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Regional News

May 12, 2004
Moving forward on the maritime border dispute Editorial
Guyana Chronicle

GUYANA AND Suriname have been invited to meet with the President of the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, less than three months after Guyana formally sought the intervention of the United Nations to hasten the resolution of their maritime boundary dispute.

President Jagdeo had anticipated the Tribunal being ready to hear the case six months after Guyana 's submission of its document to the tribunal on February 25. So officials here hope the call to a meeting with the disputants meets that projected timeframe.

As the President said in his address to the nation in February, it shouldn't have been necessary for Guyana to approach the UN for a resolution of the dispute. In the light of what appears to be cordial relations between the neighbors, Georgetown and Paramaribo should have been able to resolve the issue bilaterally. Besides, "it is the poorest in both countries who are most damaged," said President Jagdeo , by policies and actions that undermine socioeconomic progress.

Ultimately, after exhausting bilateral forums, and especially after Suriname had its gunboats forcibly remove the oil rig of CGX Energy Inc. of Canada from the Corentyne River on June 3, 2000 , Guyana had little option but to seek international community intervention.

At the time Surinamese gunboats chased CGX Energy Inc. from the Corentyne River, the oil exploration company had begun plans to drill for oil on the concession zone that it believed contained at least two potentially world class giant oilfields.

CGX estimated that its Eagle and Wishbone concessions contained reserves of approximately 800 and 400 million barrels of oil, respectively.

It is just that kind of economic activity we crave to "ultimately determine Guyana 's capacity for raising living standards for all our people - but especially for the poorest in our community."

CGX is currently preparing to begin doing onshore drilling in Berbice. CGX has recorded the first seismic images at its onshore concessions on the Corentyne Coast , and it been training more than 100 workers in various aspects of the fieldwork while over 10% of the "shot holes" have been completed.

With the prospects of GCX's operations producing "liquid gold" on the Corentyne and elsewhere, all Guyana is looking forward the maritime boundary dispute between Guyana and Suriname being resolved as quickly as possible.

It is to be hoped, therefore, that the invitation to the two countries to meet with the President of the International tribunal on the Law of the Sea in Hamburg , Germany , today will lead to be beginning of the end to the boundary controversy and the resumption of comprehensive development activities in Guyana 's rich offshore resources.

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