June 30, 2008


Caricom's conflicting signals
Source: Jamaica Observer
Sunday, June 29, 2008

LATEST INDICATION of significant differences among member governments of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) has come from Guyana on the eve of this week's 29th Caricom Summit that gets underway on Tuesday (July 1) in St John's, Antigua.

It was the disclosure last Wednesday in Georgetown by President Bharrat Jagdeo that, based on further information and legal advice obtained, the Guyana Government may not join Community partners in signing next month the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that was initialled last December in Barbados between representatives of the European Commission (EU) and CARIFORUM (Caricom plus Dominican Republic).

Prior to this development, and amid conflicting signals on moving the process forward to access the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the final appellate institution for Community partners, there was the recent verbal blast by Vincentian Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves over "political decision-making" in Caricom and his scathing dismissal of the Community Secretariat's functioning as "a ramshackle political-administrative apparatus..."

It is likely that Secretary General Edwin Carrington may allude in his remarks at the opening session, to Gonsalves' criticisms that were made on June 16 when he addressed the launch of public consultations on the draft OECS Economic Union Treaty.

The Vincentian leader, who will be briefing his Community colleagues on an alleged plot involving drug dealers to assassinate him, had said that he was "satisfied that the politics of a limited regional engagement in Jamaica shackled by the ghosts from the federal referendum; the politics of ethnicity in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana; a mistaken sense of 'uniqueness, specialness and separation' among large sections of the Barbadian populace; the peculiar distinctiveness of Haiti and Suriname, and the cultivated aloofness from the regional enterprise by The Bahamas, are destined in the foreseeable future to keep Caricom as a 'Community of sovereign states' in which several of its member states jealously guard a vaunted and pristine sovereignty...." Conflicting policies and attitudes towards advancing the process of free movement of Caricom nationals; differences over foreign policy issues as well as in approaches for attracting foreign investment and economic aid have also been causing concerns in more recent times among member governments and other stakeholders.

Those Caricom leaders who last week participated in the New York Conference on the Caribbean are reported to have been exposed to a common thread in the thinking of US lawmakers and financial investors in favour of dealing with Caricom as a common entity and not with fragmentation on the edges in terms of less or more developed member states.

So far as embracing the new trade and economic package with the 25-member European Union is concerned, even prior to the conclusion negotiations for a full EPA, Guyana's president had expressed strong reservations in contrast to a very favourable response from Jamaica's Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who shoulders lead responsibility for the Community's Prime Ministerial Sub-committee on External Economic Negotiations.

Among suggestions surfacing for discussion on signing arrangement for the EPA is that it be put on hold and for initiatives to be pursued instead for a special summit of the 78-member African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) to, hopefully, arrive at some common positions on core aspects of the regional accords before any meeting with EU representatives for a signing ceremony which Barbados has already agreed to host.

Both Jagdeo and Golding are scheduled to be among five heads of government to address Tuesday evening's ceremonial opening of the four-day summit. This has aroused new interest about the tone and content of their planned messages to the people of the 15-member Community.

For Golding, who became prime minister following last September's general election at which his Jamaica Labour Party secured a 32-28 parliamentary victory, it will be his debut address to a Caricom heads of government conference.
He would be expected to also signal his administration's position in relation to Caricom's Regional Development Fund (RDF) which is scheduled to be officially launched during this week's summit.
Status of allocated contributions by member states to enable operationalising of the RDF is viewed as essential to its formal launching. With the exception of St Lucia which has almost completed its fixed initial allocation, the OECS countries are either far below or like Grenada and summit host Antigua and Barbuda, are still to come forward with their contributions. In contrast, Barbados has already paid up US$5 (five) million of its allotted share of US$11 million.

Creation of the estimated US$250-million fund, for which Trinidad and Tobago will be the single largest contributor among Caricom with an overall pledge of approximately US$120 million, and has already fully paid up its initial contribution of US$37 million was strongly advocated by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) as a mechanism to provide special and differential treatment for enhancing socio-economic development for the less-developed countries.

The rest of Caricom responded by turning to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for expert guidance in creation of the RDF with the understanding that the countries of the OECS in particular will be on board by mid-2007 for the Community's single market as other partner states had done in January last year and with all working together for the realisation of a single economy by 2015.

Should member states fail to honour pledged commitments they could jeopardise the prospects of the fund attracting resources from foreign donor nations and international financial institutions. A major provision for accessing the fund is the denial of resources to defaulting contributors.

After a series of postponements, launching of the RDF would be a positive development in the face of lingering uncertainties about the way forward for Caricom - the regional economic integration movement that was inaugurated five years after the birth of the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) in 1968 (not 1965 as incorrectly appeared in an earlier article).

June 17, 2008

Independence and Accountability

Caribbean Chief Justices underscore independence, accountability
Monday, June 16 2008 @ 05:00 PM

Source: Breaking News ( Trinidad and Tobago)

The 9th Meeting of the Caribbean Heads of Judiciary, June 5-6, 2008 today dispatched the following communiqué to the media.
The opening ceremony took place in the Regency Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, on the morning of June 5, 2008, with a keynote address from the Honorable Chief Justice and President of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Mr. Justice Pius Langa on the topic, The Judiciary: Maintaining Trust and Confidence.
The topic of Mr. Justice Langa’s address was also the theme agreed upon for the Ninth Meeting of the Heads. Among those attending the opening ceremony were: His Excellency the Acting President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Danny Montano; the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honorable Barry Sinanan; former President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. A.N.R. Robinson; former Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Satnarine Sharma, Judges of the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean Court of Justice, other Judicial Officers, members of the diplomatic corps; senior State officials, and representatives of the private sector and other distinguished guests.The ceremony was also witnessed and covered by a wide cross section of the Trinidad and Tobago media, and disseminated live to the national community by television.
The Agenda for the Conference was disposed of in three plenary sessions over the two scheduled days, including a working lunch hosted by The Honorable the Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Justice Ivor Archie.
Agenda items included the following:
• Matters arising out of the 8th Annual Conference Judicial Independence and Administration including presentations by Court Consultant, Mr. Robert Hann, and Court Executive Administrator of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Mrs. Christie-Ann- Morris-Alleyne on the topic: Context and issues of Court Administration; Alternative Models of Court Administration and recommendations for the way forward.
• Publication of the Commonwealth Caribbean Civil Court Practice Text;
• Update on Conference of Judicial Officers;
Update on Caribbean Court of Justice Trust;
• Discipline and Accountability of Judges, (including a presentation by the President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, the Right Honorable Michael de la Bastide).
Heads devoted much of their attention to discussion of the principles of judicial independence and accountability.
Heads noted that the principle of judicial independence in the 21st Century embodies much more than non-interference in the adjudicative function. It also includes the provision of adequate financial and administrative resources placed under the control of the Judiciary to facilitate proper discharge of judicial responsibilities.
Heads recognized that in this region and internationally, the expanded boundaries of judicial independence now involved the management by Judges of many of the processes necessary for the effective and efficient delivery of justice.Heads reaffirmed their commitment to impartiality in the exercise of the judicial function and stressed that members of civil society must at all times be able to perceive the Judiciary as impartial and independent of the legislative and executive branches of government.
Heads agreed also that judicial independence and judicial accountability must co-exist, and the Judiciary has an inescapable duty to account to the public for the performance of its functions. Judiciaries are obligated, not only to hold themselves responsible for their own conduct and performance, but must also do so in a manner that is fully transparent.
Heads accepted that in order to maintain confidence in the administration of justice, the Judiciary is under an obligation to inform the public about its work and function.Heads agreed that Judges’ allowances and salaries should be fixed by independent Salaries Review Commissions.
Heads also agreed to make representation to Regional Governments to ensure that all Judges and other Judicial Officers, including Magistrates, are provided with adequate security in recognition of the risk inherent in the performance of their duties.Heads noted that Judiciaries were taking positive steps to implement programmes of continuing judicial education and training. They regarded this as being essential for enhancing the performance of Judges and Judicial Officers.
Heads urged that the planning and financing of such training should be under the control of the Judiciary in keeping with the Latimer House Principles, agreed to by the Commonwealth Heads of Government. Heads further noted that prior approval of the Executive ought not to be required for Judges and Judicial Officers to participate locally and abroad in continuing education and training.
The Conference agreed as follows:
• Any disciplinary process for Judges should be insulated from political interference from inception to conclusion
• Procedures should be established for receiving and dealing appropriately with complaints against Judges, Magistrates and other persons performing a judicial function. The public should be informed of the prescribed procedures.
• Appropriate mechanisms should be put in place to deal with judicial behaviour that falls short of the kind of misconduct that would justify removal from office.
• Appropriate standards of ethical conduct for Judicial Officers should be adopted by all Judiciaries of the Caribbean and such guidelines should be published and made available to all members of the Judiciary and to members of the public.
On matters pertaining to Judicial Independence as it relates to administration, alternative models and the way forward, the Conference agreed as follows:
• That Judiciaries establish properly resourced offices of Court Administration, under the direct control of the Judiciary, with responsibility for all matters relevant to court administration.
Matters to be under the direction of Court Administration should include:
a) Finance and budgeting,
b) Human Resource Management (recruitment, training, terms and conditions, and discipline)
c) Executives should work towards providing the minimum percentage of the national budget for annual allocation to Judiciaries that is consistent with international benchmarks.In accordance with decisions at the Eight Annual Meeting of Caribbean Heads of Judiciary, the Constitution has been amended so as to provide for the President of the Caribbean Court of Justice to be a member of the Conference.
The Honorable Chief Justice of Belize, Mr. Justice Conteh, has agreed to represent the Conference as a member of the Board of the CCJ Trust for one more year.The Heads also agreed that a meeting of Judicial Officers of the Region be held in late June or early July 2009.Chairmanship of the next Conference is expected to be held by the Chancellor and Head of Judiciary of Guyana

June 11, 2008

Tempests Rage: Yet We Linger

Tempests rage: yet we linger
Published on: 6/11/08.
Source: The Nation Newspaper

If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
-The Merchant of Venice Act III, Scene 1.

MOST CARICOM LEADERS and citizens accept there is value in regional collaboration. That in the present sea of economic turbulence, driven by unyielding energy costs and surging food prices, the region's salvation must come from one voice resonating to a chorus that we are one people. Yet, these sentiments are mere words without serious intent or meaning.

All know that our small size and fragile economies stymie sustainable development. That our separate voices are too weak to be heard far less understood; that our countries have been known to be looked upon as 'a beautiful piece of real estate' where playboys languish on the sands and in the sun, while partaking of the libation of their choice.

It is years now since the 3B's – Barrow, Bird and Burnham – spawned CARIFTA. There has been a change in nomenclature – from CARIFTA to CARICOM – yet we still search for harmonisation of fiscal incentives; a regional Central Bank; a single currency; an all-embracing Caribbean Court of Justice; common cross-border legislation relating to a stock exchange; freedom of movement for CARICOM citizens; common customs tariffs; regional air and sea transport and regional security. Yes, we continue to be long on talk and short on action.

Here at home, as if blinded by regional practice and example, we have spent some two decades fiddling with the control and arrest of PSV culture and disrespect for law and order. That the minds of our young students, hungry for learning, are being vicariously poisoned by dancehall fare unsuitable for junkies seems not to be a sufficient bother.

Our sidewalks, store pavements and even streets are belching with the encroachment, even invasion of vendors claiming the right of the small man "to make an honest dollar". Worse still, PSV commuters as well as bystanders are being deafened by noise way beyond legal limits, claiming to be today's music and a pleasure to warped sensibilities.

Amidst price rises, creeping inflation and serious challenges in providing housing stock to satisfy demand we have permitted an unmanaged immigration process, bringing with it additional pressure for school places, jobs, and a real potential for social dislocation, crime, and health issues.

We seem to see no compelling reason to stop the rot despite the growing and frightening recklessness of violent crime in neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica – a natural sequel to open migration, attracting, as it often does, scores of unskilled people. Meanwhile, the region smiles at the new title of being among the leading murder capitals worldwide.

We seem to find more energy and tasty satisfaction in debating the wisdom of a realignment of the age of consent, majority and its related consequences. Although our water stocks are known to be finite, our inability to provide natural gas to households in need is glaring, our productivity levels are showing decline, discordant voices continue to bellow unashamedly in the highest forums of the world, seemingly expecting a magical outcome of benefit to self and region.

June 09, 2008

AG of Antigua Endorses CCJ

Simon endorses CCJ as final court of appeal
Monday June 09 2008
by Patricia Campbell
Source: Antigua Sun

Attorney-General Justin Simon has again made a case for the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to replace the British Privy council as the court of final appeal, saying that sufficient safeguards have been put in place to protect against political interference.

He said that the main concerns have been addressed in the agreement which established the CCJ, and argued that the region is also developing politically and evolving away from the restrictive thinking that would stimulate such interference.

Simon however acknowledging that continued apprehension that the CCJ could find itself subject to political pressure and influence are not unfounded.

“The concern is legitimate, understandable and, in a lot of quarters, genuine,” he said, responding to query on the matter.

“Let us take our own experience here in Antigua and Barbuda. A number of pieces of legislation which were passed here in Antigua and Barbuda were overturned by the Privy Council.

"It took the system to go right up to the top for the laws to be struck down as unconstitutional.

“Our history shows that our High Court, which was the first court which dealt with those various matters, ruled (them) unconstitutional, but the Court of Appeal overturned and it took the Privy Council to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeal and reinstate the decision of our High Court.”

He cited the Tim Hector case which challenged legislation that the truth was not a defence to libel and a number of other cases where the value of the Privy Council was proved. Nevertheless, said Simon, “There are a number of areas which have been addressed in respect of the CCJ which would, to my mind, have removed that sort of political overshadowing in respect of that court.”

He pointed out that a trust fund has been established at the Caribbean Development Bank for financing the operation of the CCJ, so that its expenses are not part of the budgetary estimates of governments.

This means that governments cannot withhold or withdraw funds as a means of manipulating the decisions of the court.

Ain addition to this, the attorney general pointed out that judges are appointed by a regional legal and judicial commission, with representatives from various civil institutions.

“Only the appointment of the president must meet the approval of the heads of governments and only a majority of the heads (is needed). With us here in the OECS Court, the chief justice has to meet with the approval of all of the OECS prime ministers.

"For that very reason, Justice Byron remained acting as chief justice for a good five years before he was appointed.

"Justice Alleyne, who has just left the court, was appointed acting chief justice and remained acting for two years because we could not get the unanimous approval,” he said.

Simon was making a case for judicial independence during last week’s Conference for Academic Research and Development, organised by the Antigua State College.

June 05, 2008

Caribbean Court of Justice: Are we ready yet?
Godfrey Smith
Date of Publication: April 3, 2007
Posted by: Godfrey Smith
Tuesday, April 03, 2007

In an interview in May 1999 Lord Browne-Wilkinson, the then President of the Privy Council, intimated that appeals to that Court from the Caribbean should end. He urged the Caribbean to establish its own final court on the ground that the ultimate court of appellate jurisdiction of a state, should be in the state, staffed by citizens of that state and not by outsiders.

Persistent prevarication
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) was inaugurated on April 16th 2005. The historic first sitting of the CCJ took place on 8th August 2005 at the Court’s offices in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The sitting was to consider an application for special leave by a Barbadian company to appeal from a decision of the Barbados Court of Appeal. Since then about five cases have been brought before the CCJ, three more from Barbados and two from the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. The court is now firmly established and fully operational for those Caricom member states that have subscribed to it. As the second anniversary of the inauguration of the CCJ approaches, it is perhaps timely to review where we are with the CCJ and to ask: is Belize now ready to fully sign on?
The idea for the setting up of a Caribbean court to replace the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (Privy Council) in England was first seriously raised at a Caricom Heads of Government meeting in Kingston, Jamaica in 1970.
More than thirty years later, on February 14th 2001, ten Caricom countries finally signed unto the Agreement in Barbados, establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, The Republic of Suriname and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
The passionate debate in Caribbean countries that preceded the signing of the Agreement is rivaled only by the persistent prevarication by some countries over how tightly – if at all- the CCJ should be embraced.

Belize & the CCJ
In Belize, the government attempted to fully embrace the CCJ. The CCJ has two distinct aspects. The first is called the original jurisdiction. This refers to the court’s power to deal fully with all trade disputes and trade-related issues that might arise between two or more member states of Caricom. This is considered to be a sine qua non for the successful operation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).
The second is called the appellate jurisdiction. This refers to the court’s power to fully and finally determine appeals from decisions of Courts of Appeal in the Caribbean. In this regard, the CCJ was in conflict with the British Privy Council which, under the national constitutions of the majority of Commonwealth Caribbean countries, was the court empowered to dispose of appeals from Courts of Appeal throughout the region.
For Belize to replace the Privy Council with the CCJ required a constitutional amendment supported by no less than three-quarters of the members of the House of Representatives. The ruling PUP had lost its three-quarter majority shortly after its general election victory in 2003 with the untimely death of its Cayo South representative, Mr. Agripino Cawich.
The government was able to pass legislation introducing the CCJ in its original jurisdiction because this required only a simple majority. But the Opposition blocked the legislation abolishing the Privy Council and introducing the CCJ as the final court of appeal for all criminal and civil matters. The Opposition copycatted the Trinidad & Tobago Opposition by withholding support for the legislation unless the government agreed to certain “political reform” proposals and financial support for Opposition constituencies. The government refused and the legislation floundered.

Retain the relic
The case against replacing the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the CCJ has four essential arguments. First, that judges of the CCJ will not be as insulated from political interference and may therefore not enjoy the Olympian aloofness of their British counterparts in the Privy Council. Second, that financial resources which are vital for the permanence and continuity of a CCJ are scarce and may not be forthcoming from undisciplined and profligate Caribbean governments. Third, that the money would be better spent improving magistrates courts which deal with 80% of cases in Caribbean countries. Fourth, that retaining the Privy Council as the final court of appeal is more attractive to foreign investors and costs less since it is paid for by the British.

A question of sovereignty
Ranged on the other side of the debate are also four basic arguments. First, that a CCJ is more consistent with our status as independent, sovereign states. Why should we be self-governing in all aspects but yet have a foreign court as our final court of appeal? Second, that the CCJ is more conducive to the development of a regional jurisprudence that is sensitive to the history, culture and ethos of Caribbean people. Third, that in relation to foreign investors, the majority of Caribbean cases going up to the Privy Council are criminal cases and only a handful are civil cases. Fourth, that the Privy Council is far removed from the Caribbean both geographically and in its appreciation of local circumstances.

Competence, independence, permanence
With two years having passed since its inauguration, the court is manned by competent judges some of whom held the highest judicial offices in their respective countries. These judges of the CCJ enjoy security of tenure and hold office until they attain the age of seventy-two years and can only be removed for inability to perform the functions of office or for misbehaviour.
They were appointed by an independent Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission comprised of representatives from the Organization of the Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Association and the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States Bar Association, a rotating Chairman of the Judicial and Legal Services of a member country, a rotating Chairman of a Public Service Commission of a member country, two persons from civil society nominated jointly by Secretary-General of Caricom and the Director-General of the OECS, two distinguished jurists nominated jointly by a Dean of one of the Faculties of Law and the Chairman of the Council of Legal Education, and two persons nominated jointly by the Bar or Law Associations of the member states.
Caricom governments have contributed to a US $100 million trust fund the interest of which fund the operations of the CCJ. There is therefore no need for the court to go cap in hand to politicians for its upkeep, thereby opening it to the possibility of political interference.

While we have been intently focusing on the comparative advantages of the CCJ through the prism of the Privy Council for several decades now, we may well have missed an important if embarrassing point. In an interview that was published in the May 1999 issue of The Lawyer, Lord Browne-Wilkinson, the then President of the Privy Council, intimated that appeals to that Court from the Caribbean should end. Browne-Wilkinson complained that appeals related to death row prisoners in the Caribbean had created a burden on the time and resources of that Court. He urged the Caribbean to establish its own final court on the ground that the ultimate court of appellate jurisdiction of a state, which has to make important policy decisions on legal principles, should be in the state, staffed by citizens of that state and not by outsiders.
Yet, in Belize, during the debate on the Bill to abolish the Privy Council, Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition shamelessly hung onto the coattails of the Privy Council and questioned the brainpower of Caribbean judges vis-à-vis their British counterparts. It’s time for the government to reintroduce the Bill and flush out the Opposition on this crucial issue of sovereignty and regional identity. Belize should abolish the Privy Council and bring on the CCJ.

Owen Arthur calls for support of CCJ

Colonial attitude to CCJ
Source: radiojamaica.com - Jamaica
June 4, 2008

Former Barbadian Prime Minister Owen Arthur said greater power must be given to CARICOM institutions to allow them to implement decisions made at the regional level. Mr. Arthur, now an opposition Member of Parliament said the failure of all but two CARICOM countries to identify fully with the Caribbean Court of Justice is a symbol of a continuing colonial attitude.
He was speaking recently in Trinidad and Tobago at the launch of a new forum on policy and leadership.
Freed of the responsibility of holding Prime Ministerial office, Mr. Arthur said the region must not be timid in taking political and economic decisions. He said there is a new world of international trade which requires reciprocity.
Mr. Arthur said the old, one way free trade arrangement has vanished around the bend in the river.

June 02, 2008

Public Opinion

The single market and economy needs to be promoted among ordinary people in a more practical way
Source: Stabroek News - Letters
June 2, 2008

Dear Editor,
It is unfortunate that at this juncture of our history as a Caribbean region, a sister country would callously disrespect the citizens of another sister country. I refer to the incident where some twelve Guyanese were refused entry by the Trinidad immigration authorities last week. This unwelcome act comes at a most inappropriate time when Guyana is slated to host Carifesta X, to which I am positive Trinidad, like other Caribbean countries, hopes to send its contingent.
This is also a time when great emphasis is placed on the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), which seeks to encourage the free movement of skills throughout the region; a time when the Caribbean Court of Justice has emerged as the final court of appeal for certain member states; a time when foreign affairs ministries are issuing Caricom Skilled Certificates to their citizens in order that skills are easily transferred or exchanged within the region, thereby aiding in the efforts to collectively tackle some of the new and emerging challenges of globalization.
The actions of the Trinidadian immigration authorities, clearly, do not augur well for this spirit of ‘oneness’ which we in the Caribbean have been dying to achieve since the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas in 1973.
It is regrettable that while Caricom as well as governments within the region continue to promote policies aimed at fostering greater cohesion, unity, economic co-operation, etc, not much work is being done at the local level to ensure that the people subscribe to the ideals which will help to achieve the objectives of those policies. From what transpired at the Piarco Airport, it is obvious that there is a big disconnect between the immigration officers, junior level government employees, and the Manning cabinet. Imagine what might be the extent of the disconnect between the people at the grassroots level and the cabinet? This disconnect might not be a situation peculiar to Trinidad but might very well be a common thread that runs through countries of the region.

Guyanese have been experiencing this kind of unwelcoming treatment from various countries of the region, in particular Barbados, but it was hoped that with all these new initiatives by Caricom that the situation would have changed. However, it now seems that might not be the case. It is therefore fitting that Caribbean governments and the Caricom Secretariat take on a more proactive role in meeting the ordinary people in the community to aggressively promote the single market and economy concept in a practical way. Special training should be given regularly to immigration officers and airport workers to sensitize them to the critical role they have to play in this process, since in most instances they are the first to have contact with these new workers or migrants.
I hope that Caricom, through its secretariat, does not allow this matter to fester, but that it will take urgent measures to ensure that the Guyana government and the Trinidad government settle this matter.

Yours faithfully,
Lurlene Nestor