(GUYANA CHRONICLE) – PRIME Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr. Keith Rowley has pledged his country’s support for Guyana’s sovereignty amid claims by Venezuela.
“Trinidad and Tobago stands fully behind the position of Guyana with respect to its differences with Venezuela and as long as whatever has to be done is in keeping with that commitment, Trinidad and Tobago is of that position,” Prime Minister Rowley said, while fielding questions from reporters during a joint press conference at State House on Wednesday.
President David Granger, who held bilateral talks with his Trinidadian counterpart, indicated that Trinidad and Tobago has always been in support of Guyana’s rejection of the territorial claim by Venezuela. Presently, the Foreign Affairs Ministry is preparing to submit a memorial to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case concerning the Arbitral Award of October 1899 between Guyana and Venezuela.
By an order dated June 19, 2018, the ICJ fixed November 19, 2018 and April 18, 2019 as the respective time-limits for the filing of a memorial by the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and a Counter-Memorial by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Venezuela has indicated that it will not participate in the court’s proceedings.
The written pleadings, in the form of memorials will address the question of the jurisdiction of the court in hearing the case brought by the State of Guyana.
In March, Venezuela had indicated that it would not participate in the judicial proceedings, however, the Guyana Government has made it clear it will proceed with the case, noting that under Article 53 of the Statute of the Court, “whenever one of the parties does not appear before the Court, or fails to defend its case, the other party may call upon the Court to decide in favour of its claim.”
“Guyana is fully committed to the rule of law in international relations, including the peaceful resolution of disputes in conformity with international law. It trusts that the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations, will resolve the controversy with Venezuela in accordance with the law in a manner that is fair and equitable. It hopes that, in due course, Venezuela will reconsider its position and decide to appear in Court and defend its case. The Court’s rules allow for that,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said in a statement.
Guyana said that if Venezuela persists in its refusal to participate in the matter, the rules provide for the Court to proceed, after a full hearing of the case, to a final judgment that is legally binding on both the participating and non-participating parties.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to reiterate that Guyana fully respects the decision of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to choose the International Court of Justice as the means of settlement of the controversy and is confident that the Court is fully empowered to decide the case,” the Foreign Ministry added.
Guyana had filed an application with the ICJ on March 29, 2018, requesting the Court to confirm the legal validity and binding effect of the 1899 Arbitral Award regarding the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela. Guyana is contending that the 1899 Award was “a full, perfect, and final settlement” of all questions relating to determining the boundary line between the colony of British Guiana and Venezuela.