first_imgOil bonusA decision was taken by Cabinet to set aside US$15 million from the signing bonus that Government received from US oil giant ExxonMobil to be used towards the border controversy case with Venezuela.Foreign Affairs Minister Carl GreenidgeThis disclosure was made by Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge on Tuesday during a press conference at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, South Road, Georgetown office.While Government had initially received the US$18 million bonus, Greenidge said it was decided that part of the bonus could be used for the legal challenge, while the remaining US$3 million was set aside for training.In that same breath, the Minister said there may be a need for more monies to assist with the legal case as the US$15 million may be inadequate. “It is not possible for me to say what it will cost, the lawyers themselves don’t know,” he explained to media operatives when asked to state how much more would be needed.Greenidge did, however, state that other needs may arise for additional skills and research, and this would require supplementary funds. He again stated, “The US$15 million may not be adequate.”He also reminded that it was Government’s intention to have portions of the signing bonus transferred to the Consolidated Fund whenever there was a need for finances relating to this matter.“So, for 2018, the Minister of Finance (Winston Jordan) will, down the road, come for supplementary funding, and it will be indicated at that time,” Greenidge explained to the media.Meanwhile, while Government has already started legal proceedings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the Minister explained that the ICJ will determine whether it has jurisdiction to address the matter.“That’s a routine, all of them do that. Having looked at the case and determined where they can look…, what is within their powers, they will say to the two parties ‘we will begin’ in which case, Guyana will be required to submit a full document of its case,” he said.When asked to provide the names of the members of the legal team that will represent Guyana at the ICJ, the Minister said it was too early to divulge such information and promised to do that at the appropriate time. There are, however, reports that Sir Shridath Ramphal will lead the Guyanese legal team.The Foreign Affairs Minister said whether or not Venezuela chose to participate in the case, at the end of the day, the ICJ’s ruling would be binding.This process, the Minister said, could require oral hearings and written submissions from both countries.The ICJ is now awaiting a response from Venezuela following the submission of the case by Guyana.Greenidge also used the opportunity to warn that the ICJ could use several grounds to ‘walk away’ from the case. As such, he urged the media and the public to be cautious in what they say and report on this sensitive matter. He said these things could interfere with the case.Some two months after United Nations Secretary General António Guterres had handed over the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy case to the ICJ for final settlement, formal proceedings were filed on March 30, asking the World Court to confirm the legal validity and binding effect of the 1899 Arbitral Award. Guyana’s application was submitted to the ICJ by Second Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister Greenidge.Secretary General Guterres earlier this year chose the ICJ as the next means of resolving the controversy, which arose as a result of Venezuela’s contention that the Arbitral Award of 1899 with regard to the frontier between British Guiana and Venezuela was null and void.According to Guyana’s application to the ICJ, Venezuela had, for more than 60 years, consistently recognised and respected the validity of the binding force of the 1899 Award and the 1905 Map agreed by both sides in furtherance of the Award.Guyana maintains that the 1899 Arbitral Award that settled the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela was full and final, but Venezuela has, for several decades, registered its diplomatic and military objection to Guyana’s development of its natural resources onshore and offshore the Essequibo.last_img