Developments in Guyana’s foreign relations continue to move in a positive direction as the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, informed Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, of the appointment of Professor Norman Girvan as his personal representative and Good Officer to assist Guyana and Venezuela in the border issue.
A release from the Foreign Affairs Ministry stated that this appointment is a critical part of the search to find a practical settlement of the issue that emerged from the Venezuelan position that the Arbitral Award of October 3, 1899, which definitively established the territorial boundary between Guyana and Venezuela, is null and void.
The release stated that Government welcomes the appointment, “which would now enable Guyana and Venezuela to resuscitate discussions under the Good Offices of the United Nations.”
A series of coordinated efforts facilitated the appointment, which was stepped up in 2009 when the foreign ministers of Guyana and Venezuela agreed to jointly meet with the Secretary General on this matter during the official visit of Guyana’s foreign minister to Caracas on July 11, 2009.
Ministers Rodrigues-Birkett and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela met with the Secretary General in New York in October, 2009, to seek the resuscitation of the good offices process through the appointment of a personal representative. The seat was vacant because of the death, in January, 2007, of Oliver Jackman, who served in that capacity from October 1999 to January 2007.
The announcement of the appointment of Professor Girvan is an outcome of that meeting, and effectively brings to the mediation table the expertise of an internationally renowned Caribbean economist, academic and international civil servant, who also possesses valuable experience as a former Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States