St Vincent-Barbados sign fishing agreement

Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have signed a treaty establishing a maritime boundary between the two countries.

Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, affixed their signatures to the treaty in Bridgetown.

Stuart noted that their signatures on the document, which established a maritime boundary based on equidistance between the two countries, and which is the first of its kind between Barbados and a member country of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), marked “a truly historic moment.”

“The definition of the extent of a state’s jurisdiction over its land and maritime space is not a small matter. In fact, the ability of a state to exercise this jurisdiction unimpeded is one of the very defining characteristics of sovereignty.

To agree with one’s neighbours exactly where their jurisdiction begins and yours ends is thus a matter of the highest import to the proper conduct of the business of the state,” he stated.

The PM also praised Barbados’ ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Robert “Bobby” Morris, who led the Barbados team in the negotiations, as well as the Commonwealth Secretariat, which provided technical advice.

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines PM agreed that the treaty was a testament to the excellent relationship between the two countries. “It speaks to the excellent relations between our people. We are the closest neighbour to Barbados and we have never had any fight over where the boundaries are. Barbadian fishermen would come into our exclusive economic zone, some would even come into the territorial sea and Vincentian fishermen would have done the same thing,” he stressed.

Barbados will also have an opportunity to exploit the living and non-living resources in its national waters.