Holding the Faith: Horizon Interfaith Council, an intercultural organization comprising 35 different faith groups, works towards promoting religious harmony and mutual respect among its member groups. The body held its 4th Annual Horizon Interfaith concert last Saturday in Toronto where cultural performances by mostly young people were featured. The programme included songs, dances and other items that displayed the richness and diversity of the various faith groups on the Canadian landscape.
In picture are some of th movers and shakers of the Horizon Interfaith Council. From left: Tony Gallagher, Executive Member; Swami Bhajanandaji, Chair; Mike Diotte, Executive Member; Earl Smith, Past Chair; Wendy Guy, Secretary; Brenda Webb and Ani La, Organizers of the Horizon International concerts.
The Caribbean Children Foundation contributed $10,500 to the Sick Kids Hospital towards the medical procedure for Adrian Soodeen, a child from Trinidad. In picture, Norman Sue hands over the cheque to Kamla Sharma
(centre) Director of the Hospitalís International Patients Dept. Also in picture are: (back row left to right) Jay Brijpal, Kumar Singh, (front row) Vic Ramsamooj, Irzad Safraj, Clement Edwards, Ramesh Hazarie, Indira Persaud, Vidyia Persaud, Shivani Ross and Rita Singh.
Manning goes to Caricom, Arthur further abroad
Tensions rise over fishing as leaders deal with troubled waters
By Sandra Chouthi
Special to Indo Caribbean World
Port-of-Spain - The fishing dispute between Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados has descended to Barbadian Prime Minister Owen Arthur threatening to introduce licences for goods being imported into his country and to have the issue resolved by the United Nations.
Given the declaration to have the matter dealt with under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Barbados government then declared two weeks ago that, "All prior negotiations on maritime boundary delimitation and fisheries are now deemed to have been suspended."
The dispute arose following the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard's arrest of two Barbadian fishermen in Trinidad and Tobago waters on February 7 with a catch on board. The fishermen were handed over to the police in Tobago. Their captains, Joseph Mason and Samuel Firebrace appeared before Magistrate Joan Gill in the Scarborough Second Magistrates' Court on February 9, but were freed as the police offered no evidence.
Director of Public Prosecutions Geoffrey Henderson on February 14 ordered an investigation into the decision not to prosecute the two fishermen. Henderson wrote to Police Commissioner Everald Snaggs asking who gave instructions to the police not to proceed with the case. Snaggs declined comment on the issue saying an investigation was underway.
On January 30, Manning said this country plans to refer the "very contentious" fishing dispute with Barbados to Caricom. Manning said steps were being taken to lodge Trinidad and Tobago's case with the Caricom Secretariat.
The situation became diplomatically tense on February 14 when Arthur announced at a news conference in Barbados that his country was going to place from the following day a range of Trinidad and Tobago products under an import licensing regime.
Goods expected to be immediately added to the
licensing system include beer, stout, aerated beverages, fish, frozen fish, watermelons and doors.
On February 27, Anthony Hosang, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers' Association (TTMF) appealed to Trinidadians to support local industry in this difficult period.
Barbados is claiming that a 14-year Maritime Delimitation Treaty in 1990 signed between Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela violates international law and places Barbados and Guyana at a disadvantage. Barbados Attorney General Mia Mottley on February 18 warned that if Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard arrested any Barbadian fishermen in the disputed waters between the two countries, which are outside Trinidad's 12-mile territorial boundary, while the matter is before an arbitration committee, Barbados will respond in the strongest possible terms. Mottley said that the dispute over maritime territory "goes to the heart of Barbados' economic, financial and strategic interests."
The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard said it has received no instructions to increase the surveillance of local waters arising out of the dispute.
Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister two weeks ago said that his government was not going to play this issue out in the media and that a gentle approach to its resolution did not mean weakness. Manning announced at a post-Cabinet press conference on February 19 that the government was determined to protect all of Trinidad and Tobago's natural resources, including its oil, natural gas, and fish.
Meanwhile, Tobago House of Assembly chief secretary Orville London on February 19 advised Tobagonians to be careful when at sea in the wake of the fishing imbroglio.
"I just want to urge all of us, including our fishermen, that there are law enforcement bodies, there is a law enforcement authority that operates on the land and the sea, and I just wish to advise all Tobagonians, especially those on the sea, to ensure they allow good sense to prevail in any situation they might encounter on land or sea," London said.
After the dispute arose, the two Caribbean neighbours planned to meet on February 18 to resolve the issue, but those talks were called off. Arthur was due to visit Trinidad on February 20, but that trip was cancelled. No new date has been set for the resumption of talks.
Newspaper editorials in the Daily Express and the Guardian have pointed out that hostilities between the two countries are not the answer, especially in light of efforts within Caricom to form a single market and economy in the Caribbean.
In the meantime, the fishing row has had a spin-off effect on entertainers from Trinidad and Barbados. Barbadian soca star Timmy was jeered when he performed at "Friends to the Max" all-inclusive Carnival fete at the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC), Federation Park on February 15. During the performance of his song, "Bumper Ketch a Fire," Timmy got a cold reception by some patrons. Some shouted, "Go fry some flying fish." Trinidad's Machel Montano also got a similar reception when he performed at a Digicel-promoted concert in Barbados.