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Greenidge insists that Foreign Ministry officials were fully involved in ICJ case

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 November 2021, 14:18 by Denis Chabrol

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge under the David Granger-led administration. He was also Finance Minister under the Desmond Hoyte-led government.

Guyana’s Agent in the World Court case concerning the border controversy with Venezuela, Carl Greenidge on Thursday disputed claims by the Foreign Affairs Ministry that representatives of the Legal and Frontiers Departments were “not fully involved in the matter.”

He was reacting to the Foreign Ministry’s claim in a statement that the then Head of the Legal and Treaties Division, Ms. Trishala Persaud and the Director of Frontiers Ms. Donnette Streete has not been altogether part of the mechanism for Guyana’s case against Venezuela’s border claim before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
“Both Ms. Trishala Persaud and Ms. Donnette Streete were integrally involved prior to Minister Todd’s appointment and have continued to be involved. In addition and as to be expected, both the Legal and Frontiers Departments
of the Ministry have traditionally been integral parts of the process regardless of governmental changes,” said Mr. Greenidge.

The Agent sought to assure the public that the mechanism was working effectively after his concerns had been raised seven months ago in April in a letter to President Irfaan Ali. “Months ago, subsequent to the Agent’s letter of April 07, 2021, measures were taken by the President and his team to resolve the issues raised.”

Though the issue has been addressed, he describe as “inappropriate ministerial behaviour and language”  as well as about the consequences of discussing a particular topic in public by virtue of a video recording at that meeting. Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd and Minister of Governance Gail Teixeira had been in that meeting.

Mr. Greenidge scolded those who leaked to the letter to the media, saying that such an action by “someone who was prepared to breach national security” was “reckless and reprehensible.”

The former government minister said the Irfaan Ali-led administration had not been asked to address the right of any government to have a team comprising  representatives in whom they have confidence. The Guyana government has said that the Committee has since been widened to include former Head of Frontiers , Ambassador Keith George as well as former military personnel with extensive experience about Guyana’s borders.

Mr. Greenidge, who is a member of the People’s National Congress Reform and had served as Finance ad Foreign Minister when that party had been in government, said he was committed to serving Guyana free of bias. “My most critical role has been forging that understanding and I intend in the national interest to continue along that path in a non-partisan way.”

He forecast that the ICJ could hand down its decision during the last quarter of 2023. Guyana has asked the ICJ to find that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award that determined the land boundary with Venezuela is a full, final and perfect settlement.

Venezuela continues to maintain that the ICJ does not jurisdiction and instead wants Guyana to bilaterally negotiate a settlement over that Spanish-speaking nation’s claim over the Essequibo Region and the oil-rich Atlantic sea space.