By Caribbean News Global contributor
BELMOPAN, Belize – The government of Belize has registered serious concern regarding official reports of 12 Guyanese nationals and their vessels, the “Lady Nayera” and the “Sea Wolf,” which were intercepted by the Venezuelan Navy the “Comandante Hugo Chavez GC 24” in Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone and subsequently detained at Port Guiria, Venezuela on Thursday, January 21, 2021; called on the government of Venezuela to respect international law.
Eamon Courtenay, minister of foreign affairs, foreign trade and immigration, met with the Venezuelan ambassador to Belize, H.E. Gerardo Argote, at the ministry of foreign affairs on January 24, 2021, for an explanation of his government’s action.
Minister Courtenay 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.
Belize reiterates its unequivocal support for Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and the process underway before the International Court of Justice to finally and peacefully resolve the controversy between the two countries.
Minister Courtenay has remained in close contact with his colleague Hugh Todd, foreign minister of Guyana. On January 25, 2021, minister Todd called in the Chargé d’ Affaires of the embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Moses Chavez to transfer a protest note from the ministry of foreign affairs of Guyana to the ministry of foreign affairs of Venezuela.
The note condemned the illegal detention of the captains and crews of the Guyanese registered fishing vessels, the Lady Nayera and the Sea Wolf and called for their immediate release noting that “the action coming out of Caracas is distasteful,” and that “based on latitude and longitude, the two vessels were well within Guyana’s territory.”
The foreign minister highlighted the regional zone of peace and called for Venezuela a to operate in a manner consistent with international rule of law.