Suriname cautioned against breach of int’l protocols
During ACTO meeting
During a two-day deliberation of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), a Guyanese Foreign Service Officer had cause to caution the Surinamese delegation in relation to a blatant disregard of international protocol after a large portion of Guyana’s territory appeared on that country’s map.
This was as representatives from Guyana, Suriname and Brazil met in Lethem at the end of last week to discuss indigenous health in the bordering regions of the
three neighbouring South American nations.
The issue arose during a Powerpoint presentation by the Surinamese officials, which was when it was observed that the New River Triangle was included on the Suriname map. This significant portion of land is located between the tributaries of the Corentyne River in southern Guyana and is about 3,000 square miles, or 15,600 square kilometres in size.
Representing Guyana on this issue was Foreign Service Officer Royston Alkins, who stated, “The inclusion of Guyana’s sovereign territory in the map is contrary to the internationally recognised jurisdictions of Guyana and Suriname, and is clearly a breach of international protocol.”
Alkins noted that Guyana and Suriname have enjoyed good diplomatic relations in the past, and that Guyana remains committed to working with its South American
neighbour to strengthen this relationship.
The Foreign Service Officer went on to explain that Guyana has had to express concerns emanating from the border issues at previous ACTO forums, and the country is again pleading with Suriname to desist from these breaches of international protocol.
He urged the visiting diplomats to disregard the inaccurate outline of Suriname by saying, “We also call upon the organisation to have the document expunged from the records,” and that the records of the meeting faithfully reflect the concerns expressed by Guyana instead.
Also present at the time of this incident were Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, and Minister within that Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe; Ministerial Advisor Mervyn Williams, representatives from the Ministries of Public Health and Communities, and the Guyana Police Force (GPF), all of whom were part of the local delegation.
Guyana, Brazil to
Meanwhile, at a separate forum, the Governments of Guyana and Brazil have recommitted to having respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty by making preparations to redefine the borders between the two countries.
This is according to the Ministry of the Presidency, which announced that the Commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), Trevor Benn, on Saturday met with Guyana’s Consul General to Brazil, Shirley Melville, and Dauberson Monteira Da Silva, Head of the Commission on Border Demarcation for Brazil.
Stemming from their discussions was the move to kick-start the remarking process, which is now slated to commence on Thursday, November 16, 2017.
Commissioner Benn, in his remarks to the team, relayed that issues of sovereignty and territorial integrity are important to the Government and people of Guyana.
He pledged commitment to the process by saying, “We will continue to give support, financial and otherwise, to ensure that this process is completed. We have shared relations with Brazil for a long time, and during our relationship we have been working to keep our borders clear so that we can identify the border marks.”
In outlining the process, the local official highlighted, “The team will look at the marks, (and) repair and update them for posterity. The integrity of one’s country is paramount, and to ensure that our integrity is assured, one of the things that we do is to identify the borders to make sure that (they) cannot be encroached or (are not) encroached by others. And since we have a really good relationship with Brazil, it is easier for us to keep that border clean, clear, and visible to all concerned.”
The initiative was welcomed by Da Silva, who underlined that the relationship between the two countries has indeed been a long one, and has been characterized by goodwill, friendship, and mutual respect.
The Head of Brazilian Demarcation Commission posited that the exercise will further strengthen the strong bond shared by the two nations.
In this regard, the Guyana Defence Force and the GLSC have dispatched a total of four persons to facilitate the process.
The remarking of the borders between Guyana and Brazil dates back to 1994, when the initiative was birthed. It was stalled for years, due to funding issues on both sides.
However, in light of the density of the forests in the border region, only four marks — BG15 to BG19 — will be re-marked and redone during the four-day exercise. The others would be completed at a later stage.
Upon completion of the remarking process, a follow-up meeting will be held between the two delegations to discuss the successes and challenges, paving the way for similar ventures in the future.