Guyana and Suriname are very interesting countries. While both are constantly finding reserves of oil near their shores, they have also engaged in a border dispute for two centuries now.
This has led to a lot of tension between the two countries, as well as a lack of investment and security in the region. In this video, we’ll be discussing the history of the conflict and its implications for the region. We’ll also be looking at the recent developments in the conflict and what the international community can do to help resolve the dispute. So stay tuned to find out more!
In the first week of March, Suriname’s opposition parties demanded that the Guyanese military’s actions must be met with a response. Guyanese military conducted actions in the contested Tigri Region, which Suriname claims is part of their land.
This was brought up during a parliamentary session by Rabin Parmessar, leader of the National Democratic Party (NDP). The issue became significant after the media reported that a Brazilian helicopter had been intercepted and two Brazilian citizens detained by the Guyana Defence Force in the Tigri Area.
The History of the Conflict
The border conflict between Guyana and Suriname is one of the longest running regional disputes in South America. It dates back to the mid-1800s, when both countries were under Dutch colonial rule. The two countries have failed to agree on the exact boundaries of their shared border, resulting in a long-standing dispute that has stymied development and security in the region.
Since 1969, Guyana and Suriname have been in disagreement over the ownership of the Tigri Area. Guyana has asserted control of the area and in 1969, used the military to force out the Surinamese armed forces and has held it since then.
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Suriname views the land as part of the Coeroenie District of Sipaliwini, while Guyana regards it as part of their East Berbice-Corentyne region, also known as the New River Triangle.
Suriname insists that the Tigri region, a massive stretch of land with a wealth of minerals located in the southwestern part of the nation, is part of the Dutch Caribbean Community. While Guyana’s assertions which have been around since the 1840s.
Both countries then lay claim to the disputed border area, which is estimated to be around 60,000 square kilometres. This area is rich in natural resources, such as oil and minerals, and has been a source of contention between the two countries.
The Ticking Time Bomb of South America
The National Party of Suriname (NPS) expressed their deep concern that, despite reports of the Guyanese army entering Suriname’s Sipaliwini district having been made public more than a week ago, the government has yet to take any formal action.
NPS urged the government to respond quickly to Guyana’s unfriendly action and reprimand the neighbouring country for such behaviour, which is unheard of and wrong coming from a friendly neighbour.
NPS in its press release said, “It is striking that so far no clear action has been taken from the Office of the President or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to hold the government of Guyana accountable for the unsolicited entry into the Sipaliwini district in the southwest of our country.”
This tells you how sensitive the issue is for both the countries.
Rabin Parmessar, the NDP faction leader in Parliament, asked what measures have been taken by the government to make Guyana aware of the situation. Parmessar asked if Georgetown had consulted with Paramaribo to grant the Guyana Defence Force authorization to act in the area.
He then inquired, “How can there be collaborations with our neighbour while they occupy our territory?”
Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Dew Sharman, called it a “very serious matter” and declared that entering Guyana’s territory was a “grave violation of our sovereignty”.
The Surinamese government said that it has already taken actions regarding the matter. Krishna Mathoera, the Surinamese Defence Minister, declared to Parliament that the Suriname government had not been idle on this matter. She mentioned that they had looked into the matter and confirmed where the Guyanese troops had intervened, and they had also informed the National Border Commission.
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The dispute between Guyana and Suriname has been a source of tension in the region for decades, and has hindered economic development and security in the region. The lack of a clear resolution to the conflict creates an uncertain environment, which keeps investors away and discourages businesses from operating in the region.
The ticking time bomb of the Guyana-Suriname border conflict is a serious threat to the stability of the region. Without a resolution to the dispute, the region will remain mired in uncertainty, with the potential for increased violence and instability. This can only be avoided by a swift resolution of the dispute, which will allow the region to move forward with development and security.
The international community should therefore take action to ensure that the dispute is resolved in a timely and peaceful manner. A swift resolution to the conflict will not only create a more secure and prosperous region, but will also ensure that the region is better prepared to face future challenges. As such, it is essential that the international community works together to resolve the Guyana-Suriname border conflict before it becomes a full-blown crisis.
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