“ICJ will determine legality of Venezuela’s claims” – Min. Greenidge

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, on Tuesday, April 10, met with media operatives to brief them on the case filed by himself and lawyers, at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), representing the people and government of Guyana.

According to Minister Greenidge, the case is seeking to bring a resolution to the more than 50-year-old Guyana/Venezuela controversy following the failure of the United Nations Good Officer process.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge.

During his briefing, Minister Greenidge said the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is being called upon to determine the legality of Venezuela’s claims to Guyana’s territory.

“We came to the point where we said – can we now go to a situation in which somebody looks at Venezuela’s claim and says yes or no. The claim is right; the claim is wrong, the claim is nonsense, the claim is justified. At the end of that process, decisions will be made, is the 1899 agreement null and void and that is the decision that is what we always wanted.”

Additionally, Minister Greenridge noted that the controversy has its origins in an agreement signed between Guyana and Venezuela with the help of Britain in the quest for this nation’s independence.

“That agreement left us in a situation where the Venezuelans were able to dance, if you like, between the raindrops for over 51 years and avoid a resolution of the matter; that is the heart of the matter.  So, having signed that agreement, whatever the agreement says certainly made no mention of the Essequibo, makes no mention of the transfer of land, it makes no mention of Venezuelans rights within the borders identified in the 1899.”

Further, the Foreign Affairs Minister said the referral of the matter to the ICJ represents many firsts and encouraged citizens to be patient and not to jeopardise the country’s opportunity for a final and lasting settlement of the controversial issue.

“So, what I’m asking you to bear in mind is just that for this reason. Now that the SG [Secretary-General] has taken the decision which he has tried to avoid for such a long time. It is up to us as a people and as a public to ensure that we don’t do anything to derail this process.”

Minister Greenidge said it is possible that the proceedings of the court could be finalised within two years or be protracted for as long as six years. This time frame, he said, will ultimately determine the final costs for legal representation to the government and people of Guyana.

Following the expiration of the United Nation’s Good Officer Process, Guyana was given the go-ahead to file its case with the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This has so far been done and the country is awaiting the commencement of hearings at the ICJ.

 

By: Kidackie Amsterdam

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