Grenada, Trinidad governments to discuss proposed single maritime boundary

St. George’s, Grenada – Grenada government ministers are meeting this week to discuss a report which includes an historic recommendation for the establishment of a maritime boundary between Grenada and oil-rich Trinidad and Tobago.

The report, drafted at talks held last week in the Trinidadian capital, Port of Spain, was drawn up by officials of the Joint Boundary Commission of Grenada and Trinidad.

“The commission succeeded in arriving at a single maritime boundary between Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago,’’ said Dr. Carlyle Mitchell, commissioner and headed the Grenada delegation to the Port of Spain talks. Other Grenada commissioners were Senator Arley Gill and Mr. Gilbert Massel.

Dr. Mitchell is a former Permanent Secretary in the Grenada Ministry of Finance, and has also served as Director of the Economic Affairs Secretariat at the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. Mr. Massel is a former Director of Lands and Surveys in the Ministry of Agriculture, and Senator Gill – an attorney and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office – is a specialist in international maritime law.

The delegation to Trinidad was complemented by Foreign Service Officer Alva Browne, and advisors – maritime specialist and lawyer, Ambassador Anslem Clouden; attorney Reynold Benjamin who has researched and written extensively on maritime issues; and experienced public service professional, Mr. John Auguste, Senior Energy Officer for the Government of Grenada.

The negotiating team was joined at the final day of talks last Friday, March 12, by Grenada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Peter David.

“I am delighted with the work of Dr. Mitchell and the other members of the delegation, and how much closer we are now to having an agreement signed establishing Grenada’s maritime boundary. The formal signing of an agreement would give us an opportunity to explore to see what resources lie below Grenada’s waters,’’ Hon. David told the Government Information Service on his return to Grenada on Saturday with the commissioners.

The Joint Boundary Commission’s report has to be presented to each of the cabinet of ministers in Grenada and Trinidad to receive official approval from them, Dr. Mitchell added.

“Thereafter, it is expected that a boundary treaty will be signed between Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago by their respective Prime Ministers,’’ said Dr. Mitchell.

The current bilateral negotiations, which have now resulted in consensus on delimitation of the countries’ boundary line, started after a visit to Trinidad by Prime Minister Hon. Tillman Thomas in August 2008, shortly after his National Democratic Congress party was voted into office in general elections in Grenada.

Last week’s three-day discussions were the third round of talks by the Grenada/Trinidad Joint Boundary Commission.

With a deal with Trinidad now imminent, Foreign Minister David said added attention will be given to commencing maritime talks with Venezuela, another regional oil-producing nation.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs intends to work tirelessly on resolving some outstanding matters with Venezuela that can result in positive economic outturns for Grenada,’’ Hon. David promised.

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