Guyana's drive to tap resources prompted pressure from neighbours
- Jagdeo

Stabroek News
August 12, 2000

Guyana's move to utilise its resources in a particular way was the motive for the actions by its neighbours Suriname and Venezuela pressing their claims to territory in the east and west of Guyana respectively.

Speaking with reporters yesterday after signing the Ethnic Relations Bill into law, President Jagdeo, told reporters "the timing of the issues that came up had to do more with Guyana utilising its resources in a particular way."

"The Surinamese government responded to the CGX arrangements because we were going to utilise our resources in that part of Guyana and the Venezuelans because of the Beal project. So I think that the timing has more to do with elections in those countries and also with Guyana exercising its right to use all parts of the country."

The three presidents are due to attend the South American Heads of Government Summit in Brazil later this month and President Jagdeo said that if he and his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, were to meet during that forum their foreign ministers would have to determine the agenda well ahead of the meeting.

President Jagdeo plans to meet with Suriname's new president, Ronald Venetiaan who is being sworn in today, to pursue an agreement which would allow for the joint management and utilisation of the maritime area which is at the centre of their border dispute pending a final resolution.

The discussions on this issue were broken off by Guyana because of the intransigence of the administration of Venetiaan's predecessor in office, Dr Jules Wijdenbosch, which defeated the best efforts of Jamaica's Prime Minister, P J Patterson, to broker an agreement after discussions in Montego Bay and Kingston last month. Before the talks in Jamaica, the two sides had failed to reach agreement after previous rounds on the issue in Port-of-Spain, Georgetown, Paramaribo, and Canouan in St Vincent.

The failure of the two sides to reach an agreement resulted in CGX Energy abandoning the Guyana-Suriname basin because its oil rig could not have returned unhindered to its drilling location in Guyana's maritime jurisdiction from which it was evicted by Surinamese gunboats on June 3.

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