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Barbados and Saint Lucia reach agreement to settle maritime boundary

10 March 2016

The Caribbean island nations of Barbados and Saint Lucia have agreed on the delimitation of maritime boundary between their two countries. The agreement reached last week was brokered with the legal and technical assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat. 

Under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, all coastal states are entitled to an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles. However, the close proximity of Barbados and Saint Lucia, which are less than 100 nautical miles apart, meant that the two countries had to formally agree the boundary between their respective exclusive economic zones.

Following the meetings last week, heads of delegation for the two countries underlined in a joint statement that the outcome of the negotiations “bear testimony to the spirit of cordiality and good-neighbourliness” that underpinned the agreement. The delegations were accompanied and supported by Rosemarie Cadogan, Legal Adviser from the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Joshua Brien, Head of Oceans and Natural Resources at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said: 'This treaty will provide certainty and ensure that both countries are able to manage their ocean space and natural resources. It also provides the foundation for both countries to develop ocean-based industries and their blue economy potential.'

The delegations from Barbados and Saint Luca were joined by officials from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, who had concluded similar negotiations with Barbados in August 2015 with the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The Barbados delegation was led by Ambassador Robert Morris, Barbados’ High Commissioner to Saint Lucia. The delegations of Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were headed respectively by Dr June Soomer, Ambassador of Saint Lucia to CARICOM and the OECS and Commander David Robin, Director, Maritime Administration of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

For nearly three decades, the Commonwealth Secretariat has provided advice to its member countries to help them establish maritime boundary agreements and exercise their rights under international law. Over the past five years, this has led to the successful settlement of 14 maritime boundaries throughout the Commonwealth.

Pictured from left to right: Dr June Soomer, Ambassador of Saint Lucia to CARICOM and the OECS, Ambassador Robert Morris, Barbados’ High Commissioner to Saint Lucia, and Commander David Robin, Director, Maritime Administration of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

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