British ship reaches Guyana amid Venezuela-Guyana dispute

A British warship arrived on the coast of Guyana on the afternoon of Friday, 29 December amid tensions between Venezuela and Guyana.

British ship arrives in Guyana. Image Credit: Facebook, Guyana Chronicle
British ship arrives in Guyana. Image Credit: Facebook, Guyana Chronicle

Caribbean: While the tensions between Venezuela and Guyana are getting higher over the territorial dispute for the Essequibo region, a British military ship arrived on the coast of Guyana on the afternoon of Friday, 29 December.

The visit of a Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel, HMS Trent, made Venezuela start their military exercise one day before near its eastern Caribbean border shared with Guyana. The military exercise was intended to show off their military power to the small nation in the neighbourhood.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of Brazil expressed concern over the situation and urged the two nations to return to dialogue.

Ministry said other nations around the world should also not participate in military activities to support any of the sides.

The statement given by Brazil on Guyana and Venezuela says to stay with the Argyle declaration, which was an agreement signed by both nations earlier this month.

While signing the agreement, both leaders mutually decided that they would solve this border conflict between them with a nonviolent approach and talks.

The disputed region of Essequibo is a less populated area which is rich in oil and minerals. Venezuela always claimed the region and said it was craved out of the nation by colonisers.

On the issue, the defence ministry of the UK said that the ship went to Guyana to conduct training exercises with the military of Guyana and to keep the engagements in the region.

The ship was welcomed by the ambassador of Britain to Guyana with Omar Khan, the chief of staff of the Defence Force of Guyana. The formal lunch was organised, and a tour of the capabilities of the ship was given to the officials. The warship is used to track pirates and smugglers.

The ship participated recently in joint exercises with the navel force of several West African nations. It is equipped with cannons with a helipad for helicopters and drones. The ship can carry around 50 marines.

In a statement given on Thursday, Irfaan Ali, the President of Guyana, said that Venezuela had nothing to fear from the activities of ships in the waters.

President Ali said, “Guyana has been involved in partnerships with regional and international states focused on enhancing internal security. These partnerships pose a threat to no one and are in no way intended to be aggressive.”

Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela, also released a statement in which he said that Guyana is betraying the spirit of the Argyle Declaration by such kind of provoking actions.

Guyana has been controlling the region of Essequibo for decades. However, Venezuela claimed the region again through a referendum in which voters were asked if the territory should be turned into a Venezuelan state.

People against President Maduro said, “The socialist leader has reignited the border dispute to draw attention from the internal problems of the nation as Venezuela prepares for a presidential election next year.”

Venezuela, like always said, “We became the victim of a conspiracy in 1899 when Guyana was a British colony and arbitrators from Britain, Russia, and the USA decided the boundary.”

Officials of Venezuela also said, “An agreement between Venezuela, Britain and the then colony of British Guiana signed in 1966 to resolve the dispute effectively nullified the original arbitration.”