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Suriname defiant over seizure of Guyana sugar vessel

Guyana’s complaint that Suriname used provocation when its Coast Guard detained a Guyanese vessel on October 14, has met with a defiant stance by the Ronald Venetiaan government over the Corentyne, a border river which separates the two CARICOM countries. There is no agreement between Guyana and Suriname delimiting the boundary of the Corentyne River, but Suriname has made bare its position.


Suriname’s Ambassador to Guyana Manorma Soeknandan said the incident involving the seizure of the Guyanese vessel related more to regulations rather than to the act of seizing the boat. She said that the vessel breached the laws and regulations of Suriname.


President Bharrat Jagdeo had said that he was not aware of any regulations which dictate that a Surinamese pilot be onboard a Guyanese vessel, but the Surinamese Ambassador insisted that Guyana knew of the regulations as it was transmitted to Georgetown in 1981. As far as Suriname is concerned, there was no diplomatic route to take in the seizure of the Guyanese vessel.

Guyana had protested the move of the Surinamese coastguard to detain the Guyanese vessel and crew while on its way to load sugar at the Skeldon wharf.  In its Sept 17th arbitral award, the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea had ruled on the maritime dispute between Guyana and Suriname found that the resort to the use of Force by Suriname offended international norms and practices.

Guyana has said it intends to take all necessary steps to safeguard its national interests.

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