The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Friday convened a meeting of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Guyana-Venezuela Border Controversy.
During the meeting, the committee discussed recent developments related to the subject matter, among other related issues.
Friday’s meeting was led by Chairman of the Committee, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Hugh Todd.
Others present include Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Elisabeth Harper; National Security Advisor, Captain Gerry Gouveia; former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Advisor to the Minister on Border Issues who is Guyana’s Agent, Carl B. Greenidge; Co-Agent, Ambassador Audrey Waddell; Advisor to the Foreign Affairs Minister on Border Issues, Ralph Ramkarran; Director of Frontiers Department, Donnette Streete; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rashleigh Jackson; Major General R’td Joseph Singh; former National Assembly Speaker Dr. Barton Scotland; Ambassador Cedric Joseph; Professor Duke Pollard; Ambassador Rudy Collins; Consultant on Public Relations, Kit Nacimiento and virtually, Ambassador Keith George.
This meeting comes one week ahead of the February 26, 2021 case management hearing at the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ). The matter was supposed to be heard since last month but was postponed to next week.
The case management conference was initially rescheduled to January 25, after previously being postponed from January 15.
The Court is expected to decide on the time to be allotted to each of the parties, they will find out whether Venezuela will participate and they will also give an opportunity to clear up any matters to deal with the procedures which the parties or the court may have.
Guyana approached the World Court in 2018 seeking a final and binding judgement to reinforce that the 1899 Arbitral Award remains valid and binding on all parties and legal affirmation that Guyana’s Essequibo region, which contains much of Guyana’s natural resources, belongs to Guyana and not Venezuela.
However, on January 7, 2021, the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela issued a decree claiming sovereignty and exclusive sovereign rights in the waters and seabed adjacent to Guyana’s coast, west of the Essequibo River – a move which President Dr Irfaan Ali has staunchly rejected.
The Guyanese leader declared on January 9 that Venezuela’s maritime border claim is a “legal nullity” that will not be recognised by Guyana or any other State in the world. He added that while this latest move by the Spanish-speaking nation is “deeply disturbing”, it will not deter Guyana’s resolve to seek a final and binding resolution at the ICJ.
However, in the past few days, there has been an escalation of tension, brought on by Venezuela’s detention of the 11-member crew of two Guyanese-registered fishing vessels – the Lady Nayera and the Sea Wolf – off the coast of Waini Point in Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The men were eventually released upon the direction of President Maduro and have since returned safely to Guyana’s shore.