In a statement on Tuesday, Guyana’s Foreign Ministry said “this is a very important decision with the potential to put Guyana on a path that will enable us to attract investment — local and foreign — in quantities significant enough to permit the exploitation of our natural resources – not just our oil — so as to have a dramatic impact on our economic and social well-being in the near and foreseeable future,”
Speaking with Demerara Waves Online News, the Director-General in the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ambassador Audrey Jardine-Waddell informed that the Personal Representative to the Secretary General, Dag Halvor Nylander should by now have submitted his report to Secretary General, António Guterres who would determine the next step.
Former United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon had given an undertaking that 2017 would have been the last year of mediation to end the border dispute. If that failed, it would be referred to the ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the UN.
Guyana maintains that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award that settled the boundary issue between Guyana and Venezuela was full and final. However, then junior counsel to the tribunal Mallet Prevost, had in 1944 written that the border decision was a result of a conspiracy between Great Britain, Guyana’s then colonial power, and Russia.
Prevost had instructed that the contents of a letter he had written on the matter, be made public after he died. This was done in 1949, one year after he passed away by Dr. Otto Shoenrich, a junior partner of his law firm, that marked the beginning of the controversy.
Venezuela has for several decades registered its diplomatic and military objection to Guyana’s development of its natural resources onshore and offshore.
Through its ambassadors, Venezuela has written to the now closed Omai Gold Mines, Aurora Gold Mines/ Guyana Goldfields and ExxonMobil’s majority-owned Essso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited , informing them that their large scale extractive operations in Essequibo were in Venezuela’s territory.
On the military front, Venezuela’s navy in October 2013 seized the Malaysian-owned seismic research vessel, Teknik Perdana, that had been conducting surveys in a Guyanese oil concession offshore Essequibo for the US company, Anadarko Petroleum.
In May, 2015 when ExxonMobil officially announced a large oil find in its offshore Stabroek Block concession, Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro had unilaterally extended his country’s maritime boundary to include almost all of Guyana’s maritime space.
He, however, backed down after intense pressure from the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) after it became known that his unilateral maritime demarcation had also included almost all of the Caribbean islands.
If Venezuela gets its way and extends its land boundary to the eastern bank of the Essequibo River, it would mean that all of the Essequibo and the Atlantic Sea offshore that county would be part of that Spanish-speaking nation.
- Countries: Guyana