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Asunto:[CeHuNews] 68/03 - History of the Republic of Guyana
Fecha:Lunes, 19 de Mayo, 2003  17:16:10 (-0300)
Autor:Humboldt <humboldt>

CeHuNews 68/03

History of the Republic of Guyana


 Set like a gem in the crown of South America, nestled on the North-Eastern shoulder, defying the raging Atlantic Ocean, Guyana's many waterways reflect the source of it's name "The Land of Many Waters"

 Guyana was discovered in 1498 by the Europeans, its history; therefore stretches back a bit more than 500 years!. Guyana's past is punctuated by battles fought and won, possessions lost and regained as the Spanish, French, Dutch and British wrangled for centuries to own this land.

???? The Amerindians migrate to, and inhabit South America. The legend of the Empire Of Eldorado is born.

1593 -The earliest account of the territory of Guiana is made in a dispatch to the Royal Council of Spain in which the Governor of Trinidad, Antonio de Berreo, describes his journey down the Oronoco and his attempt to explore Guiana.

1594 -Sir Robert Dudley makes inquiries about the rumoured Empire of El Dorado when his ship puts in to Trinidad. A small boat is sent to investigate and its crew returns to say that the natives (Amerindians)had told them of gold-mines so rich that the people of the country powdered themselves with gold dust. 'And farre beyond them', they said, 'a great towne called El Dorado, with many other things.'

1598 -The Dutch make their first voyage to Guiana.

1621 - Dutch West India Company receives a charter for the Essequibo.

1640 - Slaves arrive in the colonies from Africa.

1657 -A small Dutch settlement is established on the Pomeroon River.

1666 - War breaks out between England and Holland.

1763 -The Berbice Slave Rebellion breaks out (at the time when Berbice is a separate Dutch colony). It begins on one estate, but soon spreads to others along the Berbice River. The revolt is the result of  the cruelty with which the Dutch plantation owners have been treating  their slaves, and it is  led by a male slave called Coffy. The few hundred white settlers are soon overwhelmed, and the uprising will only be put down after the arrival of warships and with the help of troops from as far away as Barbados.

[Coffy will commit suicide three months after the beginning of the affair . His followers will be hunted down for another year, before the Dutch authorities will be satisfied that the rebellion has been crushed.]

1781 -War breaks out between England and Holland. The colonies of Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice are taken by the English.

1782 -  Some months later, the French, who are also at war with England (and who are the allies of Holland), under the command of the Marquis de Lusignan (whose name is perpetuated in the plantation of that name) take the three colonies.  The French build  Fort Dauphin at the mouth of the Demerara, and nearby, begin to build  a new town - "Longchamps".

1783/4 - (a) The colonies are restored to Holland. (b)Longchamps is chosen  as the site of the new colonial capital, later to be called Stabroek. (c) The Dutch  move the seat of Government for the Demerara territory down river to its mouth, where they begin to build the town of Stabroek in a geometrical 'grid-iron' system of streets, divided by canals in the manner of their home-country. (d) The Dutch build a series of  sluice-gates or kokers at points where the canals meet the Demerara estuary. At high tide, the kokers form a barrier between the  Atlantic Ocean and the canals. At low tide they are opened to allow the accumulated water from the land to flow away.

1796 -War breaks out again  between England and Holland. The colonies are taken by England, for the second time.

1802 -At the peace of Amiens, Guiana is returned to the Dutch. English settlers are given three years to wind up their affairs, and to then leave.

1803 - War breaks out again between England and Holland. In September, Hood arrives at the mouth of the Demerara, and demands the surrender of the Colony. Guiana is handed over without fighting, never again to be returned to Holland.

1811 - The first St. George's (Church) is constructed in George Town (on the site where St. George's school now stands).

1812 - The town of Stabroek is renamed 'Georgetown'.

1814 - Demerara, Essequibo and Berbice are assigned to England during the Great peace.

1822 - The Town of New Amsterdam is laid out in Berbice.

1823 - There is a slave insurrection on the East Coast of Demerara.

1828 - The Public Buildings (now Parliament Buildings) are built - Hadfield, architect. (completed 1834)

1830 - The 103ft tall, red and white striped Lighthouse is erected at the mouth of the Demerara River (Water Street). It replaces the original wooden structure that was built in 1817 by the Dutch.

1833 -The Act Of Abolition of slavery is passed. The slaves are not granted full freedom, but are bound to their masters for three-quarters of each day for a period of seven years.

1835 - Portuguese labourers are imported for work on the plantations. (Almost one thousand immigrant Portuguese die from tropical diseases).

1837 - John Gladstone suggests  East Indian indentured labour as a solution to the drifting of Africans from the plantations to the towns. Permission is granted to bring 'Coolies' for his two plantations.

1837 - While exploring what was then British Guiana, botanist Robert Schomburgk stumbles across a spectacular water lily of gigantic proportions. Stretching about six feet across, the lily-pad looks like an enormous pie plate and can easily support a coiled boa napping in the shade of its tremendous blossom, which boasts an expansive corolla that runs the gamut of pink between its pearly white petals, and bright red center. The chivalrous Schomburgk christens the future pride of  botanical gardens "the Victoria Regia" in honour of the British sovereign.

1837 - Georgetown has its first Mayor and Town Council.

1838 - A floating light is placed on the Demerara 'Bar'.

1838 - August 1st,"Full and unqualified liberation of the Negroes".

1838 - The first indentured labourers drawn from the hill areas of South India, arrive in Guiana. 156 East Indians arrive from Calcutta on the "Hesperus". They are under indenture for a five year period, and for the first part, they are housed and given rations, but are not paid. Great mistreatment of the labourers result in prosecution of some of the planters.

1838 - Schomburg discovers Mount Roraima.

1838 - The Colony is divided by ordinance into the three counties of Demerara, essequibo, and Berbice.

1839 - Four hundred German Rinelanders and Wurtembergers are enticed to British Guiana. (Almost all succumb to tropical diseases).

1842 -Georgetown is declared a city.

1842 - In June, a new and larger St. George's (church) is opened (on the present site) in Georgetown. This building will later become the first St. George's Cathedral.

1843 - The corner stone for the Public Buildings (now the Parliament Buildings) is laid in Georgetown.

1843 - The end of the first period of indenture. Many of the labourers return to India.

The 1840's - England suspends the indentured labourer system. Immigrant labour from India, Portugal (mainly Madeira) and China is permitted, under Government control.

1844 - Queen's College is founded.

1848 - The Demerara Railway Company introduces the railway in British Guiana. The railway runs from Georgetown for 60 miles down the Atlantic coast, to Rosignol on the Berbice River.

1853 - January 12th. The first contract Chinese labourers arrive in British Guiana on the "Glentanner". Most are assigned to Windsor Forest, Pouderoyen and La Jelousie estates.

1856 - February 18th,Georgetown riots - property of Portuguese destroyed.

1860 - March 11th. The first female Chinese labourers arrive on the "Whirlwind".

1864 - The Mahaica Bridge is opened.

1870 -Members of a geological survey team discover the Kaieteur Fall on the Potaro River in central Guyana.

1874 - The last contract Chinese labourers arrive in Demerara.

1879 - Between 1879 and 1884 the Botanical Gardens are laid out on the site of an abandoned sugar plantation - Vlissengen. Located at the eastern end of the city's limits, the gardens are laid out by a Trinidadian - J. F. Waby, from plans previously prepared by another Trinidadian - botanist H. Prestoe.

1880's -The Stabroek Market is built. This structure is inspired by the Dutch style of building. It is a long gabled building framed in iron with a facade of white and brick-red painted wood, with  a central clock tower, capped by a red pyramid supported by slender posts on a balconied roof.

1882 -As a barrier, the 'kokers' are inefficient; the sea and the river are constantly encroaching on Stabroek. In 1882, construction of the Sea Wall is completed, and keeps the water under control.

1884 - The Promenade Garden is extended to its present (21st century)proportions on an entire city block (east of State House.) This area was once used as a public display for the hanging of slaves who were connected with the 1823 East Coast rebellion.

1884 - Sir Everard Im Thurn ascends Mt. Roraima.

1889 - The Town  Hall (now the City Hall) is opened in the city of Georgetown.

1890 - Secondary diamond deposits are discovered in Western Guyana. (Since 1890, Guyana has produced 4.5 million carats).

1892 - A new St. George's Cathedral (the fourth St. George's structure) is constructed in the city of Georgetown.

1899 - The International Tribunal establishes the country's borders.

1900 - October 18The jagans, Cheddie's parents, left Calcutta in the "Elbe". Arrived Demerara on January 5th, 1901.

1904 - The demarcation of the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela in accordance with the 1899 Award of the Paris Tribunal, is completed.

In June the King of Italy hands down his award in the arbitration proceedings between Brazil and British Guiana.

1917 - The Government of India abolishes the indentured system. No more East Indian labour is allowed to enter Guiana.

1923 - The old drainage system, which provided an excellent breeding ground  for disease and insects, is replaced by a pipe-line sewage system. The introduction of the pipe-line sewage system permits the filling-in of many of the central canals . (The avenue which now, in 2001, runs down Main Street was once a canal filled with the Victoria Regia lily plants.)

1928 - The Constitution is changed, and women are given the vote on the same terms as men.

1946 - Census - population 375,819

1950 - A piped supply of potable water is made available in  Georgetown.

1953 - The Waddington Constitution is suspended on December 22nd. The Royal Welsh Fusiliers are dispatched to British Guiana to control any outbreak of violence which may follow the suspension. The House Of  Assembly is disbanded. All political parties are forbidden to hold  meetings, and certain P.P.P. leaders are forbidden to leave Georgetown. The Legislative Council is now composed of nominated and ex-officio members.

1954 - On June 6, the British Guiana Credit Corporation commences its operation. This facility's objective is to provide credit for the development of small businesses.
The construction of 18 low cost houses ($1,150.00 each) at east la Penitence Housing Scheme is started.
The Potaro Hydro Electric Company Limited, which proposes to investigate the feasibility of exploring British Guiana's hydro-electric potential, is registered.

1955 - British Guiana Airways is purchased by the Government for  Stg.823,000 from Colonel Art Williams.

1957 - In June, the Clerical Workers' Union changes its name to The Clerical and Commercial Union.

1958 - The Legislative Council passes a resolution exhorting the British Government to grant Cabinet status to British Guiana, as it had conceded to both Trinidad and Jamaica.

1961 - Elections under Internal Self-Government Constitution. The PPP Party is victorious.

1962 - Arthur Schlesinger, U.S. Secretary of State visits British Guiana and concludes that Dr. Jagan's heart is with the Communist world, and although all alternatives to Dr. Jagan are terrible, he feels that if Mr. Burnham 'will commit himself to a multi-racial policy' an independent British Guiana under him would cause the U.S. fewer problems than one under Dr. Jagan.

The February Riot Commission sits from June 22 to 28th in Georgetown. Senior Counsel Lionel Luckhoo submits DR. Jagan to a robust examination in which Dr. Jagan admits that he is 'a communist'. The circumstances of this admission seriously affects the U.S. attitude to Dr. Jagan and to British Guiana and paves the way for their promotion of Mr. Burnham to political power in Guyana.

1963 - On June 21, 1963, as U.S. President John Kennedy and a high powered team prepares for a meeting with British Prime Minister Harold McMillan and his team at Birch Grove in the U.K., the State Department instructs its U.K. embassy by telegram to let it be known that McMillan had agreed that H.M.G. no longer has any faith in Dr. Jagan, preferring Mr. Burnham as the more manageable alternative. At the Birch Grove meeting, it is decided to establish a Burnham-D'Aguair Government and grant British Guiana independence.

Five people including a High School student are shot and several people beaten as a new wave of violence hits the city on June 11 and June 12.

Georgetown is declared a 'Proclamation Area' and another ban is put on all public meetings.

The Guyana Rice Marketing Board escapes being demolished when a large quantity of dynamite is discovered under the wharf. Two ships, one belonging to the Russian and the other Cuban, recently berthed, also escapes destruction.

1964 - Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Janet Jagan, resigns her post claiming she had no control over the police. Essentially her resignation is in protest of the police inaction to the violence perpetrated against Indians at Wismar-Christianburg earlier in May.

Violence erupts on an intensified scale soon after the arrival on June 17 of a Cuban tanker M.V. Cuba bringing much needed fuel and gasoline to the colony. The forces opposed to the Government of the day had organized an embargo and as such, vital supplies of necessities were delayed. The Cuban vessel is interpreted as breaking the embargo and the opposition parties let loose the 'Gods of War' in Georgetown and its environs.

The Parliament Building is blockaded by angry protesters who assault Ministers and civil servants who dare to remain on the job.

An incendiary device is thrown into the Hadfield Street home of Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Hydraulics, 52-year-old Mr. Arthur Abraham, causing his death. Seven of his nine children also die. After the fire, four bodies are found huddled together on the stairway and three on the upper flat.

Prime Minister, Harold McMillan, speaking in the House of Commons, on June 17, recommends that the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Meeting should consult on the crisis situation in British Guiana. On June 24th Prime Minister DR. Cheddie Jagan concurrs.

1964 - Proportional Representative System. A coalition Government of PNC and UF attains power.

1965 - A three storied building which houses the U.S. Consulate and the JFK Library is bombed on June 24. Miss Shakira Baksh (later to be Mrs. Michael Caine) is injured in the blast.

On November 15th, 1965 New "Bank Of Guyana" notes come into circulation in denominations of $1, $5, $10, and $20.

1966 - May 26th,Independence. The colony of British Guiana becomes independent of British rule, and is known as Guyana.

1966 - On June 23, officials from both Guyana and Suriname begin talks in London in relation to the countries' border dispute.

 1966 - British troops leave Guyana.

1969 - The protocol of Port-of-Spain is signed by Guyana and Venezuela leading to a 12-year moratorium on the boundary controversy.

1970 - February 23rd,Guyana, the independent country  -  becomes a Co-operative Republic, and is now known as the "Republic Of Guyana".

    A persistent threat to Guyana's territorial integrity

    by Cedric L. Joseph

    The conflicting accounts of reported statements made recently in Venezuela and Suriname on issues concerning the territorial integrity of Guyana require careful analysis. It is tempting to dismiss the statements as misunderstandings or misreportings. Yet it is prudent to appreciate the context in which they have developed and what is really happening to guard against any eventuality. These statements are easily verifiable by the resident Guyanese diplomatic representative in the respective capitals.

    The convergence of these statements, along with the record of past coincidences, should also urge a consideration of the possible implications of a pincer movement developing outside our borders. This is not meant to be alarmist; only to be practical so as to interpret accurately the intent of the manoeuvres which are taking place.

    There is another consideration. States experiencing domestic disruption and dislocation or approaching strongly contested general elections are inclined to resort to dramatic action, sometimes in their foreign policy, to divert domestic attention and cultivate jingoism at home. Such action can be directed against a neighbouring state perceived itself to be enmeshed in domestic turmoil affecting national cohesion and national response. Since the elections of December 1997, Guyana appears to offer such temptation. Further, the pursuit of such activist foreign policy is usually premised upon an analysis that the foreign policy of the neighbouring victim state is vulnerable and susceptible to probing.

    From the west, the issue is the environmental treaty proposed by Venezuela to cover concessions in Essequibo, later modified to deal with the entire Guyana, within the framework of the McIntyre process which deals specifically with Venezuela's territorial claim and has nothing to do with the territory of Guyana.

    From the east, there is the report that the President of Suriname, responding to a question in the parliament about world maps not showing the New River triangle as Suriname's territory, stated that the government would be submitting the country's "border specifications" to the United Nations and may also raise the matter within Caricom. The report further claims the President as saying that Guyana had been informed that Suriname was not willing "to maintain the friendship this way".

    The Suriname border
    There is an uncanny coincidence in the assertion of the territorial claims by our two neighbours. Generally, Suriname's have followed Venezuela's and they have been advanced at times of great stress for Guyana, both in the colonial and in the independent periods. That coincidence continues in the present manouevres.

    The frontier between Guyana and Suriname had never been formally settled by Britain and the Netherlands in the manner that the frontier between Guyana and Venezuela had been fully and finally settled by an international tribunal. A draft treaty, in discussion since 1930, was eventually agreed between Britain and the Netherlands establishing the boundary on the left bank of the Corentyne and Cutari rivers. The draft was awaiting translation and signature in the summer of 1939 when the outbreak of civil war in Europe in September of that year prevented its completion.

    After the war, in October 1961, the British despatched the agreed draft of 1939 to the Hague. In June 1962, the Netherlands replied with a package deal proposing that the frontier should follow the thalweg, the middle of the deepest channel, instead of the left bank of the Corentyne as in the 1939 draft, and that the westerly New River, instead of the Cutari, be adopted as the southern frontier. This was the first formal proposal of the New River line by the Netherlands, although the Netherlands had protested against the 1899 Arbitral Award determining the Cutari, and not the New River which was recently discovered by Barrington Brown in 1871, as the southern boundary. The British replied that it was too late to reopen the issue.

    The Dutch proposal of 1962 was advanced simultaneous with the reopening by Venezuela of the 1899 Arbitral Award on the Guyana-Venezuela boundary at the United Nations in February 1962, one of the dark periods of our domestic history. The United Nations was to continue consideration of the matter during the following session in November 1962.

    The post-Independence period
    In the difficult period following independence in May 1966, a virtual free-for-all occurred during the onslaught unleashed from both sides against our territorial integrity. The occupation of Guyana's part of Ankoko island some time in October 1966; President Leoni's decree of July 1968 purporting to annex part of Guyana's territorial waters outside the three mile limit between the Waini Point and the Essequibo river as Venezuela's territorial waters; intervention in the Rupununi; and other actions through publications in the British Times newspaper in May 1968 calculated to obstruct development in western Guyana. It was within this melee that Suriname seized the opportunity to occupy the New River triangle in December 1967.

    Two options were available to the administration of Prime Minister LFS Burnham to secure the territorial integrity of the young state: the diplomatic and the military. First, the young but eager Guyana Defence Force acted decisively in the New River Triangle and secured the entire area for the nation.

    Second, Mr Burnham proceeded to inspire and to hone a foreign policy and a foreign service with an acute sensitivity for territorial security that became de rigueur. Following his visit to Venezuela in April 1981 and the subsequent breach which developed in the existing cordial relations, Dave Martin and the Tradewinds best captured that national sensitivity in their evocative "Not a blade of Grass".

    It is significant that during this period of difficulty with Venezuela, the good neighbourly relations which Mr Burnham had built with Suriname, commencing with his bold act to visit Suriname in January, 1966, prior to independence, to discuss the boundary problem with Prime Minister J Pengel, outside the forum of Britain/Netherlands discussions, proved valuable. Suriname did not respond in 1981 with a territorial claim restrained, perhaps, by the military intervention in its political process. However, the customary harrassment of Guyanese nationals resident in Suriname and the periodic police action against Guyanese fishermen in the Corentyne continued.

    The diplomatic offensive to construct friendly neighbourly relations on all sides, albeit buttressed by geo-strategic buffers within and outside the hemisphere, pursued by both the administrations of LFS Burnham and HD Hoyte, yielded good dividends. The Protocol of Port of Spain reached in June 1970 was the first product of this era; and the McIntyre process, which really implements Article IV(2) of the Geneva Agreement, was another.

    A seminal result of this established cordiality is that territorial claims or assertions are constrained politely through the diplomatic channel and emerge, as a first option, as tactical manoeuvres so as to escape international censure. The administration of Dr Cheddi Jagan which took office in December 1992 is the successor and beneficiary of this effective diplomacy.

    Joint development
    The Venezuelan proposal for an environmental treaty reveals Venezuela's consistency in the parallel approach towards the Essequibo: direct claim or, alternatively, an indirect compromise of sovereignty. First, accepting the unreality of making good a legal claim to the Essequibo region within the existing cordiality, the parallel options explored are a token session of territory by Guyana, the joint-development of the region, or some permutation thereof.

    The issue of joint-development first surfaced when President R Betancourt suggested to the British Ambassador, Sir Douglas Busk, in March 1962 that Britain and Venezuela should "jointly administer" an area along the frontier, not specifically defined, to provide a security cordon, as the Ambassador reported, "behind Jagan's back". The Ambassador immediately disabused this idea of excluding Dr Jagan and reported to the Foreign Office which froze a decision.

    Venezuela continued to canvass this line. In June 1963 the Venezuelan Ambassador in London, reacting to a discussion in Caracas in March, 1962 between President Betancourt and the Head of Shell, proposed to British Foreign Secretary, Lord Home, that the World Bank should be asked to send a mission to survey the minerals and other resources of the frontier area with a view to their joint-development by Britain, Venezuela and the World Bank. Lord Home assessed that the proposal had been made "somewhat perfunctorily". However, in the run up to the Geneva meeting the British had concluded that the Venezuelan proposal for economic cooperation, as it had then developed, was "constructive" and should be pursued.

    In response, the Burnham administration which took office in December 1964 submitted that the frontier issue and the question of economic cooperation should be kept separate; Deoroop Maraj, then Minister without Portfolio, conveyed this to the Foreign Office in June 1965. When the new British Ambassador in Caracas was advised of the discussions, he warned the Foreign Office in August 1965 that the proposal of joint-development of the claimed area which was relevant during his predecessor's time (Sir D Busk's) would not satisfy Venezuela unless the terms gave her something "near de facto sovereignty".

    In the diplomatic jostle leading to the Geneva Conference of February 1966, the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Dr Ignacio Iribarren Borges, formerly the Ambassador in London, proposed in December 1965 the cession of territory to Venezuela and the establishment of a Mixed Commission, inter alios, to formulate plans for collaboration in the development of "Essiquiban Guyana and British Guyana." Joint-development had been transmuted to the development of eastern Venezuela and Guyana. Why eastern Venezuela and not all Venezuela?
    Mr Burnham and the British rejected easily the proposed cession of territory. And as the British were receptive to economic cooperation, it was pursued, but separate from the border issue proper.

    Notwithstanding, the Mixed Commission, established by the Geneva Agreement, failed to discharge its mandate partly because Venezuela maintained its former position and insisted on the joint-development of the Essequibo as distinct from general economic cooperation.

    The concept of "globality" was raised in May, 1995 after Dr Cheddi Jagan took office in December, 1992. "Globality" it was stated, was designed to cover the entire relationship including the boundary within the bilateral framework. The concept was certainly reflective of the existing good relations. I have maintained in this newspaper, and have found no cause to adjust my position, that this was a well-crafted attempt to get outside the Geneva agreement and the McIntyre process. The Venezuelans have denied this intention.

    The current proposal from an environmental treaty is further indicative of the dynamism of Venezuelan intention for the Essequibo and for stymieing its exclusive development by Guyana. There is on record its demarche to the World Bank in June 1981 and the reply by H.D. Hoyte, then Vice President, Economic Planning and Finance. This exchange took place during that period of estranged relations following Prime Minister Burnham's visit to Venezuela in April, 1981 and the Venezuelan President's rejection of the Hydroelectric Project for the Upper Mazaruni and the extension of the Protocol of Port of Spain.

    In proposing an environmental treaty, whether it relates to the Essequibo or to the entire Guyana does not diminish the intent. Venezuela is assuming a metropolitan authority to impose a regulatory mechanism over a ward, the Essequibo, or Guyana, to delimit the course of development. The proposal exposes an authority not dissimilar from that of the developed countries and the multilateral financial agencies which unilaterally set environmental pre-requisites which we deem unacceptable yet are obliged to make tolerable. Our Latin American neighbours can hardly claim to be models of environmental probity. Yet we do share and accept a responsibility to sustain our ecological system as best we can for the benefit of our peoples.

    It is arguable the extent to which concessions granted by sovereign Guyana can have adverse effects on the environment of our larger neighbours. Any pact about Guyana's environment can best be pursued in collaboration with all of our neighbours, Brazil, Suriname and Venezuela. The option of the full membership of the Treaty of Amazonian cooperation is also equally attractive.
    Any pact should also cater adequately for Guyana's concerns about industrial and other emissions from our neighbouring states. Only then will the principles of mutuality and equity be respected.

    Hovering above remains Guyana's unfettered sovereignty over the Essequibo. Joint-development impinges on that sovereignty in the same way that globalism advances interdependence but qualifies the independence of the weaker states. A significant difference, however, is that national territory is not exposed to physical seizure, at least as yet. Any narrow arrangement or treaty that enshrines any aspect of de facto sovereignty for the other signatory constitutes an erosion of sovereignty for Guyana. And any erosion in the west will, as the night follows the day, set in motion a corresponding erosion in the east. The record is explanatory. In the circumstance it is dangerous to pursue a bilateral environmental treaty of the type unfolding.

    New River Triangle
    With respect to the New River Triangle, which is one of three constituents of the boundary with Suriname, each reacting on the other, British and Guyanese title to the Triangle is supported by:
    (a) The arrangement in 1799 between the two provincial Governors, Imbyze van Batenburg of Berbice and Frederici of Suriname that the territory of Berbice extended to the western (left) bank of the Corentyne up to Devil's Creek; though remaining silent on the sovereignty of the river;
    (b) The statement by the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1913, that is after the protest over the 1899 Arbitral Award, that the boundary was formed by the Corentyne and its upper course, the Cutari-Curuni, and that the observation that the New River is the real Corentyne and forms the boundary is based on "a misconception";
    (c) A similar statement by the Netherlands Minister of the Colonies in 1925 making a stronger dismissal of the New River;
    (d) The Netherlands aide memoire of August 1931 stating a preparedness to recognise the left bank of the Corentyne and the Cutari as the frontier;
    (e) The instructions during 1935-1936 to the Netherlands, Brazilian and British Commissioners to establish a tri-junction point based on the source of the Cutari;
    (f) The establishment of this point by the Commissioners and the signature of a joint report affirming this.

    If, as reported, Suriname should refer the New River matter to the United Nations, and also to Caricom, it can eventually court a cumbersome, tortuous and expensive judicial process. It will also present the Caricom community with a novel and diversionary issue at a time when Community resources strained by the demands of weighty matters dealing with hemispheric free trade, the succession to Lome IV and the very survival of the region. Not forgetting the Community's already delicate engagement in Guyana's political process and that Suriname's membership was hardly tenable without Guyana's support.

    One of the unsung achievements of the Community is its incalculable contribution to the security of Guyana and Belize. Indeed Dr Cheddi Jagan had obtained appreciable support for the existing border from Caribbean Prime Ministers at their meeting in Port of Spain in July 1963. It will be inappropriate for the Community's resources to be diverted at this crucial period to a border issue among two member states which have its source in the colonial era.

    The reported statements of the Suriname President should be properly verified. For the continuing official acts showing the New River Triangle as Suriname's territory, one such map was reported to be circulated during the first Caricom meeting convened in Suriname last May, and the continuing problems with the Ferry Project confirm a pattern of calculated foreign policy rather than of isolated and random acts.

    Suriname should know that tradition, history, usage, prescription, recognition in official communication, the exercise of jurisdiction and international law support Guyana's title to the New River Triangle. And Suriname should be persuaded within the context of the long existing cordial relations to back off. Pursuit of the issue will be wasteful to Suriname, Guyana and the Community. For Guyana's case is unimpeachable.

    Geneva Agreement
    Those who continue to rail against Mr Burnham's signature of the Geneva Agreement should ponder two things: first, they ignore the overwhelming body of historic evidence revealing that the process of reopening the boundary issue commenced before the advent of the Burnham administration in December, 1964. Re-opening had its genesis at the United Nations in the decision taken in November 1962 for a tripartite (including Guyana) study of the documents, notwithstanding the British caveat, and in the conversion of that activity from official to Ministerial discussions of a wider agenda in November 1963. The Geneva Agreement essentially completed that phase of reopening.

    Second, persisting in such criticisms, at this time, exposes a myopic approach which can eventually undermine, or destroy, the McIntyre process and elevate "Globality" to exclusive eminence. Venezuela would welcome this development.

    The signals and manoeuvres outside our borders have meaning. It will be foolhardy to ignore them and shelter behind one's own interpretation. It is also perilous to respond with confused signals and let intellectual nebulosity trigger a more vigorous array of manoeuvres.

    Nor is it the season for deception, obloquy or flippancy. It is a time, everywhere, for statesmanship of a high degree that can heal our societal fractures and mobilize a national and definitive rejoinder to secure beyond any reasonable doubt the territorial integrity of the state.