Caribbean leaders have endorsed and welcomed the appointment of University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor, Dr. Norman Girvan,  as Personal Representative of Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza,  to help settle the territorial dispute between Guyana and Venezuela.

Professor Girvan will lend support to Mr. Insulza, in his capacity as OAS Good Officer, to which he was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon in April 2010. Mr. Ban had also appointed Professor Girvan, then, to serve as his Personal Representative in the dispute.

In his role as Good Officer, Professor Girvan will assist Guyana and Venezuela in the search for a practical settlement to the border controversy which emerged from the latter nation’s contention that the Arbital Award of October 3, 1889, governing the matter, is null and void, thus claiming a significant amount of Guyana’s territory.

An internationally renowned Caribbean economist, academic and civil servant, Professor Girvan is a Research Fellow at the Graduate Institute of International Relations, UWI, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago.

He previously served as Secretary-General of the Association of the Caribbean States (ACS); Professor of Development Studies, and Director of the UWI’s Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, UWI; and Head of Jamaica’s National Planning Agency.   

A communiqué from the 22nd Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Government Heads in Grand Anse, Grenada, last weekend, said leaders “expressed satisfaction” with the appointment and the progress made to settle the matter, as well as strengthen relations between the nations. Additionally, the regional leaders re-affirmed their “unequivocal” support to maintaining and safeguarding Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

On another matter, the communiqué said the government heads welcomed efforts by Belize and Guatemala to settle the prevailing territorial row between them. They noted a report on the status of the relations between both nations and their commitment to simultaneously conduct referenda to decide whether the dispute should be referred to the International Court of Justice for final settlement, as required by a special agreement.

The communiqué said the leaders also welcomed efforts by both nations to improve the effectiveness of the Agreement on Confidence Building Measures to “reduce tensions”, pending a final resolution, and develop modes of functional co-operation in areas of mutual concern.

Additionally, the communiqué said the CARICOM heads commended the support forthcoming from the OAS and other stakeholders in helping to maintain peace and stability in the region. Further, that they have called on the international community to continue supporting the OAS and both countries, while re-affirming their “unequivocal support” for the “territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belize”.     



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