Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 25th 2015 Contents RADHICA SOOKRAJ
As tensions heighten between Venezuela and
Guyana, UWI s senior lecturer in International
Relations Dr Mark Kirton is calling on the
United Nations to adjudicate in the centuries old
In an interview, Kirton called on Caricom
to show solidarity with Guyana.
Saying there was a full and final settle-
ment under international law in 1899
which gave Guyana full rights over the
disputed territory, Kirton said the ongo-
ing tension did not auger well for diplo-
"Venezuela is claiming after 116 years that
the full and final agreement of 1899 is now null
and void. It is a border controversy not a border
dispute, because Guyana has no dispute with
Venezuela," Kirton said.
He noted that at the last Heads of Government
meeting in Barbados, Caricom issued a statement
supporting Guyana in the controversy.
"We are saying that there should be an unam-
biguous and robust support mechanism for Guyana
in this issue because in the first decree issued by
President Nicolas Maduro Decree 1787 there was
a re-drawing of the maritime boundaries and
maritime space from Surinam right down
including Guyana and the Eastern Caribbean,"
He added, "This border issue is beyond
Guyana and the entire Caribbean must be
concerned about this development."
He noted that in the 1970 s and 80 s,
T&T had influenced the signing of the
Protocol of Port-of-Spain which solved the
issue of land borders.
"Venezuela is now saying that it is not just
a land border but it is the maritime space and
it seems to be based on Exxon Mobil Corp (an
American multinational oil and gas corporation)
which has identified promising prospects for oil
and petrochemical products in Guyana," Kirton
He also said there was a possibility that
Venezuela was trying to divert attention from
its internal problems.
"In the context of a down turn in the econ-
omy and the fact that its people cannot get
basic necessities, Venezuela is probably trying
to whip up nationalistic support especially
in light of the elections that is due to be held
in December," Kirton said.
He said Guyana has already indicated its
preference for a judicial settlement at the
International Court of Justice through the
"We need to continue to ensure that
Caricom understands the issue and
supports Guyana. Venezuela at this
point seems to be bordering on levels
of aggression. The Minister of Defence says it
is a military exercise and in the diplomatic world, one has to
take to their word but this is certainly causing levels
of provocation," Kirton added.
Meanwhile, former Energy Minister Kevin
Ramnarine said the controversy could be
resolved peacefully on three levels---bilat-
erally, regionally or internationally. Ramnarine
said both Venezuela and Guyana should hold
talks. If that fails he says, Caricom could
intervene and if this did not work, then it was
up to the UN to adjudicate.
"It is never good to have tension between two
countries. It seems the level of tension is escalating
and T&T is a friend of Venezuela and Guyana," Ram-
narine said. He said there is a special role that T&T
could play in helping the two neighbours to resolve
UN must intervene
in regional border
Hugh Howard, attorney-at-law and
former executive at Shell and Trintoc,
believes the discovery of large oil reserves
in Guyana earlier this year could be a pos-
itive development for T&T s industry.
in the energy
spans over 100
years. Guyana, a
that kind of back-
ground, will be
looking for assis-
tance like technical
expertise from other
countries. What bet-
ter place than from
the sister Caricom
country of T&T?
"In addition, T&T
dependent on a one
which is oil and
gas. Therefore, services in that energy industry
are an avenue to earn foreign exchange," he
Howard s comments were made in the
context of increased border tensions
between Guyana and Venezuela. In June,
Venezuela s President Nicolas Maduro
demanded that Guyana stop oil exploration
in disputed offshore territory by United States
energy company, Exxon Mobil.
A recent Exxon Mobil discovery in the Atlantic
Ocean off Guyana suugests that the country may
hold oil and natural gas riches 12 times more
valuable than its entire economic output.
Raphael Trotman, Guyana s Minister of Gov-
ernance, said The Liza-1 well, which probably
holds the equivalent of more than 700 million
barrels of oil, may begin producing crude by the
end of the decade.
The prospect would be on par with a recent
Exxon find at the Hadrian formation in the Gulf
of Mexico and could be worth about US$40
billion at today s international crude price.
Howard said there was no need for T&T
to see Guyana as a competitor in the future.
"Guyana does not have a refinery, nor
the kind of infrastructure like pipelines
which T&T has.
"The question would arise, where would they refine
their crude? Would they build a refinery, or would they
sell their crude to T&T? A number of permutations can
be worked out that would benefit both countries,"
He said he was a strong advocate of Caricom
countries working together, not only in the
area of energy, but other areas as well.
"There could be a lot of synergies for T&T
and Guyana in terms of our assistance in devel-
oping the oil and gas industry there.
"If your refinery is operating at 60 per cent
capacity and you can get oil from Guyana that
takes that to 80 per cent or 90 per cent then that
means there are more opportunities for T&T s pro-
"With the vast lands that Guyana possesses which
T&T does not have, if we work closely with that coun-
try, we can feed the people of Caricom," he said.
Oil find in
step for T&T
Friday, September 25, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
President of Venezuela
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