Although it is not official, Pompeo is expected to discuss with President Irfaan Ali the issue of Guayana Esequiba and the dispute with Venezuela.
On Thursday, September 17, the US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, will initiate an official two-day visit to Guyana that the president of the South American territory, Irfaan Ali, has described as “extremely important” given the vital moment that he is going through the development of the country.
An advance group of US and security officials is already in Georgetown to prepare for the visit, which will be followed by a trip to neighboring Suriname, another member of the Caribbean Community (Caricom).
“This trip will highlight the United States‘ commitment to uphold democracy, combat COVID-19 while revitalizing our economies after the pandemic and strengthening security against regional threats,” the US State Department said in a statement.
In Guyana, the US Secretary of State plans to congratulate the newly elected president, Irfaan Ali, and his cabinet, in addition to meeting with the Secretary General of Caricom, Irwin LaRocque.
Pompeo’s visit to Guyana is intended to reinforce America’s promise of a values-based partnership that seeks the most responsible and transparent private sector investment opportunities to increase the prosperity of the people of Guyana.
Granger’s critical pompeo
Pompeo has been critical of the Administration of the former President of Guyana, David Granger, after the March 2 elections and the consequent slowdown in the announcement of official results due to endless legal claims.
The US even threatened to impose sanctions on Guyana if the recount figures, which were signed by Caricom observers, were not taken as good.
Granger had also rejected a request from the United States in April to facilitate the radio transmissions of Voice of America (VOA), the international radio and television service of the United States Government, from that country to neighboring Venezuela.
“I think his visit is at a key moment, especially when as a country we are exploring various initiatives to access low-interest capital,” Ali stressed.
“We also have a transformative agenda that we want everyone to get involved in,” he said, noting that the US is a key partner in Guyana’s development.
Climate change on the agenda
A statement from the Government of Guyana underlines that some of the areas of interest that are expected to be discussed include climate change, private sector collaboration, biodiversity and the strengthening of democracy, as well as security and the fight against trafficking of drugs
Opposition leader Joseph Harmon has already indicated that he will file a question in the National Assembly on the details of Pompeo’s visit.
The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) has been urging the government of Irfaan Ali to make public, well in advance of the visit, what are the non-negotiable elements with respect to Venezuela in relation to the border dispute over the region of the Essequibo region to be discussed during Pompeo’s visit.
The disputed territory between the two countries, called Guayana Esequiba in Venezuela and divided into several regions in the Republic of Guyana, covers almost 160,000 square kilometers west of the Essequibo River, representing almost two-thirds of the former British colony.
In this area, the ExxonMobil company has found large oil fields thanks to which Guyana expected to produce about 120,000 barrels of oil per day in 2020, a figure that, according to various estimates, could reach an arc of between 700,000 and one million barrels per day at mid-decade.