EXCITING EXCHANGE Both men then tried to stamp their authority on the fight, and there was an exciting exchange over the last 20 seconds of the round, which was a signal to spectators that they were in for a fistic treat. And so it was. The excitement continued into the second round as a confident and sometimes cocky Gardener scored repeatedly with hard punches to the head and body. Lewis had his moments of ascendancy, but it was Gardener who scored consistently and methodically in the third round, which produced a lot of action and had spectators on their feet cheering wildly as the tempo of the fight increased. Things reached a crescendo in the fourth round as Gardener let loose with a barrage of punches. Lewis was not able to keep him at bay and he was hurt in this round. After a quick burst of two-fisted action from Gardener, Lewis seemed ready to fall and would have quite likely hit the canvas if he had not been caught up in the ropes. Referee Owen Nelson ruled this a knock-down, however, and gave Lewis an eight count. Gardener was all over him at the bell. When Gardener came out for the fifth and final round, he was more conservative and appeared winded. This was not surprising, however, as it was the first time that he had gone beyond three rounds. Lewis was not able to capitalise on this, however, and Gardener was able to end the fight on cruise control, and a with a victory neatly tucked away in his pocket. There was one amateur bout on the card which saw Samuel Grant of Sugar Olympic Gym scoring a points victory over Collel Hogg from Boys’ Town. Hard-hitting Michael ‘The Wasp’ Gardener moved one step closer to his goal of being the 2016 Wray and Nephew Contender champion when he scored a brilliant victory on points over his more experienced rival, Ramel ‘Sub Zero’ Lewis, at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium on Wednesday night. It was a unanimous decision as Judge Ransford Burton scored the fight 49-45, Laurence Neufville 49-46, and Peter Richards 50-45. This was easily the most exciting fight in the competition so far, and spectators had a lot to cheer about. Both men had signalled beforehand that they would be throwing a lot of punches, and they kept their word. The action started immediately after the signal to start was given, and it was Lewis who landed the first decisive punches. Gardener retaliated very quickly, however, and three jabs followed by a hook to the body sent the signal to Lewis that he was in for a hard night. The Gardener camp had something to think about before the round ended as he was cut over the left eye by a punch. The doctor examined it and ruled that it was nothing serious.
Venezuela refusal to face ICJ– former Foreign Affairs MinisterNow that Venezuela has made known its intention not to participate in the matter before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the border controversy with Guyana, the Government of Guyana has also announced its intention to proceed with the case and is requesting that it rule in its favour.Former Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Henry JeffreyAs a matter of fact, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement on Monday evening that under Article 53 of the Statute of the Court, “whenever one of the parties does not appear before the Court, or fails to defend its case, the other Party may call upon the Court to decide in favour of its claim.” Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Henry Jeffrey said while this may not be a binding agreement even if the ICJ rules in Guyana’s favour, the decision could still be useful for many reasons. He said it will give Guyana some standing, especially since the decision would come from the highest world court. “If for instance there is a problem and Venezuela tries to invade and have to end up at the United Nations (UN) Security Council, I suppose the outcome of this would have some bearing. But I don’t think Venezuela will agree to any decision that is made,” Jeffrey told Guyana Times on Tuesday. The Venezuelan Government issued a statement on Monday outlining its decision not to participate in the United Nations Secretary General-chosen procedure regarding its claim over the Essequibo region. This announcement followed several months after the decision was made by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to refer the matter to the ICJ as a means of resolving the ongoing controversy.“It would be useful in the sense that if the court give you a positive decision it would be useful in terms of future discourses maybe at the UN and partners…If they try to invade Guyana or anything this might be a useful decision at the UN Security Council and it would have bearing on the UN,” he added.However, the former Minister reasoned that there is nothing in international rule to compel Venezuela to participate in the court matter, and as such, he believes Guyana should maintain a cordial relationship with their Spanish-speaking neighbour, in an effort to avoid an escalation of the issue.Another observation made by Dr Jeffrey is the fact that Venezuela has made its intention know even before the matter was taken to the ICJ. “Venezuela said long ago that they wanted nothing to do with it, but they (Guyana) went ahead. But there was always a 90 percent chance that they would have gone to the ICJ. They (Guyana) knew that Venezuela would not have gone to the ICJ,” he added.Registrar of the International Court of Justice, Philippe Couvreur and Foreign Affairs Minister Carl GreenidgeThe former Foreign Minister has long argued that Guyana should not stop bilateral talks with Venezuela and shouldn’t use the border controversy to develop any bad blood with the neighbouring country. “The Guyanese and Venezuelans will live together for the longest while, regardless (of) where the border is. Guyana has a position on the border, so there will always be discourse,” he opined.Revisiting his suggestion that talks between Guyana and Venezuela continue, the former Minister said talks should never cease because Venezuela has already made its position clear that it will not accept the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the border controversy. Within that context, he said, Guyana must still find a way to continue to exist within the same space that borders the two countries.On March 29, 2018, Guyana filed an application requesting the World Court to confirm the legal validity and binding effect of the 1899 Arbitral Award regarding its boundary with Venezuela.This application follows a decision by the UN Secretary General 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 has 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.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, but 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. (Samuel Sukhnandan)