Guyanese urged not to do anything to derail ICJ process as US$15M set aside for proceedings

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Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge

Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, says as the legal process in the Guyana/Venezuela border case advances at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), additional monies may be required to cover all legal expenses.

He told media operatives, during a news conference on Monday that US$15M have been set aside for this process, but this sum may not be sufficient.

“The process could take anywhere from two to six years and in those circumstances it is not possible for me to say what it will cost. I don’t know; the lawyers themselves don’t know because they don’t know what they will be called on by the Court to do and what research they will be required to unearth and what additional skills they may have to go and pull in.”

He said it is possible for the court to walk away from the case, so he has urged Guyanese, “not to do anything that could derail the process.”

Minister Greenidge said, “It is for all of us as Guyanese to ensure that we don’t contribute to undermining our own situation. “The UN SG (Secretary General) said to me when I met with him last week that Guyana has done well, but the court is a very particular place and it is quite possible for a court to walk away from a case and therefore, please respect the protocols.”

The US$15M that the South American country has set aside for legal fees is coming from the US$18M signing bonus, which ExxonMobil Guyana paid to the Government in June 2016 as a signature bonus.

The Minister also urged for patience, as he indicated that the process ahead will be “long and difficult.”

Venezuela has already been asked by the court to respond to Guyana’s application.

The official application was filed by Mr. Greenidge in The Hague on March 29. It has since been published on the ICJ’s website.

In its application, Guyana is requesting that the court intervene to declare that the 1899 Award is valid and binding and the boundary established by that Award and the 1905 Agreement is valid and binding on Guyana and Venezuela.