Greenidge retained by Ali Govt for Guyana-Venezuela border controversy case at ICJ
— Foreign Affairs Minister says issue transcends politics
Former Foreign Affairs Minister and agent before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Carl Greenidge has been retained by the new People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government, with Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd making it clear that the Guyana v Venezuela border controversy transcends politics.
Todd made this revelation on Sunday on the sidelines of an event at State House. When asked by the media whether Greenidge will be kept on the team now that the PPP Administration is in power, Todd explained that Greenidge is still on the team and has, in fact, briefed him on the State of affairs.
“Former Foreign Minister Greenidge is still on the team. He will be on the team, through the conclusion of the matter. He has already briefed me on the current position. I think the ICJ meets in September. They’re on leave,” Todd said.
“So, he’s still integrally involved. We’re very happy to have his service. And he’s very committed to the process. This isn’t a political issue, it’s a national issue. And he recognises that. And he’s very accommodating to us.”
However, Todd could not say if Greenidge will still be Guyana’s leading agent to the ICJ, reiterating that “he is still part of the team and he’s still actively involved in the process. He will see the case through.”
Greenidge, a People’s National Congress (PNC) stalwart, represented Guyana as its agent on the Guyana v Venezuela border case when the matter was called before the ICJ in the Hague on June 30, while Sir Shridath Ramphal, Guyana’s Attorney General at the time the Geneva Agreement was reached, was Guyana’s co-agent.
Also, part of the Guyana delegation was the then opposition representative Gail Teixeira (now Minister of Parliamentary Affairs), former Foreign Affairs Minister Rashleigh Jackson and former Director Generals of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Elizabeth Harper and Audrey Waddell.
Guyana was also represented by a battery of international lawyers, including international border dispute lawyer Paul Reichler, international lawyer and professor Payam Akhavan and British-French Attorney Phillipe Sands. The matter is expected to be called again next month.
It was only on Saturday at his inauguration ceremony, that President Dr Irfaan Ali committed to pursuing a resolution of the border controversy via the case before the world court. He reminded that it was the PPP/C Government in 2014 that had put an end to the interminable ‘good offices’ dialogue with Venezuela, after “it had become, for them, a strategy of prolonging contention rather than of seeking solution.”
The Guyanese Head of State had further contended during his inauguration, which Greenidge attended on Saturday at the National Cultural Centre, that there is no policy more sacred than those relating to the country’s border for his Administration.
“Therefore, the PPP/C gave full support to the former Administration when, as initiated by us, they submitted the Venezuela contention to the International Court of Justice. We shall not descend. The sovereignty of our State, the integrity of our territory – both land and sea – is a sacred trust. We must defend, and we will do so in collaboration with our partners and allies,” he noted.
Following the swearing-in of Dr Ali as the ninth Executive President on August 2, Venezuela had expressed hopes to resume dialogue with Guyana’s new Government. Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza had congratulated Guyana on the election of the new leader.
Arreaza had said in a statement the day after the swearing-in that it was necessary “to reactivate the dialogue and negotiation mechanisms as soon as possible to reach a practical and satisfactory settlement”. However, with his endorsement of the move to the ICJ on Saturday, President Ali has in effect rejected this extra-judicial approach.