Motion approved applauding gov’t, agents on maritime tribunal move

The National Assembly last night approved a motion acknowledging with appreciation the Guyana Government for having the courage and wisdom to take the Guyana claim on the Suriname maritime boundary to the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

The motion, tabled by Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee, was in keeping with Guyana’s initiation of arbitration proceedings at the ITLOS for the delimitation of its maritime boundary with Suriname on February 24, 2004. Both Guyana and Suriname were parties to the UN Convention for the Law of the Sea.

Apart from the boundary delimitation Guyana also asked the tribunal to find and declare that Suriname breached international law by the use of threat and by using force against a CGX rig in June 2000.

The tribunal made its award, considered to be favourable to Guyana, on September 17, 2007.

While the government MPs voted in favour of the first resolve clause acknowledging the “Government of Guyana for having the courage and wisdom” to take the claim to the arbitral tribunal, the opposition voted against it.

PNCR-1G MP, Aubrey Norton sought an amendment to delete “courage and wisdom” and to include after the government of Guyana “the opposition political parties in parliament and the people of Guyana for having been able to arrive at a consensus and agree” to take the Guyana claim to the tribunal. This was however defeated.

The second resolve clause calling on the National Assembly to place on record its appreciation and recognition of the work done by “the Guyana team of distinguished Agents and Counsel and the support work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Archives, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission and many researchers and friends and supporters of Guyana” was unanimously approved.

The third resolve clause calling on the National Assembly to unanimously note with approval the award of the arbitral tribunal and ordering that it be incorporated into the official records of the Guyana Parliament, was finally passed without opposition after Norton’s motion for an amendment to substitute the words “notes with approval” with “accept the findings of” failed to get support from the government MPs. Apart from Rohee, Prime Minister Sam Hinds, PPP/C MP Bernard De Santos, TUF Leader Manzoor Nadir and PPP/C MP Odinga Lumumba from the government benches gave their full support to the motion while PNCR-1G MPs, Norton, Winston Murray and Africo Simon, and AFC MP Khemraj Ramjattan, queried parts of the motion and voted against one clause though giving overall support to the motion.

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