Jagdeo prepared to give Suriname copy of CGX licence

Stabroek News
September 5, 2000

President Bharrat Jagdeo said yesterday that he was prepared to make a copy of the CGX Energy Inc oil exploration contract available to Suriname.

He told reporters at a press conference at the Office of the President that the talks with Suriname on joint exploitation and management of the disputed maritime area should resume in Jamaica during the CARICOM-Canada summit being held later this month.

About his decision to make available to Suriname the CGX licence, which the government had earlier refused to do, President Jagdeo said that he had taken into consideration President Ronald Venetiaan's efforts to familiarise himself with all that had transpired in the discussions with the Jules Wijdenbosch administration. President Jagdeo said that from his discussions with President Venetiaan it did not seem as if he had been kept abreast of all that had transpired in the talks Guyana had with the Wijdenbosch administration. But President Venetiaan, while waiting to be inaugurated, had told Guyanese journalists that he was being kept abreast of the discussions with Guyana by the government of the day.

President Jagdeo said that for example, President Venetiaan had been informed that Suriname had not agreed to the whole statement on the issue by the CARICOM Heads at their summit in Canouan, St Vincent. This, he said, was contrary to Guyana's understanding as to what took place and CARICOM Secretary-General, Edwin Carrington, is to be asked to clarify the matter.

President Jagdeo said he understood that the clarification, when given, would accord with Guyana's record of the meeting that all the CARICOM Heads had agreed to the statement. As such, he said that President Venetiaan had to review the record of the negotiations so that when they resumed, the two sides would be proceeding from a common understanding of where the negotiations stood.

When the talks resume, Jamaica's Prime Minister, PJ Patterson will continue in his role as facilitator. Prime Minister Patterson was assigned this role at the CARICOM summit in Canouan.

The Guyanese Head of State said too that he had raised with Venetiaan, the incident at Scotsburg involving four Surinamese soldiers who had attempted to arrest a Guyanese passenger boat which they had chased to the Guyana shore. He said Venetiaan had promised that he would have the matter investigated and had assured him that no sinister motive by his government was behind the incident.

President Jagdeo expressed concern that he had not yet received a definitive report on the Scotsburg incident from the Defence Board. Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, had told reporters at a press briefing on Friday that civilian agencies had been tasked with investigating the incident.

Commenting on a report carried in the Stabroek News that Suriname had circulated maps to the United Nations, the Organisation of American States and CARICOM with what was described as its correct borders, President Jagdeo said that he would ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to investigate the matter. He said that if it was found that the report was accurate Guyana would make an appropriate response.

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