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Unpatriotic Signals of Neemakharamism from Tobago
Posted: Monday, October 18, 2004

by Stephen Kangal

In the face of the enormous budgetary and other allocations afforded aplenty to fuel the feeding frenzy beneficial to the 4% of Trinbagonians resident in the sister isle of Tobago I must express my outrage at the unpatriotic, divisive and self-serving signals of neemakharamism coming from those elected to preside over the unitary statehood of Mother T&T. They must disabuse their minds from believing that T&T is a twin- island republic. It is a 23-island archipelagic state since 1988 by statute.

A Caroni cane-cutter should not have to remind THA Secretary London and former President Robinson that an acrimonious dispute relating to the fixing of a maritime boundary between T&T and Barbados has now progressed to a very delicate stage before international litigation. T&T's case rests heavily on the applicability of the use of its archipelagic straight baseline drawn from Point Galeota to Little Tobago to derive and draw this bilateral boundary.

Accordingly that statement attributed to former President/PM Robinson (Express Reports by Earl Manmohan) at the Tobago Meeting of the President's National Self-Discovery Committee reincarnating Tobago's potential independence/secession and consequent collapse and demise of T&T's current archipelagic status can constitute a potential relevant equitable circumstance. This can now be introduced by Barbados before the Tribunal to nullify T&T's use of its straight baseline mentioned above for a future boundary.

This is bad. But it is worse for elder statesman Robinson to have proceeded to conclude quite erroneously that Tobago's potential EEZ claims, when independent, would make it larger than Trinidad. That statement is factually incorrect and patently but intentionally misleading to Trinbagonians. God forbid, but if Mr. Robinson's coded secessionist message is realised, in spite of his caveat, Trinidad's EEZ jurisdiction will be enormously larger. However the extent of the coastal state's EEZ is not included in determining its area.

Mr. Robinson must bridle his penchant for irresponsible and wild speculation especially while mounting a platform hosted by His Excellency The President. He may have impugned the Office of the President by his undiplomatic statements. Sometime ago in 1989 while PM in the NAR Administration Mr. Robinson publicly advocated the use of the median line to draw a boundary with Barbados that T&T then and now opposes.

For THA Secretary Orville London to have joined in this eminently unpatriotic, irresponsible and sterile discussion, for which he has no political mandate, in order to provide fodder for the secessionist fringe in Tobago is tantamount to the Bojpuri concept of "assal neemakharamism" (pure ungratefulness).

Is T&T not in the vanguard of the regional and sub-regional integration demarche? Are we not regrettably polarised ethnically to have to deal with a potential separatist agenda? Is Mr. London introducing the "break away" theme to galvanise support ahead of the upcoming THA elections having failed with his third seat "THA election" scenario? What prevents St. Patrick County from seceding as well and joining Venezuela or County of Nariva-Mayaro from doing the same and claiming ownership of the South East Coast off-shore oil/gas fields as being its own? If force will not be used in Tobago to restore sanity it cannot and should not be used against the Mayaro brothers.

Is former President Robinson stoking the fires for the dismemberment of T&T when as a former President he has an obligation to promote national cohesiveness and the territorial integrity of Mother T&T.

Is this the type of harmony that the National Discovery Committee wants to inculcate in T&T?

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