Prime minister Dr Keith Rowley during yesterday’s post cabinet.

Renuka Singh

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has that as chairman of Caricom, he is keeping a close eye on the border battle building between Venezuela and Guyana.

According to international reports and the Prime Minister, Venezuela has seized two Guyanese shipping vessels in disputed waters.

The Venezuelan officials took the detained Guyanese to Guiria in Venezuela.

“T&T official at all levels have been persuading Venezuela to release these people and so far they have not been released,” he during yesterday’s post-Cabinet news briefing.

Rowley said he believes that the situation would “abate” in the not too distant future but if it does not, it would be an unpleasant development.

“The arrest of these fishermen have to do with boundaries drawn on maps and complaints about who is claiming what,” he said.

Rowley said that T&T borders that disputed area as well.

“The way they are interpreting their borders have created certain occlusions,” Rowley said.

He described the situation as “active”.

The Prime Minister said the dispute is not just a T&T issue but a Caricom one as well.

“Caricom has always been engaged in Guyana’s sovereign territory,” he said.

“We have issued on behalf of Caricom certain cautionary encouragements to the interested parties,” he said.

Rowley said that Caricom communicated its view of multilateralsim as opposed to unilateralism.

Rowley said that the Minister of Foreign Affairs has been in contact with his Venezuelan counterpart on this matter as well.

However, in a media communique yesterday, Venezuela rejected outright the assertion by Caricom that it detained two Guyanese ships.

In the release from the Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, Venezuela “rejects the unfounded accusations by” Caricom.

He said that Venezuela took the position of “peaceful vocation and solidarity”.

Venezuela said the the Caricom position contributes to an “ominous climate of hostility” and accused Caricom of supporting the interests of US transnational companies to take control of undelimited territory”.

The Prime Minister said the representative of former interim Venezuelan president Juan Guido, at the Organisation of American States (OAS) is in agreement with Venezuela in this matter.