Notes From The Margin

July 27, 2007

How Trinidad Recognised Venezuela’s Claim to Most Of Guyana’s Land

trinidad-barbados-guyana-venezuela-boundary.jpg

The UNLOS dispute tribunal has come and gone and it’s decision has been made, however one of the root causes of the dispute stems from a treaty between Venezuela and Trinidad agreeing a maritime border.  This treaty (if you are interested in the details) is available on line Here:

Now the reasons for a treaty between Venezuela and Trinidad are perfectly logical.  The treaty would allow the exploitation of the oil expected to be found in the area. And the successful exploitation of these resources is what underpins much of today’s Trinidadian economy. The boundary agreed by the treaty is shown in the graphic.

However have a look at where the Guyana Venezuela border is…..

The only way that Venezuela could lay any claim to the eastermost part of the line set out in the treaty would be to operate on the basis of it’s claim of all of Guyana west of the Essiquibo River. Now the Venezuelans were consistent in their claim on this, but what is surprising here is that Trinidad would have known full well that in signing this treaty they were validating the Venezuelan’s claim, but they agreed anyway.

Now this treaty opened the door for offshore exploration of the offshore oil fields, and the Trinidadians pushed their claim further to the north to what is indicated as a purple line on the chart. This apparently went unchallenged by both Barbados and Guyana at the time. However the chain of events that started the whole UNLOS dispute, has it’s genesis in the Venezuelan/Guyanese border dispute.

And I bet that you always thought it was about fish….

Marginal

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20 Comments »

  1. Please fix the graphic.

    Comment by Anonymous — July 28, 2007 @ 6:55 pm | Reply

  2. If you click on the graphic you will get the full sized version of the file.
    Marginal

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — July 29, 2007 @ 1:37 am | Reply

  3. [...] The only way that Venezuela could lay any claim to the eastermost part of the line set out in the treaty would be to operate on the basis of it’s claim of all of Guyana west of the Essiquibo River. Now the Venezuelans were consistent in … …more [...]

    Pingback by Guyana » Blog Archive » How Trinidad Recognised Venezuela’s Claim to Most Of Guyana’s Land — August 4, 2007 @ 10:31 pm | Reply

  4. [...] How Trinidad Recognised Venezuela’s Claim to Most Of Guyana’s Land) [...]

    Pingback by Slow Movement Towards a Fishing Agreement « Notes From The Margin — August 6, 2007 @ 2:26 am | Reply

  5. NFTM, from what I have read of international law, I do not believe that a treaty between Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela can have any effect on Guyana’s territorial claims. However, I would have to read what the treaty states on this matter. However, your note suggests that you have an opinion on this matter that you have not really stated.

    I seem to recall that the Arbitral tribunal that issued a judgement on the Barbados marine boundary dispute with Trinidad and Tobago took no notice of the T&T treaty with Venezuela as far as Barbados’claims were concerned.

    Comment by Linchh — September 22, 2007 @ 8:05 pm | Reply

  6. Linchh,

    The point you raise is quite correct, one of the main stumbling blocks to a “fishing agreement” between Barbados and Trinidad was the insistence by Port of Spain that Barbados recognise the boundary in the TnT/Venezuela treaty and it’s effect on Trinidad’s territory.

    UNLOS council quite logically rejected this as it is impossible for two contracting parties to involve a third unknowing party without their consent.

    The treaty is explicity silent on the Guyana/Venezuela dispute, however the position of the boundary of what it recognises as “Venezuelan waters” logically implies Venezuela’s claim of the “Zona de Relcamacion”.

    Marginal

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — September 23, 2007 @ 1:16 am | Reply

  7. NFTM, don’t you think that you should revise your blog in the light of the admissions that you have made in your response to my comments?

    Comment by Linchh — September 24, 2007 @ 3:00 am | Reply

  8. The point of this post is that a Caricom country for reasons of its own self interest, effectively recognised the claim of a non Caricom country of most of the territory of Guyana (a fellow member of Caricom). While this had no “legal” impact per se on Guyana’s defence of it’s territory, it did speak volumes about the committment of Caricom members to Caricom. It also would provide the Venezuelan’s with an additional argument (however fallacious) in the court of public opinion. Further it was due to the acceptance Venezulan territorial claims that Trinidad was “forced” into a position that led it into conflict with Barbados (although we could also argue that the Trini’s put themselves there).

    The net effect of this is that Trinidad has now been locked into a reduced territory (See our post about “How Much Gas does Trinidad Have). And Venezuela’s strategic objectives have been preserved.

    In short, No we don’t think we should ammend the blog.

    Marginal

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — September 24, 2007 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

  9. NFTM, I am pleased to see that my suggestion that you should amend your original post prompted you to state that “(T)he point of this post is that a Caricom country for reasons of its own self interest, effectively recognised the claim of a non Caricom country of most of the territory of Guyana (a fellow member of Caricom). While this had no “legal” impact per se on Guyana’s defence of it’s territory, it did speak volumes about the committment of Caricom members to Caricom.” I suspected that this was one of your major concerns in posting the blog, so I chose to ask a number of questions to encourage you to be specific about it.

    I agree that despite the lip service that is paid to the notion of a Caribbean Community, whenever a member is faced with choosing between community interests and national interests, the latter always prevails. It is ironic that the majority of CARICOM members acted in exactly the same manner when they joined Venezuela in the PETROCARIBE Agreement, at the expense of petroleum supply arrangements with Trinidad.

    I wonder whether Guyana has had any discussion with T&T about cooperation in the development of the former’s petroleum resources. If so then T&T and Guyana would have a shared interest in securing a better outcome for Guyana in its territorial dispute with Venezuela.

    Comment by Linchh — September 24, 2007 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

  10. The unquestioning acceptance of Petro Caribe by several members of the Caribbean community flies in the face of good sense as well as the Caricom treaty. We’ve pointed this out several times on this blog. However Trinidad was quite significantly disadvantaged by the treaty. Guyana apparently has not yet signed on the dotted line.

    Trinidad and Guyana don’t share a border in the current configuration but I have to wonder what would happen if Guyana were to attempt to negotiate a maritime border with Trinidad based on it’s “acknowleged” territory, what the reaction of Venezuela would be.

    Provides an interesting line of thought doesn’t it?

    Marginal

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — September 24, 2007 @ 8:46 pm | Reply

  11. NFTM, you said: “Trinidad and Guyana don’t share a border in the current configuration but I have to wonder what would happen if Guyana were to attempt to negotiate a maritime border with Trinidad based on it’s “acknowleged” territory, what the reaction of Venezuela would be.” However, in your previous comments you suggested that T&T has “effectively recognised” Venezuela’s claim to an area that Guyana claims to be part of its territority.

    If the treaty between Venezuela and T&T has legal standing can T&T effectively recognise ownership of the same geographical space that is contested by two different claimants?

    Comment by Linchh — September 25, 2007 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  12. That is the flaw in the argument, it would require Trinidad to repudiate the Venezuelan treaty.

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — September 25, 2007 @ 9:42 pm | Reply

  13. NFTM, unfortunately, for T&T to behave in such a cavalier manner would involve consequences. I would like to believe that the treaty that T&T negotiated with Venezuela involved a careful analysis of costs and benefits (among which might even have been the impact on the territorial dispute with Guyana). I don’t see T&T doing anything to sour its relations with Venezuela on this matter.

    Comment by Linchh — September 26, 2007 @ 6:18 pm | Reply

  14. Let’s hope and pray that america will take out that terrorist called chavez … and turn their land into a mud land … long live Guyana … death to venezuela

    Comment by Abdullah — December 4, 2007 @ 4:41 am | Reply

    • in you pussy deams!!! short live to guyana!! guyana sucks!!!

      Comment by anonimous — October 30, 2011 @ 3:01 am | Reply

  15. Regarding the comment of Abdullah (Nº14): You bastard…. You are the tipical guy that talk in these forums were people try to sustain and idea with arguments and suddenly you come with your fascist comment about our Venezuelan brithers… For too much, I prefer Mr. Chávez than the queen. Have the UK gave to our people what we and other countries as Venezuela as gave to us?? NOOO!… Our past is full of colonialism and division and you are a son of that they want… If we were united as Bolivar said (In fact, a Venezuelan) we would be stronger a free!!!… Long life to Venezuela, long life to its people and President Chávez!!!…

    Comment by Hackensack — June 1, 2009 @ 12:06 am | Reply

  16. Very interesting this article. Venezuela-Guyana dispute is a very sensitive case indeed.

    Comment by Anita Velasquez — September 2, 2009 @ 8:57 pm | Reply

  17. Trinidad & Tobago will not allow Barbados to into our territory un challenged we will go to war if we have to!

    Comment by John — October 28, 2009 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

  18. John,

    you are being a twit. It never was your territory to begin with, just because us say water 40 miles off Barbados is urs doesn’t make it so.

    What happened is that you all were fool enough to accept a Venezuela position without thinking thru the implications. So you guys are now screwed by your own greed.

    Comment by huh? — October 28, 2009 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  19. this land is belong to venezuela any body know that only take a logic way , we going backward to the registration of the lands before ducth , as well english arrived there , the maps of the venezuela register by the spaniard crown show esequibo belong to them , simple as that , the matter is english created a supremacy by military mean forcing a fake treatty again venezuela due that venezuela at this time havent got any way to support itself in front of any military empire ,
    esequibo is belong to venezuela even is the the are not many people from venezuela there , what happen if you have a house with some empty room , those room are close to you neigbour house , that postion make your neigbour own your rooms
    of course not

    Comment by aaa — April 18, 2012 @ 6:43 am | Reply


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