By Abena Rockcliffe
Guyana no longer has faith in the United Nations’ (UN) Good Officer Process as the means to bring an
end to the ongoing territorial controversy with neighbouring Venezuela. So said Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, yesterday. He said that Guyana is yet to reap real benefits from this line of action.
The Minister made these comments when he entertained a few questions from the media at the end of a signing ceremony.
Greenidge was stern in his decision not to reveal too much information as it relates to whether or not Guyana would reject a new Good Officer if one is to be appointed by the UN. However, he said that as far as the new government is concerned, judicial action is the next best step to be taken.
Still, the Minister made it clear that because of the 1966 Geneva agreement—which Guyana vows to stand by—the UN Secretary General (SG)Ban Ki-Moon is the one who has full authority to advise on the next step to be taken by both Guyana and Venezuela.
But, as he highlighted the options, Minister Greenidge said that other revenues under the Geneva agreement have already been exhausted.
Zeroing in on the Good Officer route, the Minister told reporters, “The Good Officer process has run its course; it can no longer take us anywhere constructive.”
This sort of response comes even as Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro sent a letter on Friday last to the U.N. Secretary General asking that a new Good Officer be appointed to diplomatically address the territorial issue.
Since the 1966 Geneva agreement, two persons have served as Good Officers. The post became vacant in
In his letter, Maduro said that he expects the person selected for the post to hold the same attributes as the previous ones, including great ethical attributes, deep academic specialization, and the ability to understand both the culture and the historical moment in the region is undergoing in order to positively contribute to the negotiation process between the two countries.
But Minister Greenidge told reporters yesterday that Venezuela has been using the Good Officer process as a cover to keep its illegal claim alive.
With that declaration made, Greenidge was asked whether, Guyana recognizing such, would still approve the appointment of a new Good Officer since such an appointment needs consensus; Greenidge declined to answer.
Even as he refrained from confirming Guyana’s possible rejection of a new Officer, Greenidge said, “We have indicated very clearly to the Secretary General that the Good Officer Process to which we have adhered faithfully does not seem to offer any prospect of moving forward.”
The Minister added that notwithstanding the fact that the UN Secretary General has the last say in this regard, Guyana believes that key to putting an end to the border controversy lies with judicial action.
Any judicial solution on this matter, Greenidge noted, will have to be addressed in the International Court of Justice.
“I don’t know what else you can do in terms of mediation when you think in terms of what has been happening over the years. The only option that is left would be for a judicial resolution of this matter,” said the Minister.
While it is the UN Chief who has to determine whether the controversy should be sent to the ICJ, Greenidge said that unlike what is needed for the appointment of a new Good Officer, there is no need for consensus by Guyana and Venezuela for court action.
“The Secretary General may opt for judicial action whether or not he depends on both parties will depend on what exactly the question is he puts to the court,” he said.
Guyana, he said, has decided to take up an offer by Ban Ki-Moon to send an emissary on a fact-finding mission to this country and Venezuela, in the wake of the renewed border row.
In Greenidge’s first address to the National Assembly as Foreign Minister he said, “For 49 years we have lived in the shadow of Venezuela’s illegal claim and its attempts to despoil our country. The sword of Damocles, for the most part unseen, hangs over our heads.
Unless removed, it will be the legacy that will be inherited by our children. It is time to end this cycle. A definitive solution has to be found that will put to rest Venezuela’s contention of nullity.”
“Clearly, we all underestimated Venezuela’s appetite for territory,” said Greenidge.
The Minister told the House that efforts at getting Venezuela to do the logical and reasonable thing, namely, sitting down to discuss the issue of maritime delimitation have to date proved futile.
Greenidge said that for more than 25 years, “the Good Offices Process, as one of the chosen means of peaceful settlement, has been in operation. Unhappily, it has signally failed to resolve the issue.”
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro on May 27, 2015 issued a decree, extending Venezuela’s claim to Guyana’s territorial waters. A map which was issued, accompanying the decree, shows that the claim includes the area where the US giant oil company, ExxonMobil is currently drilling for oil.
Greenidge had said that the decree has given notice that Venezuela intends to continue increasing the pressure on Guyana and to weaken this country’s resistance to Venezuela’s illegal claim. “We will not waiver in our resistance,” he said.
The 15-nation Caribbean Community (Caricom) has criticized Venezuela’s actions; so has the Commonwealth and other nations including Columbia.
Dec 09, 2018By Sean Devers On a flat track and slow outfield at Bourda yesterday 23-year-old pacer Bernard Bailey’s 6-36 put GCC in control over police on the opening day of their Noble House Seafoods...
Dec 09, 2018
Dec 09, 2018
Dec 09, 2018
Dec 09, 2018
Dec 09, 2018
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]