Guyana on Friday marked the 48th anniversary of Republicanism with President David Granger saying the country has lived under the shadow of threats to its territory since Independence in 1966.“Guyana moved closer towards a juridical settlement of the territorial controversy this year. The United Nations Secretary General in January indicated his choice of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as the means to resolve the controversy,” Granger said in a nationwide radio and television broadcast.Taking Venezuela border dispute to ICJHe said Guyana intends to pursue the border dispute with Venezuela 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.”He told citizens that the Guyana Constitution stipulates that: the State’s defense 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.State’s objective – citizens safety“Our citizens’ safety is the State’s paramount objective. Our people must be safe in their homes, villages and places of work. Their property, must be protected against crime,” he said.In his broadcast, Granger said that the independent state of Guyana assumed the title ‘Cooperative Republic’, 48 years ago when the country severed vestigial constitutional bonds with the United Kingdom.“Guyana became fully sovereign, no longer subject to external authority. 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.”Granger said the country is looking forward to the intensification of cooperation with friendly, foreign states, especially in building capacity for the Defense Force’s technical corps to improve the national infrastructure in every part of the country, to defend our territorial integrity, to protect our citizens and to respond to emergencies.International cooperation essential“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 said.