Support for Guyana following detention of fishing vessels, crew in Venezuela
Support has been flowing to Guyana following Venezuela’s detention last week of two Guyana-registered fishing vessels and crew. The vessels, the Lady Nayera and the Sea Wolf, and the crew members were detained since Thursday, 21 January, 2021 at Port Guiria in Venezuela.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Organisation of American States (OAS), Trinidad and Tobago, France, Belize and the United States are among institutions and countries which have signalled their support for Guyana’s territorial integrity.
Remarks by the Hon. Hugh Hilton Todd, MP., Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the National Assembly.
In a statement issued on 28 January, CARICOM said it was gravely concerned at the escalation of tensions between Guyana and Venezuela that was caused by the interception and detention in Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone of two Guyanese fishing vessels by a Venezuelan naval vessel.
“Recalling its statement of January 12, 2021 in which it had firmly repudiated any acts of aggression by Venezuela against Guyana, CARICOM urges the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana and to desist from aggressive acts that will seriously undermine the peace and security not only of Guyana and Venezuela but the entire Caribbean region.
The Caribbean Community calls for the immediate release of the crew members and vessels,” the CARICOM statement said.
Canada has joined in supporting Guyana in the call for the immediate release of two Guyanese vessels that were detained by the Maduro regime.
During a meeting on 27 January between Guyana’s Attorney-General, the Hon. Anil Nandalall and Non Resident Ambassador of the French Republic to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, His Excellency Antoine Joly, the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy was raised. The Department of Public Information (DPI) of Guyana reported that Ambassador Joly condemned the use of force by that country including their latest incursion into Guyana’s territorial waters and arrest and detention of two fishing vessels with Guyanese fisherman.
Ambassador Joly also recognised the support Guyana has received from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the global community, and commits to lend a voice to the same, the DPI said.
Non Resident Ambassador of the French Republic to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, His Excellency Antoine Joly today…
In a press release issued on 26 January 2021, the Government of Belize indicated its “serious concern regarding official reports of 12 Guyanese nationals and their vessels…” being intercepted by the Venezuelan Navy in “Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone…”
The release said that Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration, Hon. Eamon Courtenay, met with the Venezuelan Ambassador to Belize, His excellency Gerardo Argote, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 24 January 2021, for an explanation of his Government’s action.
Statement by Belize in Support of Guyana
Belmopan. January 26, 2021. 3:30 p.m.
The Government of Belize…
Minister Courtenay, the press release said, took the opportunity to “condemn this latest flagrant violation of Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Venezuela. Belize called for the immediate release of the illegally detained Guyanese nationals and their vessels and urged the Government of Venezuela to respect international law and ensure a peaceful resolution of this incident.”
The OAS condemned the “illegal detention” of the vessels and demanded the prompt release of the Guyanese nationals. In a statement on the matter released on 27 January, the international organisation also reiterated its support of the rules and processes of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding territorial conflicts.
The United States through its Acting Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Julie Chung, in a tweet echoed the OAS’ call for the release of the vessels and crew “without delay”.
The U. S. supports a peaceful resolution of the maritime boundary controversy between Venezuela and Guyana and condemns Maduro’s intimidation through the seizure of fishing vessels and detention of crew.
We echo the OAS Secretariat’s call for their release without delay.
— Julie Chung (@WHAAsstSecty) January 27, 2021
The Trinidad Guardian has reported that Trinidad and Tobago Foreign Minister Amery Browne expressed deep concern about the matter and called for an immediate and peaceful resolution. The media house also said that Minister Browne invited his counterpart from Venezuela to meet given Trinidad and Tobago’s chairmanship of CARICOM.
T&T brokers Venezuela-Guyana talks on detained crew https://t.co/tk4vmsAR58
— T&T Guardian (@GuardianTT) January 26, 2021
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Guyana, the Hon. Hugh Todd, on 25 January 2021, met virtually with his Venezuelan counterpart, His Excellency Jorge Arreaza, Minister of the People’s Power for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, to discuss modalities for the release of the Lady Nayera and the Sea Wolf and the crew members, detained since Thursday, January 21, 2021 at Port Guiria in Venezuela.
The DPI said the Foreign Ministers exchanged views within the context of the detention of the vessels and crew. The Venezuelan Foreign Minister assured that the crew members were being treated with utmost respect for their human rights. At the request of Foreign Minister Todd, Minister Arreaza undertook to pursue their early release. Both Foreign Ministers agreed to the importance of mutual respect in relations between the two countries.
The meeting was held after the Guyana Foreign Ministry transferred a protest note to the Venezuelan Embassy in Georgetown which said that the “the action coming out of Caracas is distasteful” and that based on latitude and longitude, the two vessels were well within Guyana’s territory.
Foreign Minister Todd highlighted the regional zone of peace and called for Venezuela to operate in a manner consistent with international rule of law. He reiterated Guyana’s commitment to the International Court of Justice as a means of bringing to a close the Guyana–Venezuela border controversy.