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Bahamas-Dominican Republic Bilateral Talks
May 16, 2013 - 2:18:28 PM

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Bahamian Officials and Dominican Deputy Minister - Pictured from left: Ambassador-designate Godfrey Rolle, Acting Permanent Secretary Philip Miller, Official in the Office of the Dominican General Deputy Minister Mr. Pla Gomez, Honorary Consul of The Bahamas to the Dominican Republic Mr. Hernando Montas)

Bahamas-Dominican Republic Bilateral Talks
Nassau, Bahamas

May 1st, 2013,

Statement – Ag. Permanent Secretary Philip Miller

The Bahamian Delegation, led by our Foreign Ministry, wishes, at the outset, to thank the Foreign Ministry of the Dominican Republic, and its relevant authorities for its hospitality and engagement during the several months of long discussion and negotiation on areas of technical cooperation for mutual benefit, primarily with regards to limiting illegal fishing in the region.

As you would be aware, the genesis of recommendations for Bilateral Talks with the Dominican Republic arose in the Bahamian Foreign Ministry as a response to increasing awareness of the problem of illegal fishing in Bahamian territorial waters and the resultant increasing economic, environmental, security and resource costs incurred by The Bahamas and her citizens. A conversation in the margins of last year’s Inauguration of President Danillo Medina, between our Foreign Ministers, in addition to further discussions held in the margins of the UN General Assembly, solidified the political will to engage bilaterally on this issue. The first visit by a Bahamian delegation of Senior Cabinet Ministers in October 2012, reflected the level of priority that has been afforded to establishing a more in-depth cooperation with the Dominican Republic on matters of mutual interest.

Ambassador Presentation at Dominican Foreign Ministry - Ambassador-designate Godfrey Rolle, left, and Deputy Minister Jose Manuel Trullols)

While in large part predicated on the issue of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, these negotiations represent something much grander in scope and opportunity, such as Trade and National Security. As a result, we are also negotiating trade cooperation and Navy-to-Navy agreements with the relevant agencies of your Government. As we are geographical neighbours with a history of friendly relations, it is only fitting that we seek to work together to solve the issues that we both face and that we continue to work to deepen our relationship on as many fronts as possible. These negotiations also represent an ideal process through which both countries can address future challenges and concerns.

While we seek consensus on this Technical Cooperation Agreement, we do so with the confidence that it will not merely become window dressing or a document to be filed away, but that the text of this agreement will be animated through joint cooperation programmes in the areas of industry, commerce, fisheries and academia, and through sustained and diligent commitment to maximise the competitive advantages of both countries.

Going forward, the Agreement provides for the establishment of a Bahamas – Dominican Republic Joint Commission which, inter alia will monitor progress and formulate an Annual Programme of Work. Please be advised that The Bahamas will ensure that relevant civil society and non governmental agencies will be integrated into this mechanism.

The Agreement also provides for both Parties to embark on Public Education programmes, and will undertake the necessary actions to enhance legislative and convention adherence.

It is our fervent intent that the Agreement, once implemented, will translate into tangible and meaningful results and in particular, will provide the appropriate responses to our domestic fishing industry. It cannot be underscored that our collective citizenry deserve our greatest efforts and assurances that their interests and their futures will be duly protected.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration of The Commonwealth wishes again, on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas, to thank you for your engagement and hospitality and is hopeful that these Talks will be a springboard for a lasting deepening of relations between our two countries.

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