Barbados said Thursday that the decision of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to maritime agreements in Grenada is a “tangible demonstration of that commitment to closer regional integration”.
Barbados signed the accord establishing a maritime boundary with St.. Lucia at the same time that Castries signed a similar treaty with St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said that both treaties “are the results of a series of talks between, and among the three countries” and that a third related maritime boundary delimitation agreement – between Barbados and St. Vincent – was conducted and signed in 2015 and has already entered into force.
He told the signing ceremony that the definition of the extent of a state’s jurisdiction over its land and maritime space is no small matter.
“However, the alacrity with which all parties have been able to reach agreement on their respective maritime boundaries speaks volumes to the breadth, the depth and the tenor of regional cooperation and the spirit of unity that have traditionally characterised CARICOM interstate relations,” Stuart said, adding “I can truly say that this is an historic moment which I am honoured to be a part”.
Stuart, the only head of government to have addressed the occasion, said the twin issues of ocean governance and the blue economy are becoming increasingly topical and that part and parcel of both endeavours “is the ability of a state to exercise jurisdiction unimpeded over the ocean space appertaining to it.
“Indeed, such exercise of jurisdiction is one of the very defining characteristics of sovereignty and to be able to agree with one’s neighbours exactly where their jurisdiction begins and yours ends, and vice versa is thus a matter of the highest import to the proper conduct of the business of the state”.
Stuart said that the symbolism of the signing of the treaty, not in Bridgetown, Castries, but in the margins of the CARICOM summit has not escaped him.
“To me, it is a palpable, tangible demonstration of that commitment to closer regional integration and closer cooperation that is still alive within our regional grouping”.
He said the signing “is nothing less than another defining step as we seek to deepen relations between our countries, enhance regional cooperation and continue to develop a stable regime for our common patrimony, the Caribbean Sea”.