Barbados’ Prime Minister Owen Arthur has outlined a number of retaliatory measures against Trinidad and Tobago as promised when he addressed businessmen and expressed outrage over an elusive Fisheries treaty last week.
Speaking during a national news conference yesterday at Government Headquarters, Prime Minister Arthur noted that the move was a first step in an escalating series of measures by his administration, to ensure an injustice is not committed against Barbados.
To this end, he says, his government will be imposing a number of tariffs on products from Trinidad and Tobago from today. Among them; flying fish, frozen fish, fillet, other fish meat [fresh or chilled], shark, biscuits, wafers, cucumbers, pumpkins, melons, tomatoes, cabbage, a range of vegetables [frozen or fresh], ketchup, ice cream, aerated beverages, beer, stout, doors and their frames and thresholds, paper or paper board labels, bars and rods of iron of non-alloyed steel and T-shirts.
“Under the protocol enshrined in Chapter Seven of the revised treaty of Chaguaramas, member countries which experience disadvantage from participating in the CSME have a right to defend their interest,” he noted. “As a means of improving our balance of trade situation and trade balances…Barbados needs to pay closer attention to its visible trade balance.”
According to him, the effect of the manipulation of this monitoring system is expected to be similar to that which Trinidad’s introduction of Exchange Control Orders plus licensing had on Barbadian exports, particularly garments, in the mid-1980s when the twin-island state was restructuring its manufacturing sector.
Prime Minister Arthur has also revealed that the grouse with the twin island republic is not only limited to fisheries but also maritime boundaries. He has taken issue with the signing, back in 1990, of a Treaty between the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the Republic of Venezuela on the delimitation of marine and submarine areas.
“It has wider implications because in addition to Venezuela’s claim to our territory under this 1990 Maritime delimitation boundary, they have also claimed right to ownership to an island off the coast Dominica known as Bird Rock Island, which validated by any of our action in the Caribbean, would give Venezuela claim to 2000 square miles of Trinidad land, one third of Guyana, and all of the space in the Eastern Caribbean.”
According to him, he’s told Minister Manning that he expect him to honour the undertaking given in Nigeria that there be a review of that treaty with Venezuela. He says it is not enough for to say that to review this treaty is going to affect his interest with Venezuela and Latin America.
“As if he can offend us and wrong us and we can agree that he can offend us and wrong us, And that he himself can acknowledge by his statement in 1990 that he has offended our interest and that he has granted concessions to Venezuela that they have no right to do, But then say you can accept those and don’t quarrel about it but let me just maintain the status quo with Venezuela that is contrary to the international law. And that is what is at issue here.”
“Barbados will not agree to validate Venezuela’s claim to the territory of any Caribbean country that is contrary to international law. To do so would put Venezuelan in a position to claim all the land and mining resources in the Eastern Caribbean, affecting the interest of St. Kitts, Antigua, et. al.”
To this end, Prime Minister Arthur has suggested that if need be he would be taking higher recourse.
“There is a means that it can be resolved. We have a team in place that is the best in the world and they have been advising us on the matter. Today’s matter is the first step in a number of measures which we are going to take. Barbados will seek and has the capacity to seek recourse and a solution where that solution is to be found.”