‘Venezuela’s referendum can compromise Court proceedings’- Attorney General tells Extraordinary Parliamentary sitting

International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Consequently, he called on fellow lawmakers, Guyanese and the international community to denounce this referendum.

“Anyone familiar with the curial process would know that a party in a litigation has a right to seek appropriate legal remedies, interlocutorily, if the other party in the litigation is taking steps that can defeat, compromise or render negatory, the legal proceedings itself and/or its final outcome.

“Guyana is of the considered view, that the impending referendum slated for the 3rd of December, 2023 is intended to and will compromise the legal proceedings pending at the International Court of Justice, if not subvert the legal process altogether and prejudice its outcome,” Nandlall, who is also the Minister of Legal Affairs, said.

What Guyana is ultimately seeking from the ICJ is affirmation that the 1899 Arbitral Award which established the boundary between itself and Venezuela is valid. Guyana believes that an ICJ ruling will be final and binding, settling the decades-long controversy once and for all.

It is for this reason Guyana rejects the referendum and is asking the ICJ to block it.

Through this referendum, Venezuela’s government will seek the support of citizens in continuation of its claim of Guyana’s Essequibo region. There are fears that at least one question in that referendum seeks the support of Venezuelans for the annexation of two-thirds of Guyana’s territory; and some believe the Spanish-speaking country may use force to do so.

So Guyana has approached the ICJ, seeking an injunction to prevent Venezuela from taking action through its provocative referendum over Guyana’s territory – Essequibo. There will be a hearing on November 14.

The Extraordinary Parliamentary sitting was convened as a means of also denouncing that referendum and reaffirming that the ICJ is the only avenue for a final settlement of the border controversy after other avenues, including decades of bilateral talks, failed.