We will defend our territorial integrity at all costs – President Granger

first_img…as Guyana celebrates 48th Republic AnniversaryIn the face of increasing security and sovereignty concerns as a result of threats from neighbouring Venezuela, President David Granger has reaffirmed our resolve to defend Guyana’s territorial integrity, which has been under threat since before the country obtained Republic status.In his message to the nation on the country’s 48th Republic Day anniversary, the Head of State said that Guyana severed vestigial constitutional bonds with Britain, becoming a fully sovereign state which was no longer subjected to external authority when it gained republican status.“The Republic vested sovereignty in our people. It charged Guyanese with exercising this sovereignty by assuming responsibility for defending their motherland and developing the economy,” he said.President Granger noted that while efforts to defend the homeland have not been in vain, Guyanese have been living under the shadow of threats to its territory since Independence in 1966.However, he posited that the country would now move closer towards a juridical settlement of the territorial controversy following the decision of the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres in January to use the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as the means to resolve the decades-old controversy.“We Guyanese intend to pursue our case before the ICJ in coming months with the same determination as we rejected the unwarranted claim to our territory in past years. We are confident that our cause is just and our case is sound. We are committed to defending our motherland,” the Head of State assured citizens.Citing Guyana’s Constitution, which states “The State’s defence and security policy shall be to defend national independence, preserve the country’s sovereignty and integrity, and guarantee the normal functioning of institutions and the security of citizens against any armed aggression”, the President posited that citizens’ safety was the State’s paramount objective.He said the people of the country must be safe in their homes, villages and places of work while their property must be protected against crime. On this note, he outlined that his Administration was enhancing the delivery of services to the most distant communities, both on the coastland and in the hinterland, in good times and bad.“Guyana’s Government is augmenting its resources to render assistance to regional administrations and villages in times of flood, drought, threats to public order and other emergencies,” he stated.The Head of State also went on to recognise external support, saying that Guyana looked forward to the intensification of cooperation with friendly foreign States, especially in building capacity for the Guyana Defence Force’s technical corps to improve the national infrastructure in every part of the country, to defend its territorial integrity, to protect citizens, and to respond to emergencies.“International cooperation is essential to preserving this continent as a zone of peace; to preventing and interdicting transnational threats such as drug, gun and human trafficking; the spread of contagious diseases, terrorism and to mitigating the adverse effects of climate change and natural hazards,” he asserted.Moreover, President Granger said Guyana’s green grandeur – its grasslands, highlands, islands, wetlands, lakes, coastal mudflats, rainforests, rivers, and waterfalls – must be protected.“We Guyanese, in the exercise of our sovereignty, are defending the Republic. We are protecting our patrimony. We are ensuring that future generations will be able to inherit this beautiful country, to live in peace and to enjoy the good life and prosperity which this bountiful country has to offer,” he declared.The Head of State concluded by saying Guyanese were proud of the country, as he extended greetings on the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the Republic. “Happy Republic Day! Happy Mashramani! May God bless the Republic!”last_img