Guyana to seek juridical settlement of border controversy with Venezuela –says Granger ahead of UN presentation

President David Granger

PRESIDENT David Granger has said that Guyana will be moving to the courts to have the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy resolved once and for all.Speaking ahead of his first presentation to the United Nations General Assembly next week, the President said: “Our message will be that we have to resolve this matter by juridical means. We will be going to court, we are not interested any longer in any sterile good officer process. We are going to go to court and settle this matter. It is affecting our development too long, 50 years is too long.”

Having responded to reporters on Guyana’s message to the UN, the President said he will be meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and “presumably Mr Maduro”, and his focus is to end the controversy, as it is hindering Guyana’s developmental progress.

“Right now the Venezuelan claim is affecting our development in a serious way. It is scaring away investors and it is creating an atmosphere of tension and frustration, and will deter investors from coming into this country,” an impassioned President Granger said.

He said he is embracing every opportunity presented to receive support on the issue.

“This is my message. Today I spoke at the Chilean National Day; earlier this week I spoke at the Mexican National Day, and I am calling on these big states, like Chile and Mexico, to support small states like Guyana to ensure that the continent and hemisphere remains a zone of peace,” President Granger said.

The President stressed that Guyana settled the territorial matter 116 years ago, and is, as such, tired of the illegal claims by Venezuela.

Venezuela’s claim to Guyana’s sovereign space resurfaced in May following a significant oil discovery by ExxonMobil.
On Wednesday, the Venezuelan Government suspended the appointment of Guyana’s ambassador to Venezuela, Cheryl Miles, stating that Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge had launched an attack on Venezuela during his visit to the United States earlier this week.

Greenidge, in response, has said Guyana will continue to speak on the matter, and has noted that the claims by Venezuela are illegitimate.

“Guyana has a right to speak on matters affecting it,” Greenidge said, as he noted that the issue is a “legitimate matter of concern to Guyana, and indeed (to) other CARICOM States”. As such, he said, “Venezuela must recognise that such actions, along with its pursuit of its spurious claim despite the restrictions of the Geneva Agreement, are the bases for Guyana’s response”.

The Foreign Affairs Minister noted that the outbursts by Venezuela’s President, Nicholas Maduro, seem to be telling Guyanese that they have no right “either to speak or to state our views on any matter affecting our wellbeing.”

Notwithstanding Guyana’s position regarding Venezuela’s territorial claims, the country remains open to dialogue with Venezuela on matters related to bilateral relations. Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge has said that the exchange of ambassadors is an important mode of promoting dialogue. (Ariana Gordon)