Diplomatic solution sought.
Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues –Birkett is expected to meet with her Venezuelan counterpart in Trinidad later this week for a meeting to discuss what the Guyana gov’t has called unprecedented actions referring to Venezuela’s seizure and arrest of a vessel the Teknik Perdana along with its crew and the way forward.
The incident occurred Thursday afternoon last causing widespread condemnation in and out of Guyana and prompted President Ramotar to instruct Minister Rodrigues-Birkett to meet with the Foreign Minister of Venezuela to resolve the issue. The Teknik Perdana was in the Roraima block which is located in Guyana’s territorial waters, conducting research on behalf of Andarko. Andarko has a Petroleum prospecting licence issued by the Guyana Government. The Venezuelans on the other hand claim that the vessel was in their Exclusive Economic Zone when they ordered them to turn off their engines and shut down their seismic equipment. The Venezuelans have demanded an explanation from Guyana on the activities of the Teknik Perdana. In the meantime the vessel and its crew of over 35 remain on the Island of Margarita.
The opposition parties Apnu and the AFC as well as the GTUC has condemned the action by the Venezuelans. The Apnu said it amounted to a threat to international peace and said it stands behind the Guyana Government as it seeks to resolve the issue. The People Progressive Party at its press briefing this morning also added recorded its objection to the move by the Venezuelan navy.
Venezuela has held on to a century old claim to Guyana’s Essequibo dating back to an 1899 agreement which determined that Essequibo was part of guyana’s territory. On arecent visit to Guyana President Nicholas Maduro had described the issue as one belonging to the colonial past and had committed Venezuela to settling the issue via the Unted Nations Good Officer process designed to a peaceful resolution.