National Maritime Policy for St. Kitts Nevis, negotiations with the Netherlands about Statia will take place.

(from the Daily Herald) ST. KITTS–St. Kitts and Nevis has already developed a draft action plan to commence consultation with relevant stake holders, in support of, for the first time establishing a national maritime policy to guide the sustainable development of the marine sector in the twinisland federation.

Director of Maritime Affairs within the Ministry of International Transport McClean Hobson said he was among local technocrats of several local agencies, who joined their counterparts from across the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), in what was considered a very productive two-day workshop on ocean governance. He said the Physical Planning as well as the Environment and Legal Departments of both the Federal Government and the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) attended the workshop at the Garden Bay Hotel in St. Lucia over the period February 8-9. The workshop came on the heels of the 54th meeting of the OECS Authority and was jointly sponsored by the Secretariat of

OECS and the Commonwealth, seeking to follow up on the 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, the Commonwealth and the OECS Secretariat and guided the workshop on issues pertaining to an effective ocean governance framework, economic benefits of the OECS-waters, maritime boundary delimitation, development of hydrograph, sustainable development of the ocean, as well as a maritime policy framework at the national and regional level. “While the ocean is a source of signifi cant benefi ts, my gut feeling tells me we are still taking it for granted. Instead of exploiting the resources 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,” said Hobson. He added 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 the director, who commended the efforts of Prime Minister Denzil Douglas and the rest of his 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.”