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The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) stands in solidarity with our Disciplined Services workers, who at this most tense moment in the nation’s history are on highest alert to protect this nation from external adversaries, most notably Venezuela. Today as Venezuelans vote to covet land and water that do not belong to them, and which may result in increasing intimidation, our thoughts and prayers are with our uniformed workers and their families.
Even as GTUC acknowledges the gravity of the situation, the Congress also takes this opportunity to remind the Government, Opposition, Disciplined Services workers and all Guyanese, of its recommendations, submitted to the PPP/C Government in 1998 on the border controversy. The GTUC in 1998 recommended: –
- The establishment of “a fixed body” comprising specially trained and qualified Foreign Service Officers and specialists in international law, languages, defense policy, hinterland development and other relevant disciplines to continually monitor and make recommendations on the status of Guyana’s frontiers.
- Collaboration between the departments of government and international affairs at the University of Guyana and state institutions responsible for the formulation and execution of frontiers policies.
- The development of modern and reliable communication links between frontier communities and the capital.
- Vocational training schemes for hinterland and frontier communities designed to equip residents for employment which may evolve from local or foreign investment.
- Sustained supervision of trans-frontier trade activities to ensure that these are conducted in a manner that is consistent with the national interest.
- The creation of a regime of special incentives to encourage local investments in hinterland communities and more particularly at frontier locations.
- The planning and execution of a sustained public information initiative to sensitise Guyanese residing in frontier to the territorial claims against Guyana.
- The formulation and execution of development plans designed to reduce the dependency on hinterland-based Guyanese on neighbouring states.
- The creation of a Youth Empowerment Scheme which creates incentives for young people to occupy the hinterland of Guyana with a view to the establishment of viable and sustainable hinterland communities.
- The cultivation of a culture of professionalism and excellence in the field of diplomacy in Guyana in order to properly refine Guyana’s most effective weapon in the defense of its territorial integrity- the diplomatic weapon.
- The rehabilitation of Guyana Archives on frontier issues, particularly those documents which relate to Guyana’s territorial integrity.
- Official recognition of the role of Guyana’s mining community and other communities engaged in economic activities in the frontier regions in the defence of Guyana’s territorial integrity.
- The formal introduction into the schools curriculum of courses of studies on Guyana’s frontiers and including studies on the territorial claims against Guyana.
- Government support for economic activities, particularly agricultural pursuits, undertaken in the hinterland of Guyana.
- Practical support for efforts by the First Peoples to maintain their heritages in a sustainable manner.
GTUC believes these recommendations are worthy of examination and were some or all implemented Guyana’s defense and Guyanese patriotism would have been deepened and strengthened. To this end GTUC calls for an examination of these recommendations and further advice that the time is now to get serious about the controversy and not leave sole determination and handling of this matter for the International Court of Justice, sporadic reactions and hodge-podge policies.