Govt turns down Greenidge’s request to report directly to Ali

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…. says APNU+AFC had excluded key officials from border case 

A request by Carl Greenidge, the Government’s Adviser on Borders and Agent before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to report directly to President Irfaan Ali or Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, has reportedly been turned down, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation making it pellucid that the Agent does not operate independent to the Foreign Minister.

“The Agent does not act independently of the Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation or the other members of the local team. He reports to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and is supported by two Co-Agents representing Guyana. They are Sir Shridath Ramphal and Ambassador Elisabeth Harper, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement late Tuesday night.

Adviser on Border, Carl Greenidge

It came hours after a letter which was written to President Ali by Greenidge was leaked to the press. In that letter dated April 7, 2021, Greenidge asked that he reports directly to the President or Vice President due to the unsavory conduct of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Hugh Todd and Minister of Governance Gail Teixeira during a Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) meeting. Further, he had asked that Minister Todd be removed from the management of the Guyana-Venezuela ICJ case.

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“Going forward, another person should be chosen to chair the MAC if it retains its responsibility for ICJ matters because it is difficult to see how the Committee can constructively contribute to the task of winning the case at the ICJ if it is to be used as a partisan vehicle,” Greenidge wrote.

But the Foreign Ministry, in its statement, submitted that traditionally the portfolio of Agent in litigation of inter-state disputes before the ICJ is often held by serving ministers, however, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) upon taking office opted to be inclusive in its approach towards tackling the case before the ICJ in keeping with its manifesto promise.

“The portfolio of Agent requires no special expertise in law since the advocates and counsel contracted are responsible for the preparation of the written and oral pleadings of Guyana. The Agent’s role is to ensure that there are administrative linkages between Guyana, its international lawyers and the International Court of Justice and to be the liaison between the Government and the international legal team on the policy and substantive issues being addressed by that team,” the Foreign Ministry explained.

Greenidge had also expressed concern over the involvement of Ambassador Keith George in the ICJ case, saying that while he is not without skills he is no lawyer or expert on maritime matters.

But the Foreign Ministry said Ambassador George was among key officials excluded from the case despite having years of experience and professional knowledge on the Guyana-Venezuela Border controversy.

“His Excellency Ambassador Keith George, who served as Head of the Frontiers Department for 12 years prior to being appointed Guyana’s Ambassador to Suriname, and who spent the past 21 years on matters related to Guyana’s land and maritime boundaries, was excluded. Ambassador George well recognised for the integral role he played in the years leading up to and ending with the arbitration that delimited the maritime boundary with the Republic of Suriname. Ms. Donnette Streete who has 14 years of experience in the Frontiers Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and is the Department’s current Director was not fully involved in the matter. Ms. Trishala Persaud, who served as Head of the Legal and Treaties Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being posted to Guyana’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, was also not fully involved in the matter. Several other persons with great knowledge of the boundaries of Guyana because of their background in the security services of Guyana were not invited to provide their inputs,” the Foreign Ministry detailed.

It further clarified that the Ministry’s aim is to ensure all available local expertise, specialist and technical support and assistance are made available to Guyana’s international legal team. It also refuted claims that the Ministry was dissatisfied with the performance of the international team. “There was therefore never any reason to question the competence of the international team of lawyers who are not only held in extremely high esteem but also are regarded as the best that can be put together to represent Guyana’s interests,” it said.

Noting that the timing of the publication of the letter is peculiar, the Ministry noted that on Tuesday (November 16) the Foreign Minister met with Greenidge along with Ralph Ramkarran and the Foreign Secretary Robery Persaud, and had what was described as a cordial meeting.



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Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice. Amid his trials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge has picked up two nominations for the post of leader of the Peoples National Congress Reform. Greenidge has been conspicuously absent from the affairs of the party following the March 2020 elections. Having served in the David Granger administration […]

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