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The Opposition, A Partnership of National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), has chastised the governing People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) for its failure to provide the adequate defence diplomacy in light of the Venezuelans increasing aggression and pending Referendum, due December 3, 2023. In a statement today the coalition notes Guyana’s territorial integrity is executed via a three-prong approach-international, national, and legal.
Over the past six decades, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana has depended, and continues to depend firstly on Defence Diplomacy, underpinned and driven by Article 37 of its constitution and in particular, the practice of sovereign equality; inviolability of frontiers, territorial integrity of states, peaceful settlements of disputes, and non-intervention in internal affairs of other states, the Opposition position. “Together with provisions of Articles 1 and 2 of the Guyana Constitution, the borders of the Republic of Guyana are therefore sacrosanct, indivisible, inalienable and non-transferable,” the opposition parliamentary majority notes.
Removing any doubt of its intent on the border controversy the coalition made known, from the outset, its commitment to a unified front in responding to Venezuela’s agression.
The full statement follows:-
NEED FOR ENHANCED DEFENCE DIPLOMACY
At the outset it must be stated that the Opposition is committed to a unified front on the territorial controversy between Guyana and Venezuela. However, the united front does not absolve us of the responsibility to highlight the shortcomings in the government’s response to the threat at our Western border.
The government needs to be genuine in upholding the consultative and inclusive process so that stakeholders, including the Opposition, do not feel the need to resort to public forums to air their views.
Guyana’s Territorial Integrity is executed via a three-prong approach-international, national, and legal. Over the past six decades, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana has depended, and continues to depend firstly on Defence Diplomacy, underpinned and driven by Article 37 of its constitution and in particular, the practice of sovereign equality; inviolability of frontiers, territorial integrity of states, peaceful settlements of disputes, and non-intervention in internal affairs of other states. Together with provisions of Articles 1 and 2 of the Guyana Constitution, the borders of the Republic of Guyana are therefore sacrosanct, indivisible, inalienable and non-transferable.
More importantly, Article 2 of Guyana’s constitution lays out the borders of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, and only a national referendum can change those borders. For context, the government of Guyana, at the time, deeply entrenched the borders of Guyana in the nation’s successive constitutions. The record shows that successive PNC governments and later the coalition government were always concerned with protecting the territory this nation received at its independence.
Abhorrently, recent suggestions by a member of the current government about giving away some of Guyana’s territory, is anti-nationalist and anti-patriotic. To be clear, the constitution of Guyana does not provide for ‘giving away’ any of Guyana’s territory, except by a national referendum. Therefore, no President, vice president or cabinet minister has any constitutional authority to ‘negotiate away’ any of Guyana’s territory.
Secondly, at the international level, defense diplomacy requires continuous diplomatic interactions by Guyana’s diplomats and special envoys across regional and global capitals and international institutions. The success of this type of action manifests in strong international condemnation and possible intervention by friendly states on Guyana’s behalf, which acts as a counterweight against Venezuela. In short, such actions would give an aggressor ‘cause to pause.’ The government of Guyana should immediately consider this type of diplomatic action, instead of its current convoluted approach.
Thirdly, underpinned by Article 33 of Guyana’s constitution, arose the concept of total national defense. This is where the total national material and human resources are organized and deployed to achieve total national defense in defense of the country’s territorial integrity against external aggression. This article commands every citizen to defend Guyana. The government is advised to let the citizens know that defending Guyana’s territorial integrity is the duty of all citizens and not exclusively that of the Guyana Defence Force.
In this context, the government is further advised to tap into, and harness all the human resources available in this country in the defense of Guyana. The unity approach in defense of Guyana does not end with the Parliamentary speeches, as is the case. It continues until the nation state of Guyana is returned to territorial safety. Finally, defense diplomacy by itself is insufficient. The government of Guyana must provide the Guyana Defence Force with adequate and operable defense assets so it can effectively defend the nation state.