…urges Centre for Border Studies to zero in on Guyana/Venezuela border analysis

With the launch of a Centre for International and Border Studies (CIBS), Government’s Advisor on Borders, Carl Greenidge is of the view that one of the primary challenges the center will first face, is analysing issues related to the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy.

Guyana’s Advisor on Borders Carl Greenidge

The launch of CIBS took place on Monday at the Herdmanston Lodge, Georgetown. The Center, an independent think tank, is the product of collaboration between academics from the Caribbean, Latin America, the United States, Asia and Africa.
In his feature address to the attendees, Government’s Advisor on Borders Carl Greenidge recalled that the Foreign Affairs Ministry was mandated since 2017 to establish a Border Institute.
He lauded the fact that a project similar to that one could finally be completed and was optimistic that the center would, among other things, ignite wider interest in border studies, while at the same time
“In 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was mandated to start doing some work on a border institute. That work wasn’t completed. But I made the point to emphasise that it isn’t a unique path that you are taking. By way of the Center for Border Studies. You’ve gone further than occurred in 2017 and you are to be commended for this,” Greenidge said.
“One looks forward to you (will get) not only the skills to help you and the data to undertake the analysis, but in ensuring that an interest in the community and a commitment by governments and institutions can be maintained in these issues that have to do with systematic border management,” Greenidge said.
When it comes to the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy, Greenidge was of the view that analysing issues related to it may form one of the center’s early challenges. According to him, “part of the challenge, I think, that our center will face, is to help to explore issues that may arise from the management of the tensions that arise from contested space.”

A section of the attendees at the launch of the Centre for International and Border Studies (CIBS), at the Herdmanston Lodge, Georgetown

Greenidge also spoke about the mechanisms for resolving border controversies. While the United Nations (UN) is the most well-known of these mechanisms, Greenidge also noted that regional organisations have also been stepping up, likely a reference to the Caribbean Community (Caricom), which played an important role in getting Guyana and Venezuela to the table last year to sign the Argyle Agreement.
“There are mechanisms in place, of a kind. At the level of the United Nations, to help manage that. Increasingly we see that at the regional levels, across the globe, regional bodies are taking responsibility for trying to manage those types of tensions. I think its mistakenly felt that in Latin America, this problem doesn’t arise,” he said.
“But of course, if you look at the statistics, Latin America has had its wars over territories in the 19th century and military conflict even in 20th century. And therefore, it isn’t going to be enough, pursuing that the existing frameworks, especially if they might be concocted in circumstances where the concoctions may not be done in a timely manner or in a manner that is entirely functional.”
Heavily evidence based
Meanwhile, Director for the Center Dr Mark Kirton, who previously served as the University of Guyana’s Dean for the Faculty of Social Sciences, spoke about what persons can expect from the center. He made it clear that the center’s work would be heavily evidence based.
“The Center for International and Border Studies is aimed at undertaking rigorous evidence-based research on issues which are important, both in terms of development efforts and also security and other issues.”
“So, we see regional integration as a critical issue. We see the issue of using multi-disciplinary focus. And we will focus on issues such as contested borders, issues of border security, development trajectory of the Amazon and the Guiana Shield. Agriculture, food and energy security. Charges related to climate change,” Kirton said.
Plans for the center include offering mentorship to students and establishment of both an online and physical library, dedicated to border studies. CIBS also aims to build strategic institutional linkages and to provide training and mentorship opportunities for young researchers and practitioners. (G3)