The Essequibo issue is expected to be discussed during the 46th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) in Georgetown, which is scheduled for February 25–28, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Amery Browne.
This coincides with news from around the world indicating that Venezuela is stepping up border military activities.
- Advertisement -
Browne added that T&T is one of Caricom’s continuing diplomatic initiatives in a recent statement to a media house.
“(The actions) remain geared toward the avoidance of any increase in tensions regarding the Essequibo region of Guyana. Much of these actions occur behind the scenes which is where a significant portion of diplomacy and dialogue normally occurs. Caricom Heads will be engaging further on this matter in the last week of February during the 46th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in Georgetown,” Browne stated.
The Venezuelan military facility on Ankoko Island looks to be expanding, according to satellite images obtained between October 2023 and January by the Washington, DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). As part of an arbitration ruling from 1899, the island was given to Guyana; however, Venezuela reclaimed it in 1966 and it is still under their jurisdiction.
According to the CSIS, on January 13th Maxar satellite imagery of the region also revealed the clearing of a new area north of the facility, building equipment, armored personnel carriers, and a large river ferry, “likely where Venezuelan military engineers intend to build a Mabey Compact 200 bridge to the island.”
Additionally, it stated that recordings from Venezuelan stations showed its military exercising on the island concurrently with the two nations’ foreign ministers meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, on January 25 to discuss peace. The US-based organization’s announcement was made just two days after US oil giant ExxonMobil declared that it intended to search for gas and oil in the seas surrounding the disputed region.
Venezuela has long claimed territorial claims to the Essequibo area, which is now in Guyana. Tensions increased in December 2023 when President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela offered his people an optional vote to acquire the province.
Venezuela claims that the people overwhelmingly backed the referendum.
The Argyle Accord was signed on December 14 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines during a meeting called by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who was leading the Community of States of Latin America and the Caribbean, amidst the escalating war tensions in the region. Maduro and President Irfaan Ali of Guyana (CELAC). With this agreement, the parties agreed not to escalate the situation further until an international arbiter could resolve it.