Guyana could have reported rig eviction to UN Security Council

By Leonard Gildarie
Stabroek News
August 1, 2000

If it weren't for the intransigence of Suriname, CARICOM could have been successful in helping Guyana and its eastern neighbour to find a solution to their maritime dispute sparked by the CGX oil rig.

This is the view of former Foreign Minister, Rashleigh Jackson when he expanded on some of the views he had given in a recent television programme hosted by Cecil Griffith which was aired on Sunday on Channel 11 and another hosted by Christopher Ram which was aired on Channel 6 during last week.

Jackson was a member of the Guyana negotiating team which met with the Surinamese in Georgetown, Paramaribo and Montego Bay and was a part of the Guyana delegation to the CARICOM summit in Canouan, St Vincent and the Grenadines where the discussions between the two countries were held at the presidential level.

As to what were the initial steps Guyana could have taken in the dispute with Suriname, Jackson said that if it was that Paramaribo used force to evict the CGX rig from its drilling location in Guyana's maritime jurisdiction, then the matter could have been reported to the United Nations Security Council.

Also, he explained that under Article 51 of the UN Charter, which provides for a state's use of force for purposes of self defence, Guyana could have responded to Suriname's use of force and informed the Security Council of its actions. He said that the Security Council had the responsibility for the international preservation of peace and security.

He disagreed that the Guyana Defence Force was weak and so incapable of responding to Suriname's use of force, arguing that he would concede that it had certain deficiencies but not that it was incapable of responding.

Jackson explained that it was not good enough to blame CARICOM for not succeeding, pointing out that in his role of facilitator, Jamaica's Prime Minister, P J Patterson, had tried his utmost to nudge the two sides towards a solution. He stressed that Patterson's role was not that of a mediator or arbitrator.

Asked about the implications of the dispute between Guyana and Suriname for CARICOM, Jackson said that such disputes would be inevitable as the process of widening the Community proceeds.

In that case CARICOM's role should not necessarily be to create a new mechanism for settlement of such rows, but to encourage the parties to use the international mechanisms already in place.

However, he noted that what could be done was to see what mechanisms were available to the European Union and the older integration movements for the settlement of disputes between members states and which could be replicated for use in CARICOM.

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