Barbados’ potential to earn millions of dollars from offshore oil exploration has increased.
But the island will have to enter negotiations with Guyana and Suriname to work out how the three countries will use the territorial area which overlap.
This follows a decision by United Nations body dealing with the management of the world’s territorial seas to approve an increase amount of continental shelf for Barbados.
News of this came today from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart as the House of Assembly debated amendments to the Offshore Petroleum Act, which was passed in 2007.
“In April 2012 the Commission issued its recommendations in respect of Barbados’ revised submission and agreed with Barbados’ submissions, with the result that Barbados acquired an additional 57,000 square kilometers of continental shelf, extending mainly to the north, east and south of this island,” he announced
“The Barbados team has to be congratulated for the very sterling efforts it made on this country’s behalf. It has placed this country eternally in its debt, and a high level of intelligence and hard work had to be pressed into service in order to achieve these results.
“The result of course is that potentially Barbados is a much richer country for the efforts of those dedicated public servants and … Barbados is the first small island developing state to have been issued recommendations by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf,” he added.
As a result of this development, the St. Michael South MP noted Barbados had “a leadership position in this area as well to add to the many other areas in which we have assumed leadership”. Stuart said negotiations with neighbouring countries, specifically Guyana and Suriname were now necessary following the UN decision.
“Of course we have to do some negotiations still with Guyana and Suriname because as the law states, where there is overlap between adjoining coastal states negotiations have to take place to bring finality to issues of delimitation of a continental shelf, but that fact not withstanding Barbados has basically settled those issues of delimitation and is ready to move ahead,” he said. (SC)