Fisheries – understanding the flying fish problem

Walter Blackman

Walter Blackman

If we are going to restructure the Barbadian economy successfully, a radical change in attitudes and government policy in the areas of agriculture and fisheries is required.

The objective of this article is to educate readers to the point where we can agree on the origin and nature of our fisheries problem. The next step will be to focus on a solution.

Since the abolition of slavery, the peoples of Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago (T&T), and Guyana, for the most part descendants of slaves and indentured servants, have enjoyed a close and peaceful relationship. The functional co-operation among these three CARICOM states reached its height in the mid-1970’s under Prime Ministers Errol Barrow, Dr. Eric Williams, and Forbes Burnham.

However, considerations related to fish, oil, and natural gas began to creep into Barbados – T&T economic and political relations, and by 1976, the two countries started to engage each other in a series of meetings to deal with these and other matters.

Around this time, Barbados gained a technological foothold in the area of long-range fishing through the introduction of ice boats which provided Barbadian fishermen with the ability to fish in waters ranging from about 60 to 150 nautical miles off Barbados. Naturally, Barbadian ice boats started to pursue the migratory flying fish to the ‘high seas’, as they were called back then, off Tobago.

In February 1978, the Tom Adams administration passed the Marine Boundaries & Jurisdiction Act. This Act gave Barbados the right, as a coastal state, to an economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) of 200 miles, and an extended continental shelf of up to 350 nautical miles.

On April 30, 1979 the Tom Adams administration signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the government of T&T on matters of co-operation including fish, oil, and natural gas exploration.

In 1982, a constitution for the world’s seas and oceans – the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was adopted into existence. Barbados and T&T became signatories. However, it would not be until 1994 that UNCLOS would become functional.

Based on these chronological developments, the government of T&T recognized that it had some legal and regulatory catching up to do. In 1986, it responded with the Archipelagic Waters & Exclusive Economic Zone Act. As an archipelagic state, T&T had a right to also claim its 12-mile territorial waters, its 200 mile EEZ, and its extended continental shelf of up to 350 nautical miles.

T&T’s response in 1986 to the 1978 maritime legislation of Barbados instantly created a situation where the waters off Tobago could no longer be viewed as the ‘high seas’, since they were now part of the EEZ of T&T. The less than 200 miles of overlapping waters between Barbados and T&T would now have to be divided based on fairness and common sense.

1986 and the years immediately thereafter presented an excellent opportunity for Barbados and T&T, two important players in the Caribbean regional integration movement, and both signatories to UNCLOS, to demonstrate political and economic maturity by agreeing on two basic principles:

  1. The equidistant (median) line between the two countries should act as the limit of their respective EEZ.
  2. Since the migratory stock of flying fish occurs within the EEZ of both countries, both of them should quickly seek to agree upon the measures necessary to ensure the conservation and development of flying fish. In short, they should come up with a mutually beneficial fishing agreement.

Barbados agreed to the median line principle. Tragically, T&T did not. T&T in essence stated that it reserved the right to use special considerations and circumstances to get more marine territory than Barbados if they could find a way to do so.

Typical for small island states, a situation that cried out for functional co-operation soon degenerated into senseless conflict. As quickly as 1988, the T&T coastguard started arresting Barbadian fishermen for illegally fishing in T&T’s EEZ. With the arrests and detention of Barbadian fishermen becoming a domestic political issue, and, with the 1991 General Elections just around the corner, the Sandiford Administration had to find a way to diffuse the tension. It reacted out of narrow political self-interest and negotiated a fishing agreement with the government of T&T on November 23, 1990.

From a Barbadian perspective, the 1990 Fishing agreement with T&T was simply a bad one. Thankfully, since it was merely intended to assist Sandiford in getting past the 1991 General Elections, it was effective for the 1991 calendar year only. Basically, it allowed a maximum of only 40 Barbadian boats at a fee of US$ 800 per boat, to each make a maximum of 5 trips per fishing season. Not surprisingly, the T&T government used the agreement to get the Barbados government to authorize the potential importation of up to 300 metric tonnes of fish from T&T. Like most cases involving trade and business between these two countries, the Trinidadians used the agreement to set up Barbados as an export market for their fish, whilst giving Barbados very little in return.

The economic uselessness of this agreement to Barbadian fishermen was manifested by the fact that, at the end of 1991, only 5 Barbadian boats had taken up the offer. In November 1991, the Sandiford administration approached the T&T government with proposals for a new fishing agreement. Rather than consider any new proposals, the T&T government gleefully informed the Sandiford administration that it was willing to renew the 1990 agreement for another year. This time, PM Sandiford, having been returned to power by Barbadian voters, rejected a renewal of the 1990 agreement out of hand. It had already served its purpose, for him.

In March 2002, after an extended pause in their discussions, fishing negotiations between Barbados and T&T resumed. In 2003, the Owen Arthur administration dismissed the T&T proposals for a new fishing agreement as “simply unacceptable”. Throughout the negotiations, though, Barbados’ attitude and stance had assumed a noticeably strident posture. Thinly veiled threats of retaliatory measures in the area of trade were aimed at T&T to induce them to sign a fishing agreement that was favorable to Barbados. There was a reason for this.

By the end of 2003, PM Arthur, Attorney General Mottley, and the Minister responsible for fisheries, had a sacred responsibility to make Barbadians and Barbadian fisher folk aware of the following facts:

  1. Under UNCLOS, Barbados and T&T had their respective EEZs as defined by the median line. Barbados had agreed to the median line concept.
  2. The T&T government, similarly to the Barbadian government, had the exclusive right to the fish and other resources within its EEZ.
  3. There was no existing fishing agreement between Barbados and T&T. Consequently, it was the responsibility of every Barbadian fishing vessel to refrain from fishing in the EEZ of T&T until an agreement had been signed between the two countries.

Not one of these government officials adopted such a judicious approach to solving the problem. Rather than responsibly advising Barbadian fishermen to respect the exclusive right of T&T over its EEZ, Mia Mottley urged them to break T&T’s laws by continuing to fish where they had fished before.

Behind the scenes, the Arthur administration had already concluded that T&T had compromised and prejudiced the maritime claims and interests of Barbados and Guyana when it signed a delimitation treaty with Venezuela back in 1990. If this accusation could be supported by a tribunal ruling under UNCLOS, then, at T&T’s expense, Barbados could gain ownership rights to some additional maritime sea beds on its continental shelf. Here, there was a high probability of finding oil and natural gas.

From here on, the real strategy behind Barbados’ discussions with T&T would be focused, not on fishing, but on oil and natural gas. As Mia Mottley quipped, the dispute had now gone “farther than where flying fish swim.”

The 1990 delimitation treaty that T&T signed with Venezuela had nothing to do with the overlapping waters between Barbados and T&T where the flying fish roam. Remember, as far as these waters were concerned, Barbados had already accepted T&T’s EEZ based on the median line.

With their gaze now fixed on the possibility of ultimately acquiring oil and natural gas, and unbeknownst to the Barbadian populace, PM Arthur, Attorney General Mottley, and the minister responsible for fisheries, along with others, concocted a scheme which involved the use of Barbadian fishermen as pawns in a political game that had nothing to do with fishing. Our fishermen were now being used as bait in a charade aimed at demonstrating that their ‘traditional’ rights to fish off Tobago were being hampered by repeated arrests at the hands of the T&T coastguard. “Why was this tactic important?” you might ask.

The answer is, that in addition to being blessed with flying fish, the overlapping waters between Barbados and T&T have oil and a proven supply of 73.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Alas, mostly all of whatever is valuable seems to lie within the EEZ of T&T.

With the Barbadian economy sputtering in the background, the Arthur administration decided to manufacture a case for special considerations and rights which they wanted the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal to consider. The case was built upon the following feeble and false claims:

  1. Barbadian fishermen had fished in the waters off Tobago for centuries and this practice had established a traditional right for them to continue to access these waters.
  2. Because of the importance of flying fish to the Barbadian diet, a lack of access to the waters off Tobago would be catastrophic to Barbadians and the Barbadian economy.
  3. To safeguard these traditional rights forever, the median line should be shifted so that the EEZ of Barbados would be extended outwards to the waters just off Tobago.

Despite the talks, negotiations, and threats, the T&T coastguard arrested two Barbadian fishermen on February 6, 2004. T&T had now arrested 18 Barbadian fishermen since UNCLOS became functional in 1994, so, as far as the Owen Arthur administration was concerned, the trap had now been sprung. Ten days later, in a move that shocked the government of T&T, Barbados took the flying fishing issue, along with the delimitation issue related to the 1990 T&T -Venezuela treaty, to an arbitral tribunal under UNCLOS.

On April 11, 2006, the tribunal handed down its decision. With respect to fishing:

The tribunal observed that Barbados could not produce a boat or fisherman that had fished in the waters off Tobago before ice boats came on the scene in the late 1970’s. In dismissing claim #1, the tribunal reminded Barbados that a period of time ranging from the 1970’s to 2004 does not add up to centuries.

In dismissing claim #2, the tribunal noted that Barbadian fishermen had not been legally able to fish in Tobago’s waters since 1991, and neither the Barbadian people nor the economy had experienced a catastrophe.

In dismissing claim #3, the tribunal argued that even if the Barbadian fishermen had a traditional right, such a right would be subordinate to T&T’s exclusive and sovereign right. Thus, there was no need to shift the median line.

Finally, stressing that it had no authority to make an award establishing the right of Barbadian fishermen to access the flying fish in T&T’s EEZ, the tribunal urged the two CARICOM neighbours to use common sense and produce a bi-lateral agreement. Yet, it cautioned T&T that it had an obligation to negotiate a good faith agreement with Barbados so that Barbadian fishermen can access fish within T&T’s EEZ. After 2006, the Owen Arthur administration concentrated its attention on oil and natural gas.

Emerging triumphantly from the 2008 general elections, David Thompson spitefully banished Dennis Kellman from his cabinet. As part of his ‘punishment’, Kellman was ‘burdened’ with the ambassadorial responsibility of negotiating a fishing agreement with the government of T&T, on behalf of Barbados.

In 2009, when asked about what progress he had made, a defiant Kellman told Barbadians that he had no interest whatsoever in producing a fishing agreement. By the time his banishment was lifted and he was invited into the cabinet by PM Stuart, Kellman had kept his promise not to pursue the delivery of a fishing agreement. At the same time, his strategy had played right into the hands of the Trinidadians who were quite contented to let time pass aimlessly by without having to produce an agreement.

In July 2013, when asked about what progress had been made with the T&T fishing agreement, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart betrayed very little emotion and energy on the issue. He simply told Barbadians that the negotiations are still going on.

Although the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal had threatened T&T with possible consequences if a fishing agreement was not concluded expeditiously, today, almost eight years later, no agreement has emerged. Evidently, on both sides, the needs of Barbadian fishermen are not viewed with any sense of empathy, urgency or seriousness. Simply put, our fishermen have been used and discarded, whilst the politicians have opened up a new game of chasing the money related to the oil bidding process.

60 thoughts on “Fisheries – understanding the flying fish problem

  1. Caribbean collaboration is a joke it is not in Trinidad’s interest to allow Bajan fisherman to fish in its waters when they have developed a budding Flying Fish processing industry in Tobago. Trinidad will continue to set up roadblocks when it comes to the issue of permitting fishing boats domiciled in Barbados to cast their nets in its waters, everyman has to “brek for he self”.

    The politicians in Barbados know the above but they are so obtuse that they continue to butt their heads against a wall looking for an elusive ‘”Fishing Agreement” I suppose the reasoning is to appear to do something to placate the voters who earn their livelihood in the Caribbean Sea.

    A small island in the Sea with a vaunted appetite for Education and every year the local papers publish pictures of the beaming faces of those who gain various scholarships and when one reads of their hopes and aspirations none of them selects academic studies which would apply to the waters around them. No one hopes to be an Oceanographer or a Marine Biologist, but Lawyers are aplenty and Gov’t does little to encourage these pursuits. If we don’t know or understand the Ocean at our doorstep how can we manage Fisheries effectively?

  2. Makes one wonder if any of our lawyers are specialists in “Law of the Sea”.
    I was at school with a Grenadian who specialized in this subject and is now doing well in the Caribbean, or so I have heard.

  3. All you have said many Barbadians believe/know already. Walter what are your proposals for the Freundel Stuart administration on the issue?

  4. The only agreements that have satisfied Trinidad are the ones involving the sale of Barbadian assets to Trinidad.

    Maybe Trinidad would permit Bajans to fish off Tobago for a fee of $10million a year.

    It is amazing that despite continuously sell Bajan businesses and increasingly buying Trinidad manufactured products Barbados does not have any leverage to conclude a workable fishing agreement.

  5. How does growth of 4.1% in 2005 followed by 3.6% in 2006 and 4.3% in 2007 equate with “sputtering”? What is the average and modal rate of growth since independence? Just asking.

  6. It’s time Barbadian fisherfolk look East to the Atlantic Ocean for their future in fishery. The technology is around to meet the requirements for such expeditions. Ask the Taiwanese, Koreans, Filipinos, Japanese and especially the Chinese who are quite familiar with long-haul fishery.

  7. Miller, can you name any blackman at anytime in history, who have sailed the Atlantic Ocean in look of fish? You have a good I idea but I question its applicability as it relates to people of colour.

  8. @Mark Fenty,

    Miller has made a valid point.

    Barbados can look to others to help develop a different fishing industry.

    The only problem is that Trinidad will develop a flying fish industry to sell fish to their favourite consumers lovingly referred to by Bushie as brassbowls.

  9. @enuff
    How does growth of 4.1% in 2005 followed by 3.6% in 2006 and 4.3% in 2007 equate with “sputtering”?

    In your first comment on my article, you simply told me that “All you have said many Barbadians believe/know already”.

    Still, I think there are some subtle nuances to the article, so please permit me the opportunity to use one to tackle your question about economic growth.

    For more than 2 years, Barbados used Sir Henry Forde QC, a host of international lawyers, consultants, and government personnel to frame the arguments for 3 feeble claims that were easily dismissed by the tribunal. The claims produced absolutely nothing for Barbados, but they provided an excellent opportunity for the lawyers and consultants to earn millions of dollars in fees. To give you a further insight into the extent to which the lawyers and consultants were researching cases and racking up fees working on Barbados’ behalf, the tribunal noted that cases cited did not support the submissions made.
    Remember this particular exercise did nothing for Barbados, but the millions spent were recorded as part of our GDP. Yes, these millions and the hundreds of millions that are similarly generated in our economy, form part of the basis of our “unsustainable growth” and they are reflected in the 4.1% in 2005, and 3.6% in 2006 as quoted by you above.

  10. People like Walter Blackman wid all this mout, talking and writing a bunch of useless crap should be out there fighting in the political trenches for betterment for Barbados and should be prepared to sacrifice to make Barbados a better place.

    That is why Barbados is in the potter than it is in today because people like Walter Blackman are too proud and foolish and don’t want their clothes soiled with the sweat of hard work fighting for no country .

    Writing pon a blog is simply not enough .

    People like Walter Blackman have failed Barbados big time. And this is the difference between then and now: people with less than Walter Blackman in terms of education and opportunities came to the fore and contributed to Barbados openly by fighting for justice and a just society.

    There are too many Walter Blackmans around the place. Some are political yackees not lackeys -they gone past lackeys , who stifle their conscience and condone a lot of nonsense in this society because they don’t care about justice as long as they are comfortable in their homes and cars. I bet they dont even stop at a bus stop and offer anybody a ride.

    Pompous selfish jackasses who believe that their success should be seen as ” I work hard for what I got and I aint care bout nobody” and go against human nature , hardening their hearts and not helping their brother and sister and by extension the country Barbados.

    The Walter Blackmans of Barbados need to do more for Barbados but you should bot hold your breath because they are a bunch of self centered , selfish , pompous jackasses.
    Walter should now be breathing hard with fire coming through he nose after reading this. Don’t collapse ! (This is trick sentence! Mind how you respond Walter)

  11. @Just Asking
    Walter Blackman wid all this mout, talking and writing a bunch of useless crap
    people like Walter Blackman are too proud and foolish
    People like Walter Blackman have failed Barbados big time.
    There are too many Walter Blackmans around the place. Some are political yackees not lackeys -they gone past lackeys
    The Walter Blackmans of Barbados……. are a bunch of self centered , selfish , pompous jackasses.

    It is evident that you have a monumental level of disdain and contempt for people like Walter Blackman.
    Although, to you, I am a useless jackass, I believe that your intelligence and ‘knightly’ attributes are urging you to go forth and “be out there fighting in the political trenches for betterment for Barbados”. I sense that you are eager and anxious to have your “clothes soiled with the sweat of hard work fighting for …(your) country” and that your integrity and moral uprightness set you apart from those “who stifle their conscience and condone a lot of nonsense in this society”.

    Looking through your eyes, it is people like you, not like Walter Blackman, who Barbados now needs desperately in her darkest hour. I advise you therefore, not to waste precious time denouncing a jackass like me. I am of no help to you.Go ahead and rescue Barbados. Hurry! “Dont even stop at a bus stop and offer anybody a ride”.

  12. I believe I read somewhere Sarge that belief in God is not the problem but the problem lies rather with those assuming the mantle of promoting the belief. Caribbean collaboration is a noble ideal; the jokers are those in charge of bringing the ideal to fruition.

  13. “Remember this particular exercise did nothing for Barbados, but the millions spent were recorded as part of our GDP. Yes, these millions and the hundreds of millions that are similarly generated in our economy, form part of the basis of our “unsustainable growth” and they are reflected in the 4.1% in 2005, and 3.6% in 2006 as quoted by you above.”

    Come on Walter, after such a thought provoking albeit somewhat skewed submission to descend into the abyss of speculation masquerading as fact to defend the indefensible is quite unbecoming. Most if not all and this includes die-hard dems have come to the realisation that the economic woes afflicting Barbadians are simply as a result of the mismanagement of the financial affairs of the country since 2008 and have nothing to do with the recession, prior BLP management errors or the payment of ill-conceived monies to BLP lackeys now thrown into the mix by you as a result of what you purport to be a fishing agreement charade.

  14. DOES FLYING FISH belong to Barbados? Seasons CHANGE, migratory patterns CHANGE BUT because we have the FLYING FISH as one of our NATIONAL symbols we CAN’T CHANGE?

    In pursuit of the FLYING FISH we are so MYOPIC that we have totally forgotten that there are OTHER FISH IN THE SEA. As Miller stated “It’s time Barbadian fisherfolk look East to the Atlantic Ocean for their future in fishery.”

    We keep harping on securing a fishing agreement with Trinidad and Tobago that will NEVER HAPPEN because the FISH that we are claiming as OURS decided to migrate to greener waters. However some of us Bajans feel WE HAVE TO GO GET THEM even if our fishermen are breaking the laws of another country. When are we going to LEARN that if the fish stop coming we will have to look for other FISH TO FRY !

    The same can be said about many of our industries. Will we go to CUBA, ST. LUCIA and force the TOURIST who have stopped coming here to return to Bim? Can we FORCE the EU to continue to buy our sugar when they are producing their own?

    CHANGE is constant and the inability to CHANGE will be the death of us.

    • The Hon Mia A Mottley QC, Deputy
    Prime Minister, Attorney General and
    Minister of Home Affairs, Agent for
    • Mr Robert Volterra, Co-Agent, Counsel
    and Advocate, Latham & Watkins
    • Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht CBE, QC,
    Counsel and Advocate
    • Professor Michael Reisman, Counsel and
    • Mr Jan Paulsson, Counsel and Advocate,
    Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Sir Henry Forde QC, Counsel and
    • Mr Stephen Fietta, Counsel and Advocate,
    Latham & Watkins
    • Mr Adrian Cummins QC, Counsel
    • Dr David Berry, Counsel
    • Ms Megan Addis, Counsel, Latham &
    • Ms Teresa Marshall, Permanent Secretary,
    Foreign Affairs
    • Mr Edwin Pollard, High Commissioner
    for Barbados in London
    • Mr Anthony Wiltshire, Minister/
    Counsellor at the Barbados High
    Commission in London
    • Mr François Jackman, Senior Foreign
    Service Officer
    • Mr Tyronne Brathwaite, Foreign Service
    • Mr Christopher Parker, Fisheries
    Biologist, Fisheries Division
    • Ms Angela Watson, President of Barbados
    Association of Fisherfolk Organisations
    • Mr Anderson Kinch, Fisherman/Boat
    • Mr Oscar Price, Latham & Watkins
    • Ms Phillippa Wilson, Latham & Watkins
    • Mr Dick Gent, UK Hydrographic Office
    • Dr Robin Cleverly, UK Hydrographic
    • Ms Michelle Pratley, Assistant, Latham &
    • Ms Claudina Vranken, Assistant, Latham
    & Watkins
    • The Hon John Jeremie, Attorney General,
    Agent for Trinidad and Tobago
    • Mr John Almeida, Co-Agent, Charles
    • Mr Laurie Watt, Co-Agent, Charles
    • Ms Lynsey Murning, Charles Russell
    • Professor James Crawford SC, Counsel
    • Professor Christopher Greenwood, CMG,
    QC, Counsel
    • Mr Samuel Wordsworth, Counsel
    • H.E. Mr Phillip Sealy, Ambassador to the
    United Nations
    • Mr Gerald Thompson, Director, Legal
    Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    • Mr Eden Charles, Ministry of Foreign
    • Mr Martin Pratt, International Boundaries
    Research Unit
    • Mr Francis Charles, Expert
    • Dr Arthur Potts, Ministry of Fisheries and
    • Mr Charles Sagba, Ministry of Foreign
    , Ministry of Foreign
    • Ms Glenda Morean, High Commissioner
    for Trinidad and Tobago in London

    Unlike Enuff I do not know and I am thankful for Walter’s submission but the above is the list of persons who represented Barbados and Trinidad before the tribunal

    384. For the reasons stated in paragraphs 188-218 of this Award, the Tribunal holds that it
    has jurisdiction in these terms:
    (i) it has jurisdiction to delimit, by the drawing of a single maritime boundary, the
    continental shelf and EEZ appertaining to each of the Parties in the waters where
    their claims to these maritime zones overlap;
    (ii) its jurisdiction in that respect includes the delimitation of the maritime boundary
    in relation to that part of the continental shelf extending beyond 200 nm; and
    (iii) while it has jurisdiction to consider the possible impact upon a prospective
    delimitation line of Barbadian fishing activity in waters affected by the
    delimitation, it has no jurisdiction to render a substantive decision as to an
    appropriate fisheries regime to apply in waters which may be determined to form
    part of Trinidad and Tobago’s EEZ.
    385. Accordingly, taking into account the foregoing considerations and reasons,
    1. The International Maritime Boundary between Barbados and the Republic of
    Trinidad and Tobago is a series of geodetic lines joining the points in the order
    listed as set forth in paragraph 382 of this Award;
    2. Claims of the Parties inconsistent with this Boundary are not accepted; and
    3. Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados are under a duty to agree upon the measures
    necessary to co-ordinate and ensure the conservation and development of
    flyingfish stocks, and to negotiate in good faith and conclude an agreement that
    will accord fisherfolk of Barbados access to fisheries within the Exclusive
    Economic Zone of Trinidad and Tobago, subject to the limitations and conditions
    of that agreement and to the right and duty of Trinidad and Tobago to conserve
    and manage the living resources of waters within its jurisdiction.

    Having read the case before the tribunal I still am not clear Walter not versed in maritime boundary jargon about the tribunal’s decision. However, would you fault the government of the day for seeking international resolution to a dispute given the pressure political and otherwise they were under at the time to resolve.

    • We continue to do a good job attacking the messenger instead of addressing the core matters. The long running disrupt with T&T shows that the expectation by the framers of the Revised Treaty of Chagaramus (RTOC) has failed. In the RTOC it addresses the expectation that marine (fisheries) resources should be shared among Caricom states. The other fa;lure is that it shows the impotence and chicanery of our politicians who have used this issue as a wedge between the people of the countries. Walter is bang on for highlighting this matter. And of course it spans both political parties.

  17. ever thought of overpopulation playing a role in this nonsense????????
    bad infrastructure and leadership make for hungry mouth’s.
    they say there will be no more fish any way by 2050 if you continue as u are doing.bajan politicians and visionaries are non existent just a bunch of idiots doing bear shit.useless idiots.check it
    understanding how foolish the human is .disguising ,murdering,thieves,

  18. TnT keep telling wee
    To keep outta dem territory,
    I doan care what dey say
    I goin tah fish anyway

    Dem flying fish is mine
    I can come back anytime,
    I doan care what dey say,
    I fishing in Tobago anyway

    When dem coast guard lock wee up
    Wee just gine pay dem fine
    Wee gine fly back hey
    We gine be welcome anyway

    Dem fish is mine,
    I can come back anytime
    No matter what TnT say
    I goin tah fish anyway!

  19. let us go to war and take trinidad and tobago. it will give all you bad negroes something to do and we will see how bad wunna really is. when ya run fuh ya skin.hahahahahhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  20. Birds fly,Fish swim – I read of a Snowy Owl that was spotted in Bimshire (must be after the lemmings on BU) but I don’t think that we understand the migratory patterns of Flying Fish. They are known in other Caribbean Islands (like our “Sea Egg”) but we have adopted the Flying Fish as one of our national symbols where we think we own rather than borrow them The “Sea Egg” is considered a delicacy in Bim (and Japan) but treated as little more than garbage in other Islands.

    There have always been seasons when Flying Fish was in short supply and we survived but now the modern Fishing boats are equipped with the technology to travel, fish and store their catch from greater ranges and the fishermen follow the Flying Fish to other waters. When flying Fish migrate elsewhere other fish will migrate to our shores but we can’t seem to see the Forest for the Trees and ignore these Fish which may be just as nutritious and tasty as Flying Fish but we are so fixated on Flying Fish that these fish don’t end up on our Dinner Plates.

    We shouldn’t look to wholesale solutions from other countries as some of their methods e.g. driftnet fishing is harmful to the ultimate resources of the Sea and we may end up “overfishing” and kill the goose laying the golden egg e.g. collapse of Cod Fishery in the Newfoundland. We should focus on efforts that befits a small island nation and incorporate other fish in our diets.

    Lastly since we are so focused on tourism why not promote Sport Fishing as suggested in other threads, some of our Fishermen can be trained as guides who can hire their boats for those in search of landing a big catch Tuna,Marlin etc. Why should jurisdictions e.g. Bahamas corner this market?

  21. YOU Walter Blackman NEED to get out in the Trenches and fight.
    TO whom much is given; Much is expected
    Stop hiding your talent under a Bushel of Fear; Comfort -Zone-ism and political partisanship.

  22. While we will not make a song and dance on here about it, Mr. Walter Blackman there are some people – mainly people older than you are – who come on here and who begrudge the very valuable contributions you continue to make to this BU network.

    These very unfortunate hapless nameless individuals, it is clear wish they had the very often demonstrated brilliant writing, argumentative, and research skills you have.

    You join a list of very intelligent knowledgeable successful Barbadians who are envied for their making great and demonstrated use of their God given talents and aptitudes by lots of the same Barbadians who do not have the same abilities and competencies, but who have not been seemingly making the most of their own God-given talents and abilities, to build great reputations and records of their own in what ever possible arenas, but who would prefer therefore to continue taking up the very wicked posture of attempting to tear down these same people.

    There are three persons, out of some others, on this notional list, that we will make mention of in this kind of analysis, and they are Mr David Comissiong, Professor Hilary Beckles, and Rihannna.

    Furthermore, in your case now, these jokers are extremely dumb to be snidely implicitly attempting to attack these same abilities and competencies of yours, especially in a context where you have decided to use YOUR OWN NAME, IDENTITY and REPUTATION to good and sincere effect including to that effect of your having the ability to promote and defend what are clearly your own arguments.

    They do not even have the courage or sincerity to call themselves who many of their families and friends have over time been formally calling them.

    So far, none of them on here have sought to show that they themselves can add to what you have put forward in your submission; and to very serious intellectuals on here they will clearly fail in their attacks.

    Anyhow, Mr Blackman keep up with your very worthy and weighty intellectual contributions to this blog, and do not be side tracked by their abject foolishness.


  23. Actually, i heard a Trini economist, I believe his name is Terrance Farrell suggest that the Barbados government needs to allow Bajans as well as other Caricom citizens to hold their savings in US currency in Barbados’ banks, thereby easing the existing pressure on the Central Bank, in my experience this is worth looking into, unless the government does not mind the central bank of Barbados being pressured out of existence, and……… come none of the Bajan ministers who claim to be the most educated in the Caribbean could not even come up with half ass of an idea in that area…………the usual idiots are impotent, maybe they should listen to the younger folk in Barbados who are not involved in politics, with politicians or even more destructive, political yardfowls..



    DAVID ELLIS FORCED WORDS IN THE MAN’S MOUTH TO SAY THAT THE OTHER SIDE (implicitly the BLP) also offered but the DLP came first.–Taht part was not convincing)




  25. PDC

    YOU HAVE MISSED THE MARK- (no pun intended; or rather to think about it–pun definitely intended)


  26. Just Asking shut up for a day or two nuh. Go and relax your old miserable self. You want the government to fail well its not going to happen.

    Sinckler with his warts did a commendable job on the live press conference. Like Vaswani said he the PM and the Cabinet shoud do more conferences. There is nothing to hide. Sinclker’s explanation to me as one the threatened 3000 was reassuring. A telling point he made was despite the foolishness and Armageddon bullshite you and BLP yard fowls spew the economy did not really decline after that 4% drop a few years ago. In fact we grew or was flat in recent years. With the right sizing of the public service growth is a reasonable expectation.

    Its heartening to see the normally bombastic Trotman and Dennis Clarke saying the talks with Sinckler were warm and fruitful. So now we have the unions, GOB, Vaswani on the same page working together for the same objective. We know you hate that but we love it because its a comforting and inspiring development for Barbados our beloved country.

  27. Excellent post Sargeant | 09/01/2014 at 9:44 am |

    Sarge it seems that Miller you and I are the only ones attempting to make sense here. The Bajan fisher folk are prepared to risk his life for just a few flying fish? This is the same mindset all around. Instead in learning and investing in the tools that will help them further their knowledge and skills some are prepared to LIE and STEAL. Something is terribly wrong with this mindset.

    • We make a song and dance about allowing Caricom nationals into the country yet the RTOC addresses the expectation that marine resources should be shared and we gloss over it. We have to be consistent in the arguments.

  28. @Walter,
    thanks for highlighting this important issue. I speak as one having authority becuse I am involved in the Fisherfolk organization, among other things.I have thoroughly read the report on the discussions held at the Hague and Walter is absolutely on point. The Barbados Labour Party were able to completely fool the public first of all in 1. Getting people to believe that the reasons for bringing the caase to the Hague was to negotiate a fishing Because of the tensions created in agreement, 2. Claiming victory in the negoatiations 3Maintaining the fiction that a fishing agreement was in the works. 4. convincing people that the failure to conclude a fishing agreement was because of the incompetence of the DLP.
    the increase in tensions created a couple of years ago with the arrest (again) of Bajan fishermen for fishing in T&T waters prompted the Board of BARNUFO (Barbados National Union of Fisherfolk Organizations) to undertake a fact finding mission to tobago. Barnufo wrote a report on the visit and its findings which it sent to the Minister responsible for fisheries. Coming out of that and meetings between Prime Minister Stuart and The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, and further meetings, Mr. Bobby Morris was
    named Caricom Ambassador and was given responsibility to negotiate an applicable protocol for the administration of fishing within the parameters of the designated economic zones. This protocol has not been completed. The BLP should have been honest with the public and let the people know that they type of fishing agrement envisioned by Barbadian fisherment is not possible, because the Trinidadians will never allow infringement of their sovereignty, which is what will take place if the Barbadian fishermen are givven free access to these zones, whether the fish are there or not.
    I will write further on this matter, because I have first hand knowledge of this situation.
    Walter is perfectly right; the barbadian fishermen were used and mislead. The entire charade was to determine the mineral rights under the sea and their location rather than the fishing agreement.

  29. Walter
    Many bajans believe that our NIS is in deep trouble at the hands of your party of choice.
    Given your expertise,would you offer to return to Barbados and offer your expertise in the national interest,to ensure that the NIS don’t collapse.
    Your style of writing with its descriptive barbs you tend to overemploy will always attract partisan potshots given your perceived political leaning,so I want to congratulate you on a reasoned article and a sane response to some of those who disagree with you.
    The PDC is looking for members and will no doubt be in touch with you to offer you a Ministry,maybe Finance.Commissiong will be offered AG,Rihanna Arts and Culture and Hilary Education.

  30. I am reminded of something I read in the book Big Blue,written by I believe the son of the founder of IBM.


    There are some problems to fix. Lets hope those in charge get proactive in fixing things.

  31. @David
    I don’t attack the messenger, I deal with the message and any messenger that refers to a Barbadian economy as sputtering with 3.5 – 4% growth has an agenda.

    Re fishing stock and CSME I agree with you, but you can’t oppose free movement of labour yet support free movement of fishermen. Yes there is a need for Maritime Spatial Planning.

    • @enuff

      Who opposes free movement of labour? It simply cannot be unfettered movement and it must be done as part of a global strategy to harmonize the financial and settlement market to ensure capital movement in synced with labour mobility and trade.

  32. @Hants.
    It is amazing that despite continuously sell Bajan businesses and increasingly buying Trinidad manufactured products Barbados does not have any leverage to conclude a workable fishing agreement.
    Its more a lack of balls, rather than leverage.

  33. @Enuff, Gabriel,Colonel Buggy, sargeant, Island Gal et. al.
    “There are none so blind as those who would not see.” Walter’s article is Factual. What is it about what he said that you do not understand or believef? Don’t you understand the conclusions of the Arbitrators in the case? What he says is What Happened. The conclusions of the Tribunal are as he stated.
    I distinctly remember Mia Mottley coming back and claiming victory in the negotiations. Of course everybody thought she was talking about the fishing agreement. At that time she did not explain the substance of the discussions, not did she explain the conclusions of the tribunal. The government did not tell the fishermen not to infringe on Trinidad Sovereignty by going beyond the boundary lines. Instead the BLP gave the impression that it was not a sovereignty issue; a most serious problem, but rather she gave the impression that it was a reluctance on the part of T&T to fulfil a CAricom ageement..
    The case really concerned access to underwater mineral resources. In actuality the case presented by the emminent Barbadian lawyers were poorly put and were based on shaky precedents. The tribunal rightly dismissed those arguments.The tribunal gave its decision and the parties agreed to implement these decisions. The BLP still has not disclosed to the people the justification for the DECEPTION, nor did they implement the directives of the Tribunal..
    As usual the BLP supporters are looking through the wrong end of the telescope.
    The situation is now under control. A new ambassador has been appointed who is working with the Trinidad Government to finalise a protocol, the Barbados National Union of Fisherfolk Organizations (BARNUFO) is working assiduously with the government and the fisherfolk associations in tobago to rationalize the situation, and although Trinidad and Tobago may not agree to infringement on their sovereignty, the establishment of a protocol will avoid the difficulties of the past.
    All the yelling by BLP supporters cannot change the facts of the situation. Blame has to be placed where it belongs. The Barbados Labour Party wasted million on a case that was not necessary, they were less than truthfull with the people of Barbados, they completely fooled and misled the fishermen of the island who deserve more respect than they are given, and they still refuse to tell their supporters the truth.
    The decisions of the Tribunal; actually the entire case is easily accessable through Google..
    Walter is right.

  34. Let me make a small but meaningful suggestions, why not ask the UWI to do an in-depth study on the flying fish and develop sponging nurses here in BARBADOS and look at producing a better breed of flying fish in our waters, much like the CANE,lets cultivate our OWN FLYING FISH AND EXPORT THEM WITH BARBADOS LABEL ON THEM, CAN THIS NOT BE DONE.

  35. @Alvin C
    Where have I disagreed with Walter? Did the Polar vortex freeze your synapses? What has changed for the Fisherfolk since the Tribunal handed down its decision? You are the archetypical Bajan politician – talk up and down about subjects without reaching any logical conclusions and Lord knows there has been a great deal of hot air about this topic.
    Looking at T&T’s history of cooperation vis-à-vis the rest of the Caribbean these incidents/statements come readily to mind.
    1) 1 from ten leaves nought
    2) Its Gov’t agreed to be part of the CCJ and the new PM decided to withdraw his support
    3) BWIA (Caribbean Airlines) after the B’dos Gov’t (under EWB)provided much support in its early days by canvassing for some lucrative and important routes they turn around and shafted B’dos
    4) Establish tariff and other barriers to keep Bajan products out of T&T
    5) We are not the ATM of the Caribbean

    They have even mused about having their own Test Team, there are many more but you can ask the historian who is working on the new Agreement. Previously I wrote that Tobago has a burgeoning Flying Fish processing Industry and T & T will not assist Barbados in this regard. My advice to voters is not to believe any word out of the mouth of politicians who say they can solve this impasse. After all we have seen T & T actions over the years and “they are who we thought they were”

  36. @Enuff
    I don’t attack the messenger, I deal with the message and any messenger that refers to a Barbadian economy as sputtering with 3.5 – 4% growth has an agenda.

    I respect Owen Arthur’s training as an economist and his experience as a Prime Minister enough to pay close attention whenever he speaks on matters related to the Barbadian economy. I suggest you do the same.
    Mr. Arthur has continuously stressed that his primary objective, as a Minister of Finance, is to get the Barbadian economy “firing on all cylinders”. My article tried to make the point that whilst the Arthur administration was deciding how to use Barbadian fishermen by manufacturing a case for the UNCLOS tribunal, the economy was sputtering in the background.
    Remember they actually submitted the case in February 2004.
    The real GDP growth rates for the Barbadian economy for the 3 years leading up to that point look something like this:
    2001 -2%
    2002 -1%
    2003 2.2%
    I am sure that Mr. Arthur would be the first to concede that the Barbadian economy was not firing on all cylinders in the years above. Frankly, if I were to tell him to his face that the economy was sputtering, I believe he would accept that as a fair comment, rather than accuse me of having an agenda. If he could do that, why can’t you?

  37. pinkrose | 09/01/2014 at 8:53 pm |
    Let me make a small but meaningful suggestions, why not ask the UWI to do an in-depth study on the flying fish and develop sponging nurses here in BARBADOS and look at producing a better breed of flying fish in our waters, much like the CANE,lets cultivate our OWN FLYING FISH AND EXPORT THEM WITH BARBADOS LABEL ON THEM, CAN THIS NOT BE DONE.

    A post that makes real sense a pragmatic recommendation others have advocated. Beckles and the loquacious UWee crowd should link with McGill or other world fisheries institution or institutions and research spawning and retaining flying fish in Barbados’ waters. Bobby Morris like Kellman is a waste of time and scare money negotiating with Trinidad. What do we have to bargain with? Nothing absolutely nothing besides hot air. Predictably the Trinidadians are not and will never budge. Its their territorial waters, why should they?



  39. I know its a waste of time but I pity that dithering old duffer named Alvin of the Chipmunks.Like some others on this site,it’s useless addressing him and his views.Blind as a bat,that fellow

  40. @ Walter
    Remember they actually submitted the case in February 2004.
    The real GDP growth rates for the Barbadian economy for the 3 years leading up to that point look something like this:
    2001 -2%
    2002 -1%
    2003 2.2%

    Those numbers don’t point to a sputtering economy but one GROWING after the deleterious effects of the 9/11 bombings, and the growth recorded in 2005 (4.1%), 2006 (3.6%) and 2007 (4.3%) in 2007 gives credence to my argument.

    I also noticed that both you and Alvin Cummins conveniently left Trinidad’s claims and the Court’s decision out of your submissions.

  41. Dear WALLY, you are a BOSS, don’t care what people have to say cant stop you, knowledge is power. We can’t be in a ideological battle to redeem the soul of the Island if we don’t have facts.. keep posting we’ll be reading, out of here DUNCAN B…

  42. Englishman, who told you that knowledge is power? I’ve heard that the applicability of knowledge is power. You have to “apply” it for it to have any kind of an effect Englishman.

  43. And today we were given the news that the Trinidad owned , Ansa McCal ,Super Centre supermarket , masquerading as TriMart Haggatt Hall is to be closed.
    T&T’s Ansa Mc Cal /Super Centre is planning on building a mega supermarket in the Christ Church Area that will see the closure of the neighbouring Super Centres, except BigB of course, and the two Trimarts operating at Worthing and St Martins in St Philip.
    I do hope that all right thinking Bajans will consider bycotting Super Centres. I am referring to the ordinary Bajans, as we cannot count on the Middle Class of Barbados to desert BigB and the likes.

  44. @Enuff, and Gabiel
    Whatever you do or say, or however much you try to avoid it, the truth will come out. You can never avoid the results of the arbitration hearing, and the report that exposed the entire ch.arade. Even though Miller tries to dodge the evidence, by trying to sidetrack the issue of the fishing; by suggesting that fishermen “llo to the east”, the facts are that the BLP engineered the charade and callously used the fishemen for their political purposes. Any man woman or child can go to google and read the full report and the responsibilities of each political party. The Barbados Labour Party government were instructed by the tribunal to expediciously reach a settlement/ accomodation with the trinidad government. This was in 2006. Up to the time of the elections in 2008 they had not done the things they were supposed to have done, and the mess; like so many others was left for the DLP to clean up.
    The facts speak for themselves.

  45. @enuff
    2001 -2%
    2002 -1%
    2003 2.2%

    Those numbers don’t point to a sputtering economy but one GROWING after the deleterious effects of the 9/11 bombings, and the growth recorded in 2005 (4.1%), 2006 (3.6%) and 2007 (4.3%) in 2007 gives credence to my argument.

    I commend you for your tenacity.

    Occasionally, as a boy growing up in Barbados, I would hear popping, explosive sounds coming from the muffler of a car. Mind you the car was moving, its rate of speed was increasing, but everything just didn’t seem well-coordinated and synchronized. To my boyish mind back then, the car was sputtering. Others referred to it as backfiring. That recollection rudely forced its way into my thought process as I was writing the article, so I decided to use it.
    On one hand, you seem to be thinking that the word sputtering implies that there is no growth, and on the other, a small voice deep within the reasoning part of your brain seems to be telling you that the sputtering of the growing economy was caused by “the deleterious effects of the 9/11 bombings”.

    I must remind you that your argument has always been, and still is, that since I used the word sputtering, I have an agenda.
    Nothing you have written so far, “gives credence to (your) argument”.

    If I had an agenda,
    I would have stressed that PM Sandiford did not sign a good fishing agreement for our fishermen, but we must give him credit for approaching the problem in the correct manner. He was no lawyer. Yet he knew that he should not encourage Barbadian fishermen to fish illegally in T&T waters. He decided to operate within the law and created a situation in which all of our fishermen knew that if you wanted to fish in T&T waters, you had to buy a license.
    PM Sandiford was so focused on staying with the law, that as soon as the 1-year fishing agreement had expired, he approached the T&T government to have a new agreement in place.
    Contrast that approach with an attitude which has no respect for the law, and a situation in which the livelihood and well-being of our fishermen and their families were put at risk. In short, a situation in which a segment of our population, made up of flesh and blood like everyone else, was perceived and treated as collateral damage in the pursuit of narrow political objectives.

    As I said, if I had an agenda, I would have written these things. But I don’t.




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