonial era. Guyana's pursuit of a final and binding judgment from the ICJ to affirm the 1899 Arbitral Award is not only about territorial integrity but also about securing our nation's future economic and geostrategic interests. The Essequibo region, rich in natural resources, is integral to Guyana's development and prosperity.

I commend my colleague, MP Amanza Walton-Desir, Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs, for her proactive engagement with the government in these critical times. It is imperative that we, as a nation, stand united and mobilize every resource at our disposal to defend our territorial rights and uphold the principles of international law.


Let us stand together, across party lines and as a united Guyanese people, to ensure the security of our nation's future and affirm our commitment to peace, justice, and the rule of law. In unity, there is strength, and in strength, there is victory.

Guyana’s sovereignty does not belong solely to the government but to all of us, irrespective of political affiliation. When I took the oath to serve as a parliamentarian, it was with the solemn commitment to represent and safeguard the interests of all Guyanese.

The illegal action by Venezuela constitutes a serious threat to the interests and future of all Guyanese.



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