Senior Multimedia Reporter
As tensions escalate between Venezuela and Guyana over the Essequibo border dispute, Princes Town MP Barry Padarath has called on the Government to intervene as a mediator and develop a comprehensive national strategy to address the looming threat of war.
Speaking to Guardian Media on Saturday night, Padarath highlighted the need for T&T to prepare in the event of war.
He underscored Venezuela’s disregard for the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which unequivocally directed Venezuela last Friday to refrain from any actions challenging Guyana’s established control over the Essequibo region.
“The proximity of Venezuela as our nearest neighbour, merely seven miles across the water, makes this deeply concerning for T&T,” Padarath said.
He pointed to Venezuela’s referendum yesterday, despite the ICJ ruling, as an indication that active consideration for war is underway.
“In light of the possibility of war, there should be national planning and national policy. We see the economic and political situation in Venezuela and the influx of migrants and refugees who are coming here. We saw thousands of migrants in the past year or two. There should be some clear policy on how we treat border protection,” Padarath explained.
He noted: “The past influx of migrants underscores the urgency for a clear border protection policy.”
Padarath also pressed the Government to articulate strategies to mitigate potential food shortages and ensure national security in the face of impending conflict.
He criticised Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s silence on the matter, admonishing the absence of reassurance for citizens regarding the Government’s contingency plans should a war erupt.
“It’s unacceptable for the Government to remain silent in the face of this imminent threat. Preparation for any eventuality is imperative, considering the genuine possibility of war,” Padarath said.
Advocating a two-pronged approach, Padarath stressed the need for T&T to offer mediation services to convene discussions between the disputing parties, while concurrently devising a comprehensive strategic plan encompassing national security, food security, and border protection.
Expressing solidarity with Caricom’s position, Padarath urged T&T to stand in unity with Guyana and advocate for peaceful, diplomatic negotiations with Venezuela.