President of Guyana David Granger addresses the United Nations General Assembly. (FILE)
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GEORGETOWN – Guyana is marking the 48th anniversary of republicanism today with President David Granger saying that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country has lived under the shadow of threats to its territory since Independence in 1966.
“Guyana moved closer towards a juridical settlement of the territorial controversy this year. The United Nations Secretary General in January indicated his choice of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as the means to resolve the controversy,” Granger said in a nationwide radio and television broadcast.
He said Guyana intends to pursue the border dispute with Venezuela before the ICJ in coming months “with the same determination as we rejected the unwarranted claim to our territory in past years.
“We are confident that our cause is just and our case is sound. We are committed to defending our motherland.”
He told citizens that the Guyana Constitution stipulates that: the State’s defence and security policy shall be to defend national independence, preserve the country’s sovereignty and integrity and guarantee the normal functioning of institutions and the security of citizens against any armed aggression.
“Our citizens’ safety is the State’s paramount objective. Our people must be safe in their homes, villages and places of work. Their property must be protected against crime,” he said.
In his broadcast, Granger said that the independent state of Guyana assumed the title ‘Cooperative Republic’, 48 years ago when the country severed vestigial constitutional bonds with the United Kingdom.
“Guyana became fully sovereign, no longer subject to external authority. The Republic vested sovereignty in our people. It charged Guyanese with exercising this sovereignty by assuming responsibility for defending their motherland and developing the economy.”
Granger said the country is looking forward to the intensification of cooperation with friendly, foreign states, especially in building capacity for the Defence Force’s technical corps to improve the national infrastructure in every part of the country, to defend our territorial integrity, to protect our citizens and to respond to emergencies.
“International cooperation is essential to preserving this continent as a zone of peace; to preventing and interdicting transnational threats such as drug-, gun- and human-trafficking, the spread of contagious diseases, terrorism and to mitigating the adverse effects of climate change and natural hazards.
“Guyana’s green grandeur must be protected. Its grasslands, highlands, islands, wetlands, lakes, coastal mudflats, rainforests, rivers and waterfalls are wonderful – not a mere figment of its citizens’ imagination.
We, Guyanese, are proud of our country.”
Granger said that in the exercise of its sovereignty, Guyana is defending the Republic.
“We are protecting our patrimony. We are ensuring that future generations will be able to inherit this beautiful country, to live in peace and to enjoy the good life and prosperity which this bountiful country has to offer,” he said, wishing the nation a happy Mashramani.
Mashramani, often abbreviated to “Mash”, is an annual festival that celebrates Guyana becoming a Republic in 1970. The festival includes a parade, music, games and cooking and is intended to commemorate the “Birth of the Republic”. (CMC)