Kamina Johnson Smith
By Lorraine Mendez
Jamaica has expressed support for Guyana, following Friday's ruling by the International Court of Justice in the dispute between the CARICOM territory and neighbouring Venezuela.
Venezuela has indicated that it will hold a referendum on Sunday, December 3 on its claims over Guyana's Essequibo county.
But the World Court on Friday ruled that Venezuela should refrain from any action which would seize, acquire or encroach upon, or assert or exercise sovereignty over the Essequibo region or any other part of Guyana's national territory.
It also ruled that both parties should refrain from any action that aggravates the current situation.
Speaking in the Senate on Friday morning, Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith noted that though the court did not explicitly mention the planned referendum, it ruled that Venezuela should refrain from taking any action which would modify the situation that currently exists.
The ruling, she said, would have direct implications for the planned holding of a referendum by Venezuela on December 3.
"The order is also made pending the court's final determination of the validity of the arbitral award that established the land boundary between the two states and in this regard it is Jamaica's hope, as we have expressed on previous occasions, that Venezuela will participate meaningfully in that adjudication process," said Johnson Smith.
She added that Guyana can continue to count on Jamaica's support as it defends its sovereign rights and territorial integrity.