Guyana to continue challenging border dispute with Venezuela

GEORGETOWN – Guyana legislators have approved GUY$660 million for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to pay for legal fees in the country’s ongoing border dispute with Venezuela.

The matter is now before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and on Monday night the Committee of Supply approved the allocation outlined in the budget presented by Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh.

During the budget debate, Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd gave assurance that the government will not rest in its efforts to preserve Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Todd said that Guyana has been making all efforts to submit the country’s memorial on the merits of its case by March 8.

Guyana moved to the ICJ with its case in March 2018, challenging the non-participating Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, over its disagreement on the legal validity and binding effect of the October 3, 1899 Award.

Venezuela has maintained that the ICJ was without jurisdiction to hear the case and had not participated in the matter.

However, by a 12-4 majority ruling, the ICJ upheld that it has jurisdiction to entertain Guyana’s contention concerning the validity of the 1899 Award about the frontier between British Guiana and Venezuela, and the related question of the definitive settlement of the land boundary.

The ICJ said this is in keeping with a recommendation with United Nations Secretary-General Mr António Guterres.

In January 2018, Guterres, acting within the authority bestowed upon him by the Geneva Agreement, chose adjudication by the Court as the final means for resolving the controversy.

The ICJ pointed out too, that both Guyana and Venezuela had agreed to the 1966 Geneva Agreement which showed that both parties had accepted the possibility of the controversy being resolved by means of judicial settlement.

Guyana maintains that a juridical settlement of this matter is the only recourse remaining as it has exhausted all other measures. (CMC)

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