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AG's Senate Statement on Maritime Boundary Dispute Misleading
Posted: Tuesday, April 18, 2006

By Stephen Kangal

I refrained from making any premature statement on the Tuesday 11 April Judgment handed down by the ad hoc Arbitral Tribunal constituted in accordance with Annex VIII of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. This five-member Arbitral Tribunal headed by Judge Stephen Schwebel adjudicated on the T&T/Barbados Maritime Boundary Dispute and not The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. The International Dispute Resolution Centre is in London.

We must assess the complexity and intricacies of the ruling carefully and dispassionately. It appears that the AG released his Senate statement without reading the judgment carefully. It also appears that the AG obtained Cabinet's approval for the Statement before the Judgment was actually known and evaluated. The AG based his Statement on the T&T negotiating briefs and positions shown in Map 7.5 of the Judgment. He was under the illusion that the Arbitration had accepted this proposal when it in fact did not. This is the faux pas of the century.

I doubt that in 3 hours T&T especially the local Negotiating Team could not have studied the decision thoroughly, written the Draft Senate Statement, obtained Cabinet's prior approval and have it ready for delivery in the Senate by 1:30 p.m. of the same day.

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