St. Kitts and Nevis ahead of other OECS countries on national maritime policy
|McClean Hobson – Department of Maritime Affairs, Federal Government; Agatha James-Andries – Legal Dept, Federal Government; Marc Williams – Marine Resources, Federal Government; Angela Walters-Delpeche, Physical Planning and the Environment (NIA); Kimberly Hanley – Legal Department (NIA). Sylvester Belle – Physical Planning and the Environment, Federal Government not in photo.|
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY12TH 2012 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis has already developed a draft action plan to commence consultation with relevant stake holders in support of establishing for the first time, a national maritime policy to guide the sustainable development of the maritime sector in the twin-island federation.
Mr. McClean Hobson, the Director of Maritime Affairs in the Department of Maritime Affairs within the Ministry of International Transport said he was among local technocrats from several agencies in St. Kitts and Nevis, who joined their counterparts from across the OECS in what was considered a very productive two-day workshop on Ocean governance.
He said the Physical Planning and the Environment and Legal Departments of both the Federal Government and the Nevis Island Administration attended the workshop at the Garden Bay Hotel in St. Lucia over the period February 8 – 9, 2012.
The is workshop which came on the heels of the 54thmeeting of the OECS Authority, was jointly sponsored by OECS Secretariat and The Commonwealth and seek to follow up on the Heads decision for an OECS-wide approach to the development of a regional integrated ocean governance framework.
The facilitators for the workshop were drawn from Florida State University, and the Commonwealth and the OECS Secretariat and guided the workshop on issues pertaining to effective ocean governance frame work, economic benefits of the OECS waters, maritime boundary delimitation, development of hydrography, sustainable development of the ocean, maritime policy frame work at the national and regional level.
“While the ocean is a source of significant benefits, my gut feeling tells me we are still taking it for granted. Instead of exploiting the resources it is being left for all to do what they want. It is about time the whole issue of ocean governance be sorted, hence, I am pleased with the decisions on this matter coming out of the 54th Meeting of the Authority,” opined Mr. Hobson.
He stated that St. Kitts and Nevis is wasting no time on this matter.
“In fact, I will venture to say that we are ahead of the rest of the OECS where this is concerned. We have a very vibrant Maritime Boundary Delimitation Negotiating Team in place, fully trained and making preparation to enter the first round of negotiations with the Netherlands in the case of St. Eustatius sometime soon,” said Mr. Hobson, who commended the efforts of the Right Honorable Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and the rest of the St. Kitts and Nevis Cabinet “for their foresight on ocean governance and for creating the environment for the local technocrats to proceed with the work in this area, even without the efforts of the OECS Secretariat.”