EXCELSIOR ATOP GROUP A With the ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup competition preliminary stage nearing completion, there are still a few things left to be settled, with a number of intense battles for the remaining spots in the second stage on the card. Sixteen teams, comprising the seven group winners and runners-up, as well as the two best third-place finishers, will qualify for the second stage, which is set to start on October 24. They will be divided into four groups consisting of four teams each, with the group winners advancing to the semi-finals. Now, it is down to the wire for the nine remaining spots, which could be decided after today’s games spread across the Corporate Area and St Catherine. Reigning champions Jamaica College are among seven teams already certain of spots in the second stage. The others are Kingston College and Denham Town High; from Group C; Holy Trinity High and Charlie Smith High from Group E; as well as Wolmer’s and Camperdown High from Group F. Haile Selassie High are looking for a win against St Catherine High in this afternoon’s game at Barbican Complex set to start at 3:30 p.m. The Geoffrey Maxwell – coached Haile Selassie is in pole position in Group D on 21 points from eight games, while St Catherine, who are under the guidance of Anthony Patrick, are currently on 17 points in third position behind Jonathan Grant High (19). That means, St Catherine will have to gain maximum points to remain in contention for an automatic spot. In Group A, Excelsior High are on top on 16 points, ahead of St George’s College (15) after Friday’s exciting 1-0 win, with Greater Portmore (13) next best. Greater Portmore must win against many-time champions St George’s College to have a chance of making the second stage. Excelsior are expected to get the better of lowly Tivoli Gardens and maintain the lead. In Group G, Bridgeport are on top on 20 points, ahead of St Jago High (16), Hydel (15), and Calabar (15) as the teams in contention. Bridgeport should continue their impressive run when they play away to Campion College. St Jago are expected to get the better of Cumberland, while it’s anyone’s guess in the Hydel-Calabar game. Today’s games Vauxhall vs Jamaica College Greater Portmore vs St George’s College Excelsior vs Tivoli Gardens Norman Manley vs Kingston College Denham Town vs Papine Ascot vs St Mary’s College Ardenne vs Meadowbrook Jonathan Grant vs Pembroke Hall Haile Selassie vs St Catherine Kingston Technical vs Wolmer’s Dunoon vs Camperdown Jose Marti vs Edith Dalton James St Jago vs Cumberland Campion College vs Bridgeport Calabar vs Hydel Clan Carthy vs Holy Trinity Waterford vs Mona (Home teams are named first and all games kick-off at 3:30 p.m.)
Guyana/Venezuela border controversy…as time winds down on Good Offices processGuyana’s main Private Sector umbrella representative organisation, the Private Sector Commission (PSC), has reiterated its support for Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, and in particular the Guyana Government, in ensuring that claims to local lands be refuted.The PSC commitment comes in light of the recent border controversy that was sparked between Guyana and Venezuela. The decades-old controversy was brought back into the spotlight following the discovery of oil in Guyana which led to Venezuela reiterating its land claims.Relations between Guyana and Venezuela have worsened ever since United States oil giant ExxonMobil announced in 2015 that it had found oil in Guyana. Venezuela has staunchly been against oil exploration in Guyana’s Stabroek Block, where multiple oil deposits were found by ExxonMobil.Venezuela has long claimed a huge tract of land in Essequibo, which comprises nearly 40 per cent of Guyana’s current territory. But Guyana has maintained that Venezuela’s claim on the nullity of an award is a legal matter that must be resolved at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).Minister Greenidge said the country is awaiting the final decision from the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, now that another year of the Good Offices Process is almost done.The Secretary General’s Personal Representative, Norwegian Diplomat, Dag Nylander, had to submit his report on the meetings he facilitated between the two countries to Guterres.The engagements between the UN representative and the two countries were concluded in November and according to Greenidge, there have only been three meetings between the two countries since.Greenidge said Guyana has intensified its bilateral activism with other countries to ensure the Secretary General honours his obligations which is to refer the matter to the Court (International Court of Justice) at the end of 2017 unless there is significant progress in resolving the matter.The 1966 Geneva Agreement identified the UN Secretary General to resolve the matter using a menu of measures under Article 33 of the UN agreement. Minister Greenidge said, “We call on the Secretary General to look at his mandate and to refer the matter to the highest court in the world, the ICJ.”At the recently concluded MERCOSUR Summit held in Brazil, Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge said Guyana’s South American neighbour has been updated on Venezuela’s contention that the 1899 Award is null and void, and remains resolute to its original position.The Department of Public Information (DPI) reported that the border controversy issue was recently raised with Brazil and that country has maintained its support for Guyana, noting that the boundaries of the sub-continent should remain where they are and have existed for decades.“The matter was raised with Brazil as per normal. As neighbours, we always have exchanges on this. The President gave them an update as to where we are, and Brazil has not indicated any movement from its traditional position, which is that the boundaries of the sub-continent should remain where they are,” Minister Greenidge explained.In addition, Minister Greenidge said Guyana is awaiting the final decision of the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, who undertook to have the matter sent to the World Court, should there be a failure to have an amicable settlement between Guyana and Venezuela.Venezuela, with almost 40 times the population of Guyana and a territory that is several times bigger, claimed, in 1968, the entire territorial sea of Guyana by means of the Leoni Decree, which has never been withdrawn. For decades now, Venezuela has occupied the Guyana side of Ankoko Island, objected to the development of hydro power stations in Essequibo, and has been staunchly opposed to Guyana exploring for oil offshore and onshore its Essequibo territory.The Venezuelan Navy had, in 2013, intercepted and detained a Malaysian seismic vessel that had been conducting surveys in an offshore concession granted by Guyana to the United States-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, causing that company to leave and never return.There have also been incidents inland Guyana, with Venezuelan aircraft attacking vessels operating on the portion of the Cuyuní River that the arbitration court has awarded Guyana.