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Those overlapping boundaries

Thursday, April 12, 2018

At the closest point the distance between T&T and the Venezuelan mainland is just six miles and within those overlapping territorial boundaries there are abundant fisheries and hydrocarbon resources.

Incidents like the recent one involving the arrests of Cedros fishermen Awardnath and Nicolas Hajarie and Shami Seepersad used to occur regularly until the establishment of a Mixed Commission for the Prevention, Investigation and Resolution of Fishing Incidents in the late 1990s. However, the truth is that fishermen from either side have been breaching the maritime boundaries between the two countries for generations.

Reports of increased instability within Venezuela have given rise to concerns that it might be more difficult now to regulate fishing and other activities in that strait.

The worrying aspect of the latest incident is the claim that the fishermen were in Venezuelan waters and were chased by the Guardia Nacional who eventually arrested them in T&T waters. If that is the case, questions have to be raised about the frequency of patrols in that area which must be teeming with all kinds of activities—some of it illicit—as well as the level of co-operation and information-sharing between the Guardia Nacional and the T&T Coast Guard.

Maybe its time to revisit agreements and arrangements pertaining to those boundaries.

A simple apology will do

Mistakes can be made but moving forward, particularly in this era of fake news, often requires an unequivocal acknowledgement of blunders. It can certainly make the process of damage control quicker and easier.

In a relatively short space of time, the group Powerful Ladies of T&T (PLOTT) has distinguished itself as a respected and credible voice on issues of national importance. However, that can all come crashing down following an unfortunate misrepresentation of President Paula-Mae Weekes’ role in the Darryl Smith matter.

Her Excellency has wasted no time in pointing out the error and expressing her distress over the situation. Her explanation of the constitutional provisions involved certainly clarifies the President’s role in these situation.

PLOTT’s response of long confusing follow-up statement only creates more social media fodder. An apology, short and simple, would have been more fitting in the circumstances, making recovery of credibility a lot easier.

Positive energy

Revenues from oil and gas have been better than expected for the first half of the fiscal year, averaging around US$63 a barrel, which is well above the US$52 price on which the National Budget is pegged. The nation needs more of this kind of positive energy.


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