Issues on which Guyana cannot support US

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A few things are on my mind as I write this letter but I will limit it to two issues. First, the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Every Guyanese should welcome this visit. Although some of us may not be supporters of the current US Administration, we must remind ourselves that the Guyanese and American people enjoy longstanding, very good relations based on shared values and that Pompeo is not coming in a personal capacity, but as a representative of the government elected by the American people. 

What should concern us is the agenda for the meeting. I see some individuals and organizations expressing concern about what Guyana might be asked to do vis a vis Venezuela, which still claims five eights of Guyana as well as significant areas of our maritime space while still occupying all of Ankoko, half of which belongs to Guyana. I would not support Guyana being used as a launching pad for military action against Venezuela. I would however support Guyana’s spectrum being used to broadcast to the Venezuelan people, on certain conditions. One of these conditions would be that these broadcasts include content that urges the Venezuelan people to reject their Government’s claims, now and in the future, to Guyana’s landmass and maritime space and to share historical information about the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award in formats that the Venezuelan man in the street could understand.

Another condition would be the signing of an agreement that the United States would militarily support Guyana now, and in the future, should Venezuela ever attempt to invade Guyana.

I am also reliably informed that the US may seek Guyana’s support for its (the US’) current position on the International Criminal Court (ICC) of which the US is not a member. Guyana must politely indicate that such support would not be forthcoming. Guyana must commit to strengthening relations with the US with the clear indication that there will be certain issues on which it cannot support the US…those issues currently are the US position on the ICC, on Climate Change, on Cuba, on Palestine. As far as I am aware, Guyana maintains diplomatic relations with Israel while maintaining its position that Palestinians are entitled to an independent homeland.

The next issue on my mind is the gruesome murders of the Henry cousins and Haresh Singh. There needs to be an immediate Commission of Inquiry (COI)  into these murders as well as the senseless violence which followed. International assistance with the police investigations into the murders must be swift and must include international forensic experts. These should be put in place this week. I urge persons and organizations to desist from so confidently expressing knowledge of how and why these murders took place, and await the final reports of investigations and a COI.

Yours faithfully,

Wesley Kirton

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It is estimated that over one million Guyanese, when counting their dependents, live outside of Guyana.  This exceeds the population of Guyana, which is now about 750,000.  Many left early in the 50’s and 60’s while others went with the next wave in the 70’s and 80’s.  The latest wave left over the last 20 years. This outflow of Guyanese, therefore, covers some three generations. This outflow still continues today, where over 80 % of U.G. graduates now leave after graduating.  We hope this changes, and soon.

Guyanese, like most others, try to keep their culture and pass it on to their children and grandchildren.  The problem has been that many Guyanese have not looked back, or if they did it was only fleetingly.  This means that the younger generations and those who left at an early age know very little about Guyana since many have not visited the country.  Also, if they do get information about Guyana, it is usually negative and thus the cycle of non-interest is cultivated.

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