Border controversySome two months after the United Nations Secretary General handed over the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final settlement, formal proceedings were filed on Thursday asking the World Court to confirm the legal validity and binding effect of the 1899 Arbitral Award.Guyana’s application was submitted by Second Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge to ICJ Registrar Philippe Couvreur, in The Hague, Netherlands, a statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge with ICJ Registrar Philippe Couvreur at the World Court in The Hague, Netherlands on ThursdayThis application follows a decision by UN Secretary General António Guterres earlier this year in choosing the ICJ as the next means of resolving the controversy that arose as a result of the Venezuelan contention that the Arbitral Award of 1899 about the frontier between British Guiana and Venezuela was null and void.According to Guyana’s application to the World Court, for more than 60 years Venezuela had consistently recognised and respected the validity of the binding force of the 1899 Award and the 1905 Map agreed by both sides in furtherance of the Award.“Venezuela had only changed its position formally in 1962 as the United Kingdom was making final preparations for the independence of British Guiana and had threatened not to recognise the new State, or its boundaries, unless the United Kingdom agreed to set aside the 1899 Award and cede to Venezuela all of the territory west of the Essequibo River, amounting to some two-thirds of Guyana’s territory,” Guyana submitted in its application to the World Court.The court document further noted that while Venezuela has never produced any evidence to justify its belated repudiation of the 1899 Award, the neighbouring country has used it as an excuse to occupy territory awarded to Guyana in 1899, to inhibit Guyana’s economic development, and to violate Guyana’s sovereignty and sovereign rights.In filing the application, Minister Greenidge, who will serve as Guyana’s agent in the proceedings before the ICJ, said “…Guyana has respected the Secretary General’s decision and placed its faith in the International Court of Justice to resolve the controversy in accordance with its Statue and jurisprudence, based on the fundamental principles of international law, including the sanctity of treaties, the maintenance of settled boundaries and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States.”The UN Secretary General’s authority to choose the ICJ as the means for resolving the controversy is rooted in the Geneva Agreement of 1966, negotiated just before Guyana attained independence. On January 30, 2018, Secretary General Guterres concluded that the Good Offices Process, which the parties had engaged in for almost 30 years, had failed to achieve a solution to the controversy and chose the ICJ as the next means of settlement, for which Guyana has long been advocating.Government has confirmed that the legal team that was established to defend Guyana’s territory against its western neighbour is the same as the panel that fought and won the judicial proceedings against Suriname over a decade ago.That team, which was headed by Paul Reichler, a partner in the Washington office of law firm Foley Hoag LLP, was successful. The matter was settled by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in 2007.Meanwhile, Government’s top legal adviser in this current case, Sir Shridath Ramphal, has assured that the country’s sovereignty is in good hands. The former Commonwealth Secretary General said last week that Guyana could not expect better and it was for the country and its Government to establish to the world what has always been the case, which is sticking by the agreement that was signed.On that note, he said the case was in good hands and that the same team that won judicial proceedings against Suriname has been retained to fight this case. “We got to work again to finish the job,” he had stated.United States oil giant ExxonMobil had announced back in May 2015 that it had found oil offshore Guyana. Venezuela has staunchly been against oil exploration in Guyana’s Stabroek Block, where multiple oil deposits were found by ExxonMobil, and has since renewed claims to the Essequibo region.In the meantime, ExxonMobil is continuing its successful exploration, making its seventh discovery of “high quality” commercial oil offshore Guyana last month. According to the company, this will help bring Guyana’s production to more than 500,000 barrels per day when oil production commences in two years’ time.Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman had told a gathering of members from the local legal fraternity earlier this month that Government’s fast tracking of oil production was “inextricably linked” with the 55-year-old border controversy with neighbouring Venezuela.He said that Guyana has been strategically pushing for first oil in 2020 in light of the claims by its western neighbour over waters offshore Guyana that are being explored by the US oil giant.
They often rise before dawn and go to sleep before sunset, dealing all day with Angelenos’ worst nightmare: nothing but driving. The men and women who will navigate the Orange Line spend their lives on the move. All through the night, through each rainstorm, each negligent driver, each 105-degree scorching day, they sit behind the wheel. They get up at odd hours and drive long distances just to spend more time driving. To pilot its new fleet of 30 Metro Liner trailer buses, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will rely on its most seasoned personnel. Drivers from all over the agency bid for a shot at the $633,000 machines, considered a plum assignment in one of the most desirable areas. The 150 operators who made the cut then underwent even more rigorous training, spending time in the classroom, then at the helm of the 57-passenger behemoths. They are the tops in their profession. They’ve spent their entire careers working odd hours and enduring a grinding, stressful job so they now have a chance to be part of history. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week For Robert Higbee, a 33-year pro who works a 5 a.m.-to-2 p.m. shift every weekday, missing the end of the Lakers game each night and skipping breakfast each morning has just become part of life. And he loves it. “It’s up in the morning, into whatever uniform I can get into,” he said, detailing a day that begins with a 4 a.m. commute from Thousand Oaks. “I pour my own coffee into a Thermos, then go … grab your key, get in the bus and you’re ready to go. I’m headed for the Orange Line in a brand new 60-foot bus, so I’m feeling better than a lot of those guys who’re in the old, clapped-out buses.” The 56-year-old Higbee, who started driving buses before the MTA even existed, has always been drawn to scenic routes. He drove the 161 route to Thousand Oaks, the Malibu run, the Balboa line up to Sylmar where some streets still don’t have sidewalks. He calls the Orange Line “a jewel in a metropolitan jungle.” He had quite a bit of competition for the chance to cruise that jewel. Bidding for the job, awarded to the most senior drivers, was intense for a chance to get onto the unusual new line. Not only were operators eager to get a chance to play with the articulated machines that look like the Jetsons’ idea of an armored dinosaur, they relish the chance to drive on a dedicated busway unhampered by other drivers who cut in front of them or try to squeeze in between the huge vehicles and their bus stops. “There was a lot of clamoring to be one of the first,” said Gary Spivack, an MTA division transportation manager. “Most of the operators are senior operators with 10 years of service or more. They’re in love with the vehicles.” North American Bus Industries of Anniston, Ala., built the three-door mammoths especially for the Orange Line, with 170 more on the way for use in Rapid lines throughout the MTA system. They’re pushed by a six-cylinder, 8.9-liter Cummins compressed natural gas engine. Though the engine generates only 320 horsepower, less than a Chevy Suburban, that’s still 25 percent more than a standard bus engine. And with all fares handled at the station, rather than aboard, drivers now have one less thing to distract them from the road. For a bus driver, this is pretty close to nirvana. “It’s easy, just like pulling a trailer,” said Gerardo Perez, who’ll make the 11 a.m.-to-8:15 p.m. run Sundays through Thursdays. “You feel a little nervous, the first time you get on, but in a couple streets, it’s like second nature.” At 40 years old, he’s put in nearly 17 years of service with the MTA. He used to run the Red Line trains, so he’s used to handling big vehicles. Perez lives near remote Frasier Park; the trip takes him an hour and 20 minutes each way to work every day. After spending all day cruising city streets and dealing with traffic, he says he needs the fresh air and nature to get away. Before he gets into a vehicle each morning, he runs five or six miles. And after he finishes that morning workout and long commute in, he’ll be passing Shakana Contreras, who’s working 3 a.m. to 11 a.m. from Wednesday to Sunday. She’s a rarity on the Orange Line, with just five years with the agency. At 28 years old, the Palmdale resident wasn’t even born when guys like Higbee pulled their first assignment. Contreras, who lays out her uniform before her 6 p.m. bedtime the day before, then starts her commute at 1 a.m., relishes the opportunity to try out the new hot rod mostly reserved for senior drivers. She traded a clerical job in a windowless office in a Target store for one that lets her see the sun rise five days a week. Impressed by the Metro Liner’s bulk at first, now she slides easily behind the controls. “It feels like driving a big rig – you just don’t have that little thing you pull for the horn,” she said, laughing. “It’s our brand new toy in the yard. Everyone wants to test it out.” Before she got posted to the new line, she did just about every route in the West Valley. Now, she knows she’s part of something different, something historic. “It feels pretty good,” she said. “They want people out there who’ll be cautious and careful. I’m glad to be a part of it.” Brent Hopkins, (818) 713-3738 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!