You are defending sovereign territory, says Granger
GEORGETOWN –President David Granger yesterday called on the servicemen of the country, particularly those posted in the Eteringbang and other western Guyana locations to not only be watchful and on their guard, but to also to endeavour, through their actions and encounters, to let the world know that the Guyana/Venezuela Border controversy was settled 117 years ago and that they are defending sovereign territory.
Speaking at the Guyana Defence Force’s (GDF) annual Christmas lunch at Location Eteringbang the President said as the persons responsible for the country’s security and territorial integrity, the policemen and soldiers must exercise their duties with passion and love of country.
President Granger has been taking Guyana’s fight for a full and final settlement in the Border controversy to every regional and international forum he has been invited to including the United Nations General Assembly, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the Caribbean Community Heads of Government Meeting.
“This Cuyuni River is important to us. It is the definition of our sovereignty and your duty as soldiers and policemen is to draw the line so that the world would know where Venezuela stops and where Guyana begins. This has been one of the most painful experiences of our history.
“Even as we celebrate our 50th anniversary of Independence we have had to put up with 50 years of provocation. Some people don’t understand how we feel about this river and about this territorial controversy. The Venezuelans have been preventing investors from coming here. It has not been easy and I tell my colleagues in the other countries that it is like a bone is stuck in our throat, it is causing us pain, it is preventing us from developing this country to benefit the Guyanese people,” the President said.
He noted as far as Guyana is concerned, the matter had been settled 117 years ago with the signing of the Geneva Agreement. He noted too that Venezuela at that time, had been awarded land space, which had originally been demarcated as part of British Guiana, yet it continues to claim even larger territory to this day.
“We can live in peace. Guyana and Venezuela can live in peace. We live in peace with Brazil and we can live in peace with Venezuela but people across the border must understand that this territory is ours. We cannot stop being vigilant because this land belongs not only to us because we are just the trustees. We have to give [this land to] our children and grandchildren.
“You [soldiers, policemen and civilians] are the eyes and ears at this western point of Guyana to keep us informed, to let us know if there is any breach of our territorial integrity. All of them must understand and respect our territorial integrity,” he said. (GINA)