Scrutinise Jagdeo’s overtures to Venezuela

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Dear Editor,
ASKED whether he was suggesting that a part of the Essequibo be given to Venezuela, Jagdeo replied, “Not the Essequibo River, Orinoco, just on the border; not our Essequibo. I didn’t mean that.”The PPP leader added that what would have had to happen was that “you make a slight concession in the maritime area, but make sure you do not concede any territory that is land-based, because the maritime boundaries still are yet to be determined.” Guyana Chronicle (10/24/2015)

I cannot address the many charges of Jagdeo’s skullduggery, but why is the olive branch he extended to Venezuela not being seen for what it is – an act of treason? Venezuela has no claim. If it needs an access through the Orinoco, negotiations should be on access, and not a claim. When Venezuela wants Guyana’s rice, rice is sold to Venezuela at a negotiated price. Venezuela did not claim that Guyana’s rice is theirs. For Jagdeo to even suggest that “…the maritime boundaries still are yet to be determined” is giving Venezuela a toehold to its claim, when Venezuela does not have a claim.

The borders, the deal, the treaty, the marriage, the agreement — call it what you will — has been settled in 1899. And this treaty of 1899 must be honoured, just as every treaty must be honoured under international law. We must hold unequivocally to this legal document, and ignore and prepare to rebuff any oil-slick caudillo with his personal itch, who wants to lay claim on what is our land -– a land that bears the bodies and blood of its indigenous people, the slaves and indentured servants.

Jagdeo’s statement shows betrayal of the one thing that has been truly sacred to all Guyanese -– our heritage. At a time when our fragmented nation should be healing and coming together to fight the foreign virus that is threating our being, Jagdeo, by his words, proves he is a willing host of this virus. Jagdeo’s statement is unbecoming of a son of Guyana, and, most importantly, leader of the opposition. Jagdeo should be banished to the woodwork, where he belongs.

Stanley Niamatali