Suriname did give CGX ship permission to turn in waters -sources
May 3, 2004
Contrary to reports in the Surinamese daily De Ware Tijd (DWT) last week, Suriname was aware of the survey activities by the Cana-dian company, CGX Energy in 1999 and had given permission for its survey ship, MV Kenda, to turn around in Surinamese waters.
The DWT report quoted former Surinamese president Dr Jules Wijdenbosch as denying statements by President Bharrat Jagdeo that Suriname would have been aware that the Guyana government had granted CGX a licence to explore for oil in that part of Guyana's exclusive economic zone which Suriname claims. He said that in turning around, the survey ship would have needed permission from Paramaribo to enter Surinamese maritime territory. It had recently been suggested by Suriname that it was unaware that CGX had been granted a licence and this was one of the reasons for its gunboats evicting the CGX rig from Guyana's waters in June 2000.
CGX sources have told Stabroek News that the seismic survey was done in the Corentyne Block offshore Guyana in June 1999 in collaboration with the Spanish company REPSOL, which only recently signed a production sharing agreement with Suriname to explore for oil in its maritime territory.
The sources said that CGX shared its results with REPSOL which in turn shared its survey results on the Georgetown Block. The survey involved the MV Kenda trailing a cable along an 1800-kilometre stretch of water in the Corentyne Block and the maritime authorities here sought and obtained permission from the Surinamese authorities which required the MV Kenda to turn off its recordings while traversing Surinamese waters. The sources said that neither the Guyanese maritime authorities nor CGX were informed of any objection to the survey by Suriname.
Meanwhile Foreign Ministry officials have confirmed that Suriname has officially protested the alleged incursion of a Guyana Defence Force helicopter into its airspace while on a trip to the Amerindian village of Orealla. The Surinamese claim that the helicopter was in the vicinity of its new army barracks at Apoera, which it says is 30 kilometres south of Orealla. A Foreign Ministry statement denied that the helicopter had violated Surina-mese airspace.
As a result of the incident, DWT said that former secretary to the Suriname border commission Radjen Kisoen-singh has called on the Surinamese government to increase patrols in the Corentyne River as well as in the border area to prevent further "provocation". Kisoen-singh is also quoted as saying that the incursions occur whenever there are border conflicts between Guyana and Suriname.