The meeting with the Foreign Minister took place at his Takuba Lodge office during which they discussed the recent actions of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Guyana-Venezuela Border Controversy.
The shadow minister was updated on the detainment of the crew and vessels and the Government’s efforts to ensure their safe return. She said she was “alarmed at Venezuela’s detention of Guyanese fisherfolk operating within Guyana’s Enterprise Economic Zone (EEZ) and Venezuela’s apparent control of the narrative surrounding this issue.”
Ms Walton Desir said her decision to seek a meeting with Foreign Minister Todd, arose “after what seemed to be a tepid response and a lack of transparent action. I felt it necessary to obtain direct answers from the Minister on what was being done to reunite the detained fisherfolk with their families in the shortest possible time.”
“At today’s meeting, Minister Todd outlined the actions that the Government had taken to date which included protest notes to several international organizations and direct engagement with his counterpart Minister in Venezuela. He also restated that his Ministry is in direct contact with the affected families as we await what must be a diplomatic solution to the issue.
The shadow minister also “expressed concern about the CORMAC Group, a lobbying firm retained by the Government, speaking on this issue, purportedly on behalf of the people of Guyana. I expressed the view that in relation to issues which touch and concern our sovereignty and territorial integrity, it is far more appropriate that these matters be dealt with by our foreign service personnel rather than a lobbying group with no permanent friends nor interests.”
“Reiterating the APNU/AFC’s stated commitment to bi-partisanship on this grave international threat, I advised Minister Todd, that the PPP/C Administration’s continued persecution of Afro-Guyanese is eroding the national unity needed for Guyana to successfully confront Venezuela's aggression,” Ms Walton Desir said.
“Importantly, I underscored the need for the Administration to embark on a public education campaign so that every Guyanese man, woman and child can understand and properly articulate Guyana’s position as it relates to Venezuela’s preposterous claims,” she pointed out.
The captains and crew members of the vessels named Sea Wolf and Lady Nayera are reportedly in contact with the owners in Guyana. The Sea Wolf, is owned by Kenneth “Scar Face” Garraway and captained by his cousin Toney Garraway, with the crew members being Randy Henry, Sherwin Henry, Sherwin O’Neil, Orland Roberts, Christopher Shaw and Errol Gardener. Most of them are from the Essequibo Coast.
The Lady Nayera is owned by Kumar Lallbachan and captained by Richard Ramnarine, with the crew members Nick Raghubar, Joel Joseph, Ramlakhan Kawall and Michael Domingo.
The interception comes less than one month after President Nicolas Maduro unilaterally decreed the extension of his country’s maritime boundary to take in all of Guyana’s sea space up to western bank of the Essequibo River.
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