T&T backs Guyana on border controversy with Venezuela

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 September 2018, 17:04 by Denis Chabrol

Trinidad and Tobago- which historically enjoys close economic and political relations with Venezuela- will support Guyana in its border controversy with their Spanish-speaking neighbour, Prime Minister Keith Rowley said Wednesday.

Asked whether Trinidad and Tobago would be willing to amend the 1990 Maritime Boundary Delimitation Agreement with Venezuela  that has resulted in an overlap of maritime boundaries with Guyana, he declined to speak about the agreement but assured Georgetown of its support in the border controversy with Caracas.

“I’m not sure that I am in  a position to speak to any amendment but to simply say that Trinidad and Tobago stands fully behind the position of Guyana with respect to its differences with Venezuela and as long as whatever has to be done is in keeping with that commitment, Trinidad and Tobago is of that position,” Rowley told a news briefing at State House, the official residence of the President of Guyana.

Rowley’s solidarity with Guyana came less than one month after he and Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro signed an agreement to purchase and export Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from the South American nation’s  Dragon Field.

At the political level, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela signed a Maritime Boundary Delimitation Agreement that overlaps with the maritime boundaries of Guyana, and Barbados.

Guyana has already said differences with Trinidad and Tobago over the maritime boundary would be addressed after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) settles the land border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela. The court is yet to rule on whether  it has jurisdiction to handle the matter which has been transferred to it by the United Nations Secretary General in keeping with the 1966 Geneva Agreement.

As recent as September 10, 2018, Guyana’s Foreign Minister  Carl Greenidge was confident that Trinidad and Tobago would not obstruct the settlement of the maritime boundary overlaps. “No!  I honestly don’t think so and they have never obstructed us. They have had in the very distant past arrangements which, in our view, were not well informed but  no specific decision or action that we feel can’t be remedied,” he has said.

High-level Guyana government sources have in the past been worried about support from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, and Antigua-Barbuda in resolving the border controversy because of their cozy relations with Caracas.