The Government of Guyana has refused an invitation to attend an oil and gas conference this June in Suriname over the country’s inclusion of the New River Triangle in its map.
Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud says several documents were sent to Guyana leading up to the conference, including a map of Suriname depicting the New River Triangle as Surinamese territory. The New River Triangle is recognized internationally as part of Guyana’s territory.
Persaud said he believed the action by Paramaribo questions Guyana’s territorial integrity and is disrespectful. In response, he explained, Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett has officially protested on Guyana’s behalf, while he has informed his counterpart in Suriname that Guyana cannot attend the conference under the circumstances.
The conference, Persaud said, will be attended by several countries and is aimed at exploring the prospects for oil and gas resources. Guyana’s and Suriname’s geologic profiles are similar, and there are several companies which operate in both states. There has therefore always been cooperation between the neighbouring South American countries on the matter of natural resources.
Despite the prospects though, the minister said, the line is drawn when Guyana’s territorial integrity is questioned.
Persaud said that the matter has not been reported to Caricom but is being handled bilaterally.
On several occasions in the 1960’s Guyana expelled Surinamese intruders from the New River area.