Over $780M expended in 2018 for legal fees on border controversy case – Greenidge

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Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge

Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge on Thursday said that more than $780 million (Guyana currency) was expended to cover the 2018 fees for the legal team that Guyana has recruited to lead its case regarding the border controversy with Venezuela that is currently before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

This money is from the US$15 million that was set aside from the controversial US$18 million signing bonus that Guyana received from US oil giant ExxonMobil.

Guyana is moving full steam ahead in solidifying its case against the Spanish-speaking country’s claim to this country’s sovereign territory.

Greenidge had said that the ICJ would decide on Jurisdiction after February 2019 and his ministry officially announced that Guyana submitted its Memorial on Jurisdiction to the world court which aims to have ICJ validate an arbitral award that settled the international boundaries in 1899.

This comes months after Government filed the Memorial in June 2018 to resolve the border controversy after Venezuela refused to participate in proceedings.

Information disclosed from the Memorial says that Venezuela is not correct in arguing that the controversy must be resolved exclusively by friendly negotiations, a claim which Guyana says is not justified in the terms of the final 1966 Geneva Agreement to which both parties agreed. It adds that the boundaries were set out between Guyana and Venezuela in 1897 before October 1899 award.

It was in January 2018 that UN Secretary-General António Guterres chose adjudication by the Court as the means for finally resolving the controversy with Guyana filing its case in March of this year.

As the Foreign Affairs Minister continues to lead Guyana’s case, his ministry said that the State has no doubt that the ICJ has jurisdiction to resolve the controversy which has undermined Guyana’s ability to develop its natural resources.

It was after US oil giant ExxonMobil announced its first of many oil finds in 2015 that Venezuela renewed its claim to two-thirds of Guyana’s territory. However, the United States has recently adopted an approach of supporting Guyana’s case.

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