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Maxie Leaving His Crease
Posted: Thursday, June 1, 2006

By Stephen Kangal

Maxie Cuffie, Research Adviser attached to the Office of the Attorney General in the process of attempting to correct David Brathwaite's article published in the Business Guardian (April 27) is himself guilty of having made numerous deliberate errors.

I need not refer to those who rush in where angels are known to avoid.

Let me summarise his many misrepresentations in his article entitled "T&T Gains exclusive zone" contained in the Business Guardian of 4 May, p. 27:

1. Barbados claimed EEZ rights extending to within the 12-mile territorial sea from Tobago. This claim was tabled only during the hearings of the Tribunal and not at the two rounds of bilateral negotiations. Therefore that claim was neither the basis nor the trigger that caused Barbados to refer the matter to arbitration in the first instance. According to Barbados they did it secretly to avoid T&T invoking the exception clause in Article 298 of UNCLOS. The claims of coastal states extending to maritime areas located beyond 12 miles apply to rights over resources (sovereign rights) and not of "maritime territory" (sovereignty) as stated by Maxie.

2. The triangular 317 sq. nautical miles ( as shown on the chart above) in question were not exclusively "...Barbados' EEZ..." That is also not "...maritime territory awarded to T&T...." Since 1982 (24 years) by UNCLOS, 1986 (20 years) by Act No 24 of 1986 and 1990 (16 years) by the TT/Venezuela Treaty that area constituted part of T&T's EEZ although overlapping with Barbados' EEZ. However as can be seen T&T developed a superior claim extending eastwards of Point 11 also to Point 22 the defence of which the T&T Team failed to argue effectively before the Tribunal since Barbados did not protest as required by law in respect of a continental shelf claim made over waters that could have been assimilated into the EEZ of Barbados. That therefore is not new marine areas brought under the jurisdiction and control of T&T.

3. Maxie's talk of T&T having for the first time "... an EEZ of 200 miles northeast of Tobago..." is patently false. At no point east, north or south of Tobago except at singularly Point 11, that is not located north-east of Tobago, does T&T exercise 200-mile EEZ rights. T&T in effect and to all intents and purposes now has no real 200-mile EEZ measured from Little Tobago.

4. The Tribunal in fact illegally granted to Barbados jurisdiction and control to the entire maritime area of T&T's continental shelf extending beyond 200 miles to 300 miles (Point 22 of the 1990 Treaty marks the continental margin). That marine area is in fact T&T's natural prolongation and not of Barbados. The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf will not approve Barbados exercising sovereign rights beyond the limits of its 200 mile EEZ.

5. Barbados did not refer "... its dispute with T&T to the international dispute resolution centre..." It was submitted to an ad hoc Arbitral Tribunal that sat at that Centre in London.

6. What approaches did the Government of T&T ever make to Barbados, if any, post- 16 Feb. 2004 to get Barbados back to the bilateral negotiating table or to chose a less costly litigation procedure? None whatsoever.

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