Venezuela’s decree – Guyana Chronicle – was strongly condemned

– A bipartisan foreign relations committee supports efforts to protect Guyana’s sovereignty, territorial integrity
– Canada joins the United States in calling on Venezuela to respect the judicial process

By Navendra Seoraj

VENEZUELA’s recent claims to the seas and seabed near the coast west of the Essequibo River, belonging to Guyana, continue to receive strong condemnation from local and foreign stakeholders, with the Parliamentary Sector Committee on Foreign Relations, and Canada are the latest to be added. their voice to this issue.
The parliamentary committee, according to a statement on Monday, unanimously condemned in the strongest terms the operation of any law by Venezuela with extra-territorial application in violation of international law and Guyana rights.

This position was adopted by the committee, which is chaired by Opposition Senator Raphael Trotman, after its members were briefed on the issue by Hugh Todd, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The meeting was attended by the Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips; Governance Minister a

Parliamentary Affairs, Gail Teixeira; and other members of the Government and Opposition sides in the House.
Minister Todd was told, after entertaining several questions from the parliamentary committee, that there was a need for continued vigilance in protecting Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The committee further assured the minister of his support for the efforts of the Government of Guyana to take all necessary steps to protect the national interests of this nation.

“Guyana stands united and determined in defending our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the parliamentary committee said in its statement.

The ‘unity’ in reference was also conveyed by Minister Todd to the Chargé d’Affaires of the Venezuelan Embassy, ​​Moses Chavez, during a meeting on Monday.

Minister Todd registered Guyana’s strong opposition to Venezuela’s latest assertion to the coast west of the Essequibo River, noting that this was purely based on unilateral action, and without due regard to Guyana’s international law and rights.

Reports are that as Guyana has sovereign rights over the coast west of the Essequibo River, as far as Punta Playa, it follows that, as a result, only Guyana can enjoy sovereignty and exclusive sovereign rights over the adjacent sea and the seabed.

This is exactly the issue before the ICJ, which the ICJ, on December 18, 2020, decided to resolve, ie, whether Guyana or Venezuela have sovereignty over that territory.


Canada has teamed up with the United States of America (US) to call on Venezuela to respect this judicial process.
The Canadian High Commission, in a statement posted on its Facebook page on Monday, noted Venezuela’s recent assertion that it had sovereignty over the area near Guyana’s Essequibo coast.
“The decision is in the hands of the International Court of Justice, and this judicial process must be respected,” the high commission said.

Assistant Secretary (s) of the US Department of State’s Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau, Michael Kozak, said Sunday that the United States supports the ICJ’s ruling that it has jurisdiction over Guyana’s territorial border issue, Venezuela, which is the legal and peaceful way forward.

“Maduro’s aggressive allegations do not change this; they only show it to their neighbors and international law to the world, ”Kozak asserted in a post on his official Twitter page.
The United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch also reiterated the North American country’s call for a legal, peaceful resolution to the border dispute.

Guyana is confident that the international court will resolve the issue in its favor, and that this will also settle the issue of maritime rights in the adjacent sea and seabed.

“I am reminded that Guyana (then British Guiana) was awarded sovereignty over this coast, and the land territory to which it is attached, in the 1899 Arbitration Award, whose authenticity and character legally binding Guyana with confidence in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) holding unequivocally, ”confirmed the President, Dr. Irfaan Ali in a speech to the nation on Saturday.

He said that unfortunately by ruling that the seas adjacent to this territory belong to Venezuela, at least two basic principles of international law have been violated.
In the first offensive, as outlined by President Ali, no State can unilaterally set its international borders, whether land or maritime.

President Ali argued that the imposition of an international border under international law can only result from an agreement between neighboring States, or a binding decision of an international court or arbitral tribunal.

“Therefore, this attempt by Venezuela to seek, unilaterally, to repair its land and maritime borders with Guyana is legally void, which cannot, and will not, be respected by any other State in the world, by including Guyana, ”confirmed Head of State.
There is a second fundamental international law offense referred to by President Ali, based on the fact that, under the established rules of international law, there is a fundamental principle that says, “the land dominates the sea”.

This means that sovereignty, and sovereign rights in the sea and the seabed derive from title to the land that forms the coast to which that seas and bed lie.

Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon, in a statement on Sunday, urged Venezuela to use the ICJ as the forum to present its case, and stop issuing these arbitrary decrees.

“This decree is mischievous, illegal, and can only serve to temper tensions on a matter that is resolved peacefully at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Venezuela, as a Member State of the United Nations, is bound by the jurisdiction and rulings of the ICJ, ”Harmon said in the statement.

The Coalition A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU + AFC), proposed that it is robust, and in unity with any reasonable steps that the people of Guyana are likely to embark on to protect Guyana sovereignty.

A renowned Guyana-born diplomat, Sir Ronald Sanders has also said that the international community will not tolerate violations of international law.

Although this decree is yet to be listed or elaborated on, Sir Ronald said: “What they put out informally is quite disturbing, and it highlights a breach of the law international. But, you have to wait and see how far they go before you make a strong statement on this. ”