Committee of Supply approves $788,049,000 supplementary for ICJ case
DPI, GUYANA, Friday, May 11, 2018
The sum of $788, 049, 000 in supplementary funds was today approved in the Committee of Supply of the National Assembly to meet the estimated cost in 2018 of presenting the Guyana/Venezuela controversy at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) including payment for legal fees.
The supplementary was filed under the agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs- Development of Foreign Policy.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge explained to the House that the money will be used to offset legal fees and other expenses that will be incurred within this financial year.
The minister said at present there is a core team of lawyers, but as the case progresses the inclusion of other consultants or firms may be required to handle specific challenges or aspects of the case at various stages.
Minister Greenidge did not rule out the possibility of the cost being more or less since the current figure represents an estimation.
“The ministry anticipates and we have to anticipate because lawyers are paid on a time basis essentially. At this point in time we anticipate the demand on the lawyers’ time should not cost more than the figure shown,” the minister told the House.
In response to questions posed by Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, Minister Greenidge said the $18M US signing bonus received from ExxonMobil will not be transferred into the Consolidated Fund in its entirety.
He clarified that this is owing to the fact that the financial requirements of the ICJ case will take place over a number of financial years.
Minister Greenidge made it clear to the Opposition that government is not required, at this stage, to argue about the source of the finances, but in accordance with the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act, is required to bring the request for approval of the supplementary to the House.
He assured that when the time arises, the government will return to the House to seek approval for additional sums to offset expenses associated with the ICJ case.
Questioned if the Government anticipates that the Consolidated Fund will run out of funds or foreign currency before the end of 2018, the Foreign Affairs Minister answered in the negative.
As the Opposition Leader sought to raise arguments in relation to the Signing Bonus, Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan rising on a point of order, asked that the House refrains from addressing matters related to the Signing Bonus since the matter is currently before the Chief Justice.
By: Stacy Carmichael.