A recent anti-mining operation in Guyana’s interior has captured the attention of the Surinamese authorities. Suriname, like Venezuela, has a bitter border dispute with Guyana. Suriname is requesting clarification on the authority by which the Guyana government acted on “their territory”.
GFC News SURINAME – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Buza) in Suriname says it has learned through the Guyanese media of an illegal Brazilian camp that has been dismantled by the Guyana Defense Force.
This intelligence-led anti-mining operation took place in the New River Area, which according to that country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Albert Ramdin, is considered Surinamese territory.
Ramdin is quoted by the media as insisting that “steps have already been taken by the Surinamese government in response to recent management actions carried out by the Guyanese government in the area belonging to Suriname.”
The report also noted that “satellite images have been requested on their own initiative and are now being studied to determine the precise location of the activities. This is done by the National Boundary Commission.”
A note was then sent to Guyana via the Guyanese ambassador – after it was dissolved – and clarification was requested.
GFC News Suriname also quoted Foreign Minister Ramdin as saying that Guyana did not report nor request a joint operation this time, as it has done in the past: “This surprises us.”
The memorandum according to the media report states that it concerns Surinamese territory, but that the government does not yet want to draw any conclusions and awaits the investigation.
According to Ramdin, the Surinamese ambassador in Guyana has been instructed to request an emergency meeting with the Guyanese Minister of the Interior, who is in charge of police and defense.
Guyana has not yet seen the note. According to Ramdin, the Guyanese Minister promised that the ministry will send all information as soon as the note is received.
Finally, Ramdin says he has asked for a meeting with the Guyanese minister of the interior. It is not clear when the engagement will take place.
On February 19th 2023, the joint services conducted an operation which led to the discovery of a helicopter and equipment, and arrested the helicopter pilot and another individual. The illegal mining camp operated by Brazilians which included a tunnel were destroyed. The men are currently on remand after appearing before the Court last week.
In October 2020 the Joint Services had conducted a similar operation in the New River Triangle area where a large illegal Brazilian camp, inclusive of three tunnels were destroyed.
The New River Triangle dispute between Guyana and Suriname dates back since 1840 when Robert Schomburgk surveyed the then British Guiana’s borders. Taking the Corentyne River as the border, he sailed up to its source, the Kutari River, in order to delineate the boundary.
In 1871, however, Charles Barrington Brown discovered the New River, which he deemed the true source of the Corentyne. Thus the New River Triangle dispute was born.
Source: Action News Guyana (Reprinted with Permission)