EYEWITNESS: Preliminary…


…ICJ matters

The Guyana-Venezuela border controversy’s getting closer to a resolution…and it’s about time we got THAT monkey off our back!! The ICJ’s decided to rule on whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case since Venezuela, at the last moment, balked. Now some folks are getting nervous…but while it’s not a cakewalk, these preliminary matters are pretty standard in international disputes – in a world of sovereign states.

But the Venezuelans are going to lose on their jurisdictional challenge – just as they will on the controversy they stirred up in 1962 – and it’s why they’ve invoking technicalities!! They’ve been trying to have their cake as well as eat it too! It was to the UN they brought their land grab of 2/3 of our national territory in 1962, claiming the “full and final” Arbitral Award – which they accepted since 1899 – was now “null and void”!!

And it was to the UN they were directed to by the Geneva Agreement they signed with us and Britain in 1966, in case the controversy wasn’t resolved by the Mixed Commission that was set up consequent to the international treaty. More specifically, the UN Secretary General who was authorised to select from the menu of measures contained in Art 33 of the Charter of the UN what might be the most appropriate mechanism.

Art 33 is pretty comprehensive: (1) “The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.”

Now the UN Secretary General chose “mediation” – with no objection from Venezuela – in the form of his “Good Officer Process”. After decades of spinning wheels, Guyana pointed out that mediation was going nowhere and suggested “judicial settlement” – which meant transferring the matter to the ICJ which would use the principles of international law and precedents to resolve the controversy. And this is where Venezuela is showing bad faith and increasing international tensions by refusing to go this route and challenging the ICJ’s jurisdiction.

But as your eyewitness has pointed out before, jurisdiction is spelled out by Art 36 of the ICJ’s charter: “The jurisdiction of the Court comprises all cases which the parties refer to it and all matters specially provided for in the Charter of the United Nations or in treaties and conventions in force.”

This jurisdictional clause is contained by the terms of the “Geneva Agreement” – a treaty! – as explained above and can be brought by any one of the parties to the Agreement!!
Afterwards, we can appeal to the UN Security Council to enforce the judgement!!

…Decriminalisation of marijuana

Caricom may not have been able to get it’s act together on its raison d’etre – forming a Common Single Market and Economy – but what they heck…it looks like they’re about to legalise ganja!! Now, dear readers, don’t snicker!! First of all, in addition to cricket, surf and reggae, what else comes to mind about our beautiful islands. Why…that uplifting feeling that goes with reggae!! While for some, like your Eyewitness, just listening to reggae’s looping beats gets him high, ganja guarantees it for ALL!!

While throughout the world, the Jamaicans may have us beat with branding their reggae along with their “Jamaican Gold” spliffs, if Caricom can get the herb legalised and pass international muster, then it will be the salvation of our islands that’re facing such a bleak future with the passing of King Sugar!!

When the islands phased out sugar they thought they’d pick up the slack with tourism.
Didn’t work. Ganja should do the trick!!

…elimination rounds

While the PPP’s presidential candidacy has grabbed the headlines…the PNC’s contest for its chairmanship is essentially its mirror image, since that party’s chair is invariably its presidential candidate.

The last contest has gunshots, walkouts and charges of rigging. What’ll it be this time??


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