Prime Minister Tillman Thomas and the delegation upon return from Trinidad
(photo by Lincoln Depradine)
Port of Spain, April 21, 2010 – The leaders of Grenada and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago have hailed the signing of a maritime treaty between the two countries as symbolic of their historical bonds of friendship. Prime Ministers Tillman Thomas of Grenada and Patrick Manning of Trinidad and Tobago affixed their signatures to the treaty at about 11.20 Wednesday morning in Port of Spain, the Trinidad and Tobago capital.
“Today,’’ said Prime Minister Thomas, “is testament to our shared commitment to the continued deepening of relations and cooperation between our two states.’’ Hon. Thomas said the agreement leading to the signing of the treaty is “consistent with international maritime law and conventions,’’ and is in keeping with the “mutual interest’’ of both Grenada and Trinidad.
In the case of Grenada, added Prime Minister Thomas, the stage is set “for the exploration and exploitation of our marine resources, which will be to the benefit of our people and the development of our nation.’’ One Grenadian maritime expert, who witnessed the signing ceremony, projects that Grenada could reap immediate benefits by establishing a body to manage the expected oil and natural resources deposited in the country’s waters.
He explained that once the proper infrastructure is in place, Grenada could be generating up to US$200 billion in revenue from oil and gas in less than three years time.Prime Minister Manning called the treaty “just and equitable,’’ and described its signing as an “extremely positive development’’ for Grenada and Trinidad, and for progress in the Caribbean.
Mr. Manning referred to the historically “good neighbourliness’’ between Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago, and said the treaty establishes a course for a “new direction in the relations between the two countries.’’ The treaty follows a report of a Joint Boundary Commission that met in three rounds of maritime talks.
According to Prime Minister Manning, the commission’s report was “well-written and well-reasoned.’’ Wednesday’s signing ceremony was witnessed by Grenada’s Foreign Minister Hon. Peter David; Trinidad and Tobago’s Foreign Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon; Senators Chester Humphrey and Chris DeAllie of Grenada; as well as by Grenadian representatives on the Joint Boundary Commission. They included Dr. Carlyle Mitchell, Grenada’s chief commissioner, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa and a former Director of the Economic Affairs Secretariat of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.
Other commissioners at the signing were Senator Arley Gill, a maritime law specialist; former Director of Lands and Survey in Grenada, Gilbert Massell; Foreign Service Officer Alva Browne; Senior Energy Officer John Auguste; and advisors – maritime specialist Anslem Clouden, and attorney Reynold Benjamin.