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The opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has called on the Saint Lucia government to state its position on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy clearly.
The opposition call came Wednesday amid rising tensions between the two neighbouring countries.
Venezuela claims Guyana’s resource-rich Essequibo region, comprising more than two-thirds of its neighbour’s territory.
Guyana’s President, Dr. Iraan Ali, has announced that his country’s army is on full alert.
The announcement was in response to remarks by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.
On Tuesday, the Venezuela leader said he would authorise oil exploration in the disputed Essequibo region.
Maduro also said he had proposed a law to the government-controlled legislature to create a new state.
He spoke after Venezuelans voted by a wide margin on Sunday to approve the takeover of the disputed territory.
Saint Lucia’s opposition UWP referred to the situation as a ‘deeply concerning turn of events’.
A statement from the party’s Public Relations Officer, Lenard ‘Spider’ Montoute, said Venezuela’s threats of invasion had raised security alarms in the Caribbean.
The statement described the Caribbean as a well-established zone of peace and political stability.
“The blatant violation of Guyana’s territorial integrity is a direct affront to the principles of international law and poses a serious threat to stability in the region,” the UWP statement noted.
The release said the UWP was concerned about the security risk and what escalating the situation would pose for the region and Saint Lucia.
Saint Lucia is home to a significant Guyanese population, many of whom are descendants of Saint Lucians who took up residence in Guyana years ago.
The UWP urged the Saint Lucia government to state its position on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy and provide clarity and comfort to the people of Saint Lucia and the many individuals from Guyana who reside here or are now citizens.
Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre has, in the past, emphasised the need for a peaceful dispute resolution.
Pierre officially visited Venezuela in October this year to strengthen longstanding diplomatic ties.
He has said that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), of which Saint Lucia and Guyana are members, reflects Saint Lucia’s position on the border dispute.
In its latest statement on the issue last week, CARICOM insisted that Venezuela comply with international law in all respects and the Charter of the United Nations.
CARICOM also called on Venezuela to take no actions in violation of them.