Guyana-Venezuela border controversy: All efforts being put into preparing for ICJ case next month – Todd

– Foreign Ministry allocated $3.6B for foreign policy programme

As the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy court date at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) draws nearer, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd, has assured that all efforts are being put into preparing for the case.
The Minister was at the time making his contribution to the 2022 Budget debates. He explained that $3.6B has been allocated to his Ministry to carry out its foreign policy programme and improve Guyana’s bilateral relations with the international community.
Important among those efforts is ensuring the adjudicating of Guyana’s border case against Venezuela. Guyana, which filed its memorial in the case in 2018, will have to submit written pleadings for its case on March 8, 2022.
According to the Minister, his Ministry will not rest in working on preserving Guyana’s sovereignty, and Guyana would be in a state of readiness by March 8 when it has to present its written submissions for its memorial.
“We will not rest in our efforts to preserve our sovereignty and territorial integrity. Following the ICJ ruling on the jurisdiction in the case of the Guyana/ Venezuela controversy, we have been putting all our efforts into preparing to submit the merits of our case by March 8 this year.
“Equally, we will continue to be a responsible member of the international community, enhancing our profile on the regional (stage),” Minister Todd said.

He also noted that, over the time the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has been in office since 2020, Guyana has revamped its foreign relations and built bridges.
According to Todd, the country’s bond with the international community has grown stronger, and so has the professionalism of its Foreign Service.
“Guyana’s bond with its international partners is stronger than it’s ever been before. The PPP commitment to our foreign policy agenda is driven by a cadre of trained diplomats and qualified staff at the headquarters, as well as those stationed at our embassies, High Commissions, and consulates abroad.
“Budget 2022 will provide valuable support for the implementation of the Ministry’s policy guidelines in a systematic manner regarding postings and cross-postings,” Minister Todd also said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd

The Government’s territorial agenda also receives the support of the Parliamentary Opposition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC).
On the first day of the budget debates, Member of Parliament (MP) Amanza Walton-Desir, who shadows the Foreign Affairs Ministry, used the occasion to affirm the APNU/AFC’s support for the Government as it continues its territorial border case.
“Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity remains sacrosanct. There is no distance between the Government and the political Opposition on this issue. It is the David Granger-led Government that initiated the judicial route to resolve this issue, and the present Government has continued on this trajectory. We reaffirm that the border claim by Venezuela is mischievous, opportunistic, and without merit, and we are confident that Guyana will be vindicated,” she had said.
Guyana moved to the world court, the International Court of Justice, after exhausting all means of negotiation with Venezuela and the failed good offices process between the two South American neighbours. Then United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, in January 2018, decided that the case should be settled by the ICJ, after exercising the powers vested in him to decide how the controversy should be settled by the 1966 Geneva Agreement between Guyana, Venezuela, and the United Kingdom.
The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It was established by the United Nations Charter in June 1945, and began its activities in April 1946. The Court is composed of 15 Judges elected for a nine-year term by the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations. The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
Back in March 2021, ICJ had granted Guyana until March 8, 2022 to file its written submissions for the case, after requesting 12 months. Venezuela was given until March 8, 2023 to submit its counter-memorial.
The Spanish-speaking nation is laying claim to more than two-thirds of Guyana’s landmass in Essequibo, and a portion of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in which more than nine billion barrels of oil have been discovered over the past six years.
In his address to the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly last year, President Dr Irfaan Ali had informed the world about Venezuela’s continued disregard for international norm in pushing its illegal claim to Guyana and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The President had also used meetings with the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to update them on Venezuelan’s actions, which had run the gamut from incendiary statements to issuing decrees. Following his meeting with Caricom, the community had issued a statement rebuking Venezuela and urging it to adhere to the ICJ process.