Social activist David Comissiong has sounded a warning to Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean, amid the ongoing Venezuela/Guyana territorial dispute.
He is firmly of the view that outside powers are seeking to drive a wedge between these South American neighbours.
Comissiong Thursday night named the United States as one of the divisive powers during his presentation during a panel discussion marking the launch of the Caribbean Chapter of the of the think-tank group, ‘Network in Defence of Humanity’.
Among those in attendance were Cuban Ambassador Francisco Pena; Venezuelan Ambassador Jose Febres, Opposition Member of Parliament Trevor Prescod and political scientist George Belle.
Caracas has recently revived its claim to over two-thirds of Guyana’s western territory, but Georgetown has rejected the claim, pointing to an 1899 settlement of borders as the final decision.
With the matter now being addressed by the United Nations, Comissiong has charged that foreign powers are seeking to destabilize Venezuela, which he said has been a leader in regional development efforts that are beneficial to the Caribbean.
“Whenever a force emerges in our region that is really threatening the interests of the imperialist powers, and it is promising to take us forward, it is always attacked and isolated,” Comissiong said, warning, “we need to learn from history.
“We’ve seen it played out time and time again.”
He said that one way of destroying such developmental forces, whether it was an organisation or government, was to have them isolated by outside powers using strategies of divide and rule.
“On that note I want to say we must be very careful with this Guyana/Venezuela border dispute.
“We must not permit powerful countries that do not mean us well to use that legitimate difference of opinion between two sister territories, as a wedge to further the division, as an instrument to foster contention and confusion in our region, and as a weapon to destroy perhaps the most progressive regime that has the potential to help us all go forward.”
Describing the launch of the Caribbean chapter of the think tank as an important occasion in his life, veteran regional activist, Bobby Clarke said it marks, “the refreshing of an era that might start to make the Caribbean understand the importance of being the Caribbean.
“We are a scattered set of little islands without leadership, ideas, dreams and our generations before us have suffered all of those years.”
UWI Lecturer Dr Tennyson Joseph said that the Caribbean Chapter of the ‘Network in Defence of Humanity’ was in answer to the feeling of disconnection among regional people.
“In all of our years of having a so-called Caribbean integration movement we do not have any grassroots movement that is specifically existing for the purpose of integrating our region.
“Which is why, unless we do what we are doing tonight, the thing will always be a discussion of technocrats, heads of
government, but with no connection to the people.”