Greenidge retained by PPP/C govt for Guyana/Venezuela border controversy case

Advisor on Border Carl Greenidge
Former Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge (right) with Registrar of the International Court of Justice, Mr. Philippe Couvreur (left) in 2018 when Guyana filed the border controversy case

The new Irfaan Ali-led People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government has retained former Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge to be a part of the team representing Guyana’s interested in the border controversy case with Venezuela that is currently before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

This is according to new Foreign Affairs Minister, Hugh Todd, who confirmed to reporters earlier today that Greenidge is still on the team.

“…Greenidge is still on the team. He will be on the team, through the conclusion of this matter,” Minister Todd said.

He further disclosed that Greenidge, who was Guyana’s leading agent in the matter, has already briefed him on the current position of the case.

“So, he’s still integrally involved. We’re very happy to have his service, and he’s very committed to the process. This is not a political issue, it’s a national issue. And he recognizes that. And he’s very accommodating to us,” the new Foreign Affairs Minister posited.

However, Todd could not say if Greenidge will still be Guyana’s agent.

“I won’t be able to say now. But he is still part of the team and he’s still actively involved in the process. He will see the case through,” the Minister contended.

Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd

Further, Todd noted while his commitment now is to process that is before the World Court, he explained that any further involvement of Greenidge in the PPP/C government will be dependent on the former minister and discussions with President Irfaan Ali.

The ICJ is expected to meet again in September on the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy.

Greenidge was the who took Guyana’s case to the World Court after the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, in 2018 had referred there following failed good offices process between the two neighbouring countries.

Only Saturday at his inauguration ceremony, President Ali committed to pursuing a resolution of the border controversy via the case before the World Court. He reminded that it was the PPP/C Government in 2014 that had put an end to the interminable ‘good offices’ dialogue with Venezuela, after “it had become, for them, a strategy of prolonging contention rather than of seeking solution.”

The Guyanese Head of State further contended during his inauguration, which Greenidge attended on Saturday at the National Cultural Centre, that there is no policy more sacred than those relating to the country’s border for his administration.

“Therefore, the PPP/C gave full support to the former administration when, as initiated by us, they submitted the Venezuela contention to the International Court of Justice. We shall not descend. The sovereignty of our state, the integrity of our territory – both land and sea – is a sacred trust. We must defend, and we will do so in collaboration with our partners and allies,” he noted.

Following the swearing-in of Dr Ali as the 9th Executive President on Sunday last, Venezuela had expressed hopes to resume dialogue with Guyana’s new government.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, had congratulated Guyana on the election of the new leader, saying in a statement on Monday that it was necessary “to reactivate the dialogue and negotiation mechanisms as soon as possible to reach a practical and satisfactory settlement”.

However, with his endorsement of the move to the ICJ on Saturday, President Ali has in effect rejected this extra-judicial approach.

Guyana is seeking a final and binding judgment 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.

The Spanish-speaking nation is laying claims to more than two-thirds of Guyana’s landmass in the Essequibo region and a portion of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in which more than eight billion barrels of oil have been discovered.

On June 30, the ICJ held its first public hearing of the border controversy case on whether it has jurisdiction to adjudicate the case on the long-standing border controversy between the neighbouring states.

However, Venezuela has since indicated that it does not accept the jurisdiction of the court and refuses to participate in the proceedings.

The Court is expected to rule on whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case at its next hearing.