Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has made it clear that a current border dispute between Venezuela and Guyana will not affect Dominica’s relationship with Venezuela.
On July 6, 2015, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he was calling in the country’s ambassador in Guyana for consultations in the midst of an escalating row over oil exploration in a disputed offshore territory.
In June, OPEC nations demanded that Guyana stop the progress of exploration which was being carried out by Exxon Mobil Corp off the coast of the region known as the Essequibo, weeks after Exxon said it had found oil.
Decree 1787 was issued by Maduro last month and a map was also produced which indicates that Venezuela is now claiming all the territorial waters within the 200 miles range and blocking Guyana’s access to territorial waters and resources in the area of the Atlantic Ocean and the Essequibo region.
Last week CARICOM Heads of Government called upon the Government of Venezuela, “in the spirit of friendship and cooperation, to withdraw those elements of Decree 1787 insofar as they apply to the territory and maritime space of CARICOM States.”
“So now there is some disagreement between Venezuela and Guyana, I do not believe that is a basis for us to cause any fracture to the relationship,” Skerrit said while addressing the closing ceremony of activities to mark the 10th anniversary celebration of the PetroCaribe agreement on Friday.
He continued, “As the Ambassador (Venezuelan) says that we can find and we will find, solutions through dialogue, through diplomatic discourse and I believe that we will find a way through that medium to seek to address the present misunderstanding between Venezuela and Guyana”.
He said that that difficulty notwithstanding, the relationship has not changed.
“The economic and social arrangement between Venezuela and Guyana still remain intact. Venezuela still continues to buy rice from Guyana, Guyana still continues to buy petroleum products from Venezuela,” he explained.
He added, “I believe it’s testimony to the leadership of the two countries, to the leadership of President Maduro to recognize that let us continue dialogue and find a permanent solution to this problem…”
The Prime Minister reaffirmed Dominica’s gratitude for the “love and friendship” which was extended by the late Hugo Chavez and has continued under the leadership of President Maduro.