Canada remains supportive of Guyana’s territorial case

Posted On Jan 12 2020 by

first_imgBorder controversyThe Canadian Government says it remains supportive of Guyana’s decision to seek a legal settlement on the border controversy with its neighbour Venezuela.Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee, said her country had welcomed the decision by United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres to send the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).Now that the matter is with the world court, the Canadian diplomat says her country awaits the decision, but will continue to back Guyana which is looking to have the matter resolved peacefully.“We believe that is the right avenue and we await the results of the ICJ decision. We welcome that Guyana has said that it will live by the decision of the ICJ and we are supportive of Guyana’s position that the rule of law must apply,” she stated.Chatterjee told Guyana Times that she has also noted that Guyana has soughtCanadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian ChatterjeeCanadian legal advice on the matter and her country is also happy about that.“We welcome the fact that Guyana is seeking legal expertise from Canada to assist with the territorial issues against Venezuela and Suriname,” she added.In November 2015, Guyana Goldfields, a Canadian gold company operating the Aurora gold mine, had received formal notification of possible legal action by the Venezuelan Government in relation to its operations in Guyana.The company has said that Venezuela warned it against mining on land “belonging to them”, even though the land is within Guyana’s borders as agreed by both countries under the 1899 arbitration agreement.In a letter reportedly sent by Venezuela’s ambassador to Canada, the company was warned that their mining operation was “infringing on the territorial sovereignty of Venezuela”. President David Granger, subsequently accused Venezuela of trying to scare away foreign investors and called for the country to stop meddling in the country’s business.The mine is one of Guyana’s largest investment projects, employing hundreds of people. The company has been developing the Aurora mine, located in the North-West area of Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), for almost two decades.Nevertheless, in February of this year, the company announced plans to expand its operations by constructing the country’s first underground mine. This development, it said, should occur within the next four years, and the investment would see a whopping US$120 million being pumped into the project.When work commences on the underground operations, there would be need to increase the workforce by 75 to 100 persons, which would create job opportunities for locals.One day after the UN had announced it would be sending the border case before the ICJ for a judicial settlement, Venezuela had rejected the move.But President Granger has vowed to leave no stone unturned to secure a successful outcome for Guyanese by utilising all the resources necessary to adequately prepare for the case.Government has maintained that the issue is a legal one and needed to be settled through those means.The border controversy gained new life when United States-oil giant ExxonMobil announced in 2015 that it had massive quantities of oil in Guyana.Venezuela has staunchly been against oil exploration in Guyana’s Stabroek Block, where multiple oil deposits were found by ExxonMobil, and has since laid claim to the Essequibo region.Venezuela has long made claim to around 40 per cent of Guyana’s territory, and extended its maritime claims in 2015 after oil was discovered in disputed waters.Venezuela’s current border claim is widely regarded to be a violation of international law. The matter will be heard at the ICJ.last_img read more