Barbados taking TT to court
Posted By: News In Response To: Troubled waters in Caricom *LINK* (News)
Date: 25, November 03, at 12:33 p.m.
In Response To: Troubled waters in Caricom *LINK* (News)
By FRANCIS JOSEPH, Newsday TT
BARBADOS is planning to take Trinidad and Tobago to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Germany to settle a new fishing treaty, although a possibility still exist that an agreement could be reached in the near future.
Newsday was informed yesterday that Barbados has already consulted a team of international lawyers to contest the matter at ITLOS Headquarters in Hamburg, Germany. ITLOS is an independent judicial body established by the United Nations to adjudicate disputes arising out of matters involving maritime boundaries. Disputes before the Tribunal are instituted either by written application or by notification of a special agreement. A check with ITLOS yesterday revealed that the dispute has not yet reached Germany, but officials are aware that such a matter was likely.
Barbados will be entitled to have an “ad hoc judge” to sit on the ITLOS panel when the case is being heard. There are no Bajan judges on the 21-member ITLOS panel, so the country will be accorded the right to choose a highly-respectable legal official to sit on the Tribunal. It could not be ascertained if Barbados will go for a national of that country, or would seek a top legal man with expertise in international law. Trinidad and Tobago already has a judge on the panel in Justice Anthony Lucky, who was elected on September 2 to ITLOS, replacing his countryman Lennox Ballah who died earlier this year.
A major dispute has broken out between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago over the right to fish in territorial waters between the two countries. Negotiations between both countries ended last Friday at Manor Lodge, Greenhill, St Michael, in Barbados without an agreement being reached. Trinidad and Tobago was represented by Ambassador Phillip Sealey, while Sir Harold St John led the Barbados team. A joint statement released after the meeting said, “on the matter of fisheries, the two sides have further refined their respective positions on the outstanding issues and have made some progress in resolving their differences. “A number of issues still remain to be resolved before a fisheries agreement will be ready for signature.
The delegations also had a further exchange of views on maritime delimitation on the ongoing process to negotiate a maritime boundary delimitation treaty between Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados. “The two sides have agreed to resume these negotiations as soon as possible in light of the importance of the issues to the overall relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados,” the statement added. Last week, Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur said that until the longstanding fishing dispute between the two countries is resolved, his country would not consider deepening political ties with Trinidad and Tobago. Arthur said the regional integration movement could be compromised over the inability of CARICOM states to resolve matters which affected their citizens. Prime Minister Patrick Manning, speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference last week, said Barbados’ demand for greater access to this country’s flying fish resources posed a problem in the resolution of a new fishing agreement between the two countries.
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