Guyana to make formal claim to disputed areas
Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo admitted that his country would make a formal claim to part of the disputed area in
the Trinidad and Tobago/Venezuela Maritime Delimitation Treaty which was signed in 1990. Jagdeo said this at
Whitehall in Port of Spain following a 30-minute meeting with Prime Minister Patrick Manning.
The two met to discuss among other things, the crisis in Haiti. Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced to flee his country for Central Africa after rebels made it impossible for him to govern.
Jagdeo said the position of Guyana has always protested against the controversial Maritime Delimitation Treaty.
"From the time the treaty was signed, Guyana, at several levels, protested the Treaty and our position remains the same today," Jagdeo added. He said he told Manning during their meeting: "We have an interest in that matter and Guyana will defend its interest in that particular matter. But this would not be done in an adversarial way."
Asked specifically if hewas saying that Guyana had a claim to the "acreage" in the Delimitation Treaty, Jagdeo said
"yes." He added that it is yet to be determined whether "we may have to file a brief in the same process but those
are steps that the technical people will have to work out. I know that we are going to defend Guyana's interest in
relation to that matter."
He said he was not as yet sure whether it may take a similar route that the one taken by Barbados via the United Nations or another route. Earlier Jagdeo said he wanted to clear up a false impression that Guyana was joining with Barbados in some attempt to harm the national interest of Trinidad and Tobago.
Jagdeo said nothing was further from the truth. "My presence (here) demonstrates that this is not so, and I wanted to say that to the people of Trinidad and Tobago."
He said the false impression of Guyana's support for Barbados may be created because of two issues:
1. The release of a recent agreement on Exclusive Economic Zone Treaty with Barbados was "has somehow served to create the impression that this is part of the conspiracy".
According to Jagdeo the negotiations for that cooperation treaty (not a Maritime Delimitation Treaty) began two years ago and agreement was made last December and released recently only after he got it ratified in the House of Assembly.
"So it is not part of any conspiracy, "he stressed.
2. Guyana's decision to invoke sections of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, binding compulsory arbitration with Suriname. He said this move "has been in the making for some time".