Guyana will reject extension of UN mediation of border controversy or ceding of territory- sources

Last Updated on Friday, 26 January 2018, 21:33 by Denis Chabrol

United Nations Secretary General’s High Representative and President Nicolas Maduro in talks.

Government is worried that moves are afoot to pressure Guyana into agreeing to extend high-level United Nations (UN)-brokered negotiations to settle the border controversy with Venezuela or consider the option of giving up part of its territory, high-level sources said.

With  Dagg Halvor Nylander, the United  Nations Secretary General’s Personal Representative on the Border Controversy having already submitted his report to the UN Chief, there are concerns that the UN wants an easy way out instead of being seen as international bully in collusion with big capitalists.

So far, the UN Secretary General, António Guterres has not yet informed Guyana whether or not significant progress has been made in the negotiations and, if not, the controversy should be referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The UN’s considerations, sources said, include no desire to sour relations with Caracas by referring the border controversy over the Essequibo Region to the ICJ also known as the World Court. That’s because, the sources said, the UN might have to mediate in a long-running political strife between the government and opposition and does not want to muddy the negotiating environment.

Demerara Waves understands that one of the options being floated is for Guyana to give up some of its territory to Venezuela or risk having the mediation process extended by another two years. The APNU+AFC coalition-led government has already criticised then President Bharrat Jagdeo’s consideration of Guyana giving up access to part of its maritime space to Venezuela.

Word that Nylander has suggested that Guyana should agree to cede part of its territory has come less than one month after President David Granger said in his 2018 New Year’s message that Guyana would not be relinquishing any part of the country.

“We shall continue to defend every ‘blade of grass’ of our homeland.  We shall never cede a centimetre of territory or compromise a tittle of sovereignty,” Granger has said.

The Guyanese leader on Thursday announced that the strength of the Guyana Defence Force  (GDF) was being increased to the authorised number of members and that several corps would be given new mandates in the coming days.

Among them is the re-establishment of the Signal Corps as the main arm for the advancement of information and communications technologies and telecommunications within the Force.

Against the background of Guyana maintaining that significant progress has not been made in the Nylander-driven mediation process, the country expects that the controversy would be dispatched to the ICJ in keeping with a decision by the  UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon.

Guyana maintains that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award is full, final and perfect settlement of the boundary with Venezuela.

However, Caracas insists that that accord is null and void.

The border issue was reopened in 1949 when an American jurist presented to Venezuela a memorandum written in 1944 by the Official Secretary of the U.S./Venezuela delegation in the Tribunal of Arbitration, Severo Mallet-Prevost that surmised a political deal between Russia and Britain based on the private behaviour of the judges.