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Jagdeo had proposed judicial settlement- Ramkarran

Guyana’s former facilitator in the border controversy with Venezuela, Ralph Ramkarran has claimed that former President Bharrat Jagdeo had proposed a juridical settlement to his then Venezuelan counterpart, Huge Chavez 10 years ago.

Ramkarran noted that that contrasted with Jagdeo’s recent concerns that a juridical settlement might scale back the role of the United Nations (UN).

“Mr. Jagdeo never mentioned, contrary to the dangers he now perceives and to his current advice, that he proposed to President Chavez as far back as July 21, 2010, at their meeting in Caracas that serious consideration should be given to having the controversy resolved legally through the International Court of Justice(“ICJ”),” said Ramkarran in his latest Conversation Tree (www.conversationtree.gy ) column.

Ramkarran said he never knew about Jagdeo’s proposal to Chavez until long after and that he had been eventually left out of the process.  “Even though I was the Guyana Facilitator to the Good Officer Process, I was unaware of Mr. Jagdeo’s proposal to President Chavez at the time and for some time after. From about 2006 to the end of the Ramotar administration in May 2015 I was, not of my own volition, not part of the advisory process relating to the Guyana Venezuela Border Controversy.”

Ramkarran said that Venezuela’s agreement to take the matter to the ICJ was not needed.

“President Jagdeo could not have taken any legal or other appropriate advice before making the proposal. It appears as if he has not taken any since. If so he would have known that Venezuela’s concurrence was not needed and that the UN Secretary General could refer the matter to the ICJ of his own motion under the Geneva Agreement. (See “Ban Ki-Moon has the last word” SN on 25 /10/15),” he said.

Based on utterances by former Presidents Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar, Ramkarran concluded that the latter had not been aware of Jagdeo’s proposal for a juridical settlement and that he had also rejected his predecessor’s suggestion for Guyana to give Venezuela access to the Atlantic sea. “. There was some continuity between the two governments. Mr. Jagdeo’s government considered the Atlantic outlet but made no decision, while Mr. Ramotar’s government considered and rejected it,” he said.

The former facilitator recommended  that  Jagdeo do some serious introspection before he speaks again,” because his credibility on the vital national issue of the Guyana Venezuela Border Controversy, aggravated by his apparent lack of understanding of the Geneva Agreement, is now at stake.” He also advised Ramotar to say whether he knew of the Jagdeo proposal. “If he knew why did his government not reveal it but gave the impression that it was only now considering it?”

The six-month old coalition administration wants the United Nations Secretary General to ask the ICJ to offer a legal opinion on the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award that has long settled the Guyana-Venezuela land boundary.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge  has said that Venezuela’s concurrence would be required only if it seeks to have the matter put before the ICJ as a contentious one.