The UNC is calling on the Keith Rowley administration to unequivocally support fellow CARICOM state Guyana in its border dispute with Venezuela. Alternatively, it must work vigorously towards a diplomatic resolution of the conflict.
In a statement on Tuesday, MP Rodney Charles raised this concern following a plea by Guyana to the international community for help given Venezuela’s call in an upcoming December 2023 referendum for “a new Venezuelan State consisting of Guyana’s Essequibo Region, which would be incorporated into the national territory of Venezuela, and the granting of Venezuelan citizenship to the population”.
Charles said CARICOM has issued a strong statement in support of Guyana requesting Venezuela to abide by international law but TT has remained silent.
“At the very least TT must leverage our current good relations with Maduro to be an honest broker to help resolve the border dispute. We cannot sit idly by, do nothing and hope for the best. That will not be in our long term interest. Today it is Venezuela. Tomorrow it could be Trinidad and Tobago,” said Charles.
The Opposition MP added, “There is an axiom in diplomacy that “countries have neither permanent friends nor permanent enemies. They only have permanent interests.”
“TT has strong diplomatic and potential economic links with Venezuela specifically relating to exploration of Dragon Gas fields located entirely in Venezuela and the cross border Loran-Manatee field. All citizens are hopeful for positive results in these projects but the geopolitical considerations, if not frontally addressed, will always bedevil what are admittedly difficult negotiations.”
“Given our growing energy dependence on Venezuela and that country’s possible “Imperialistic designs” of which Eric Williams warned; what is to stop a future Venezuelan government from intervening militarily in TT on the pretext of protecting the welfare of its arguably 80,000, or so citizens resident here?”
Charles said, “TT must lift its diplomatic profile and positively assist in resolving the Venezuela/ Guyana conflict. We may not only be helping a fellow CARICOM state, and demonstrating our world class diplomatic credentials, but more so we may be making life easy for future TT administrations in navigating our survival as a nation in an admittedly difficult geopolitical region.