We were all honoured to work closely with Angela Watson during several years in the mid-2000’s when Barbados was busy solving its maritime boundary problem with Trinidad and Tobago. Angela became a vital and pivotal part of a team which Barbados assembled to address a problem as complex and important as any it has faced.
The decision was taken that, because of the importance of the fishing sector in this process, Barbadian fisherfolk should themselves be members of the team. Angela and Anderson “Rogie” Kinch were invited to join. Angela helped the team – particularly the overseas experts – to understand the reality of the Barbados fishing community’s long-distance activities. She facilitated information gathering and witness documentation from fisherfolk in Barbados. She and Rogie supported the team with critical, first-hand knowledge of Barbados’ fisheries sector during the arbitration hearings in London.
The issue between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago has often been described as a fishing dispute. It was, in part. But closer attention reveals that while fishing was important, there were other very important issues at stake. These included Barbados’ ability to claim what has now become an extended maritime space endowed with significant living and non-living resources, such as oil and other mineral deposits. Angela immediately grasped this important but sometimes misunderstood dimension.
The team Angela joined included some of the world’s finest international lawyers, hydrographers, cartographers, fisheries scientists, historians, diplomats and researchers drawn from Barbados and beyond. Into this world of diplomacy, statecraft, cartography, international law, legal briefs, memorials and counter-memorials, Angela, quite naturally, fit in. With equal measures of grace and clarity, and always with her gentle humour, she ensured that the interests of the Barbadian fishing community were given proper consideration at every stage of the process.
Barbados obtained a good result from the arbitration, which settled the boundary dispute with Trinidad and Tobago and laid the framework for a fishing accord. Barbados has gone on to settle, through negotiation, several more of its maritime boundaries with its neighbours. Barbados was also one of the first countries in the world to establish the limits of its continental shelf in accordance with a United Nations procedure. The result of all of this is that Barbados is now in possession of a maritime territory of several tens of thousands of square miles (hundreds of times its land territory). The living and non-living resources of this area will belong to Barbados and its people for all time. The intelligent use of these resources is one of the keys to a sustainable future for a prosperous Barbados. Angela made a vital contribution to creating this legacy.
Mia Mottley, Sir Henry Forde, Robert Volterra, Teresa Marshall, Adrian Cummins, David Berry, Anderson Kinch, Fra Jackman, Tyronne Brathwaite.
Barbados’ maritime boundaries team was led in the mid-2000’s by Mia Mottley, who was Attorney-General and acted as Agent in the arbitral proceedings with Trinidad and Tobago which resulted in an award in 2006.
Sir Henry Forde was Counsel and Advocate during those proceedings.
Robert Volterra, a Canadian attorney, was co-Agent.
Teresa Marshall was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where François Jackman and Tyronne Brathwaite were Foreign Service Officer.
Adrian Cummins and David Berry were Counsel during the proceedings.
Anderson Kinch was the other representative of the fishing community in the team.