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Bahamas and Cuba sign Maritime Delimitation Agreement
By Lindsay Thompson, BIS
Oct 5, 2011 - 5:17:56 PM

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The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the Republic of Cuba signed a Maritime Delimitation Agreement on October 3, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in the Goodman’s Bay Corporate Centre. Pictured seventh left is the Hon. Brent Symonette, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs; José Luis Ponce Caraballo, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to The Bahamas, eighth left; and members of the Technical Team of both governments. (BIS Photo/Kris Ingraham)

NASSAU, The Bahamas –  On Monday, October 3, 2011 the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the Republic of Cuba signed an Agreement delimiting their maritime boundaries, after almost 40 years of negotiations.

The Hon. Brent Symonette, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs signed the agreement on behalf of The Bahamas. His Excellency José Luis Ponce Caraballo, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to The Bahamas, signed on behalf of his country. The ceremony was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in the Goodman’s Bay Corporate Centre.

Mr. Symonette said since the birth of The Bahamas in 1973, a major goal was concluding agreements on the delimitation of the national borders of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas defining its national borders.

“This exercise has always been of great national importance because at the core of this issue rests one critical concept, the very notion of where The Bahamas begins and ends,” he said. “This is Foreign Affairs at its best.”

Mr. Symonette recognised the efforts of the various Bahamian and Cuban personnel who participated in the negotiation process that resulted in the conclusion of the agreement.  In particular, the late George Stewart, former Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whom he described as a dedicated and eminently qualified Bahamian public servant.

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The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the Republic of Cuba signed a Maritime Delimitation Agreement on October 3, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in the Goodman’s Bay Corporate Centre. Pictured from left: The Hon. Brent Symonette, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs; and José Luis Ponce Caraballo, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to The Bahamas. (BIS Photo/Kris Ingraham)

Mr. Stewart represented The Bahamas at the United Conference on the Law of the Sea, advancing the position of The Bahamas on the international stage, and who dedicated himself to ensuring that The Bahamas concluded mutually beneficial maritime delimitation agreements with its neighbours.

Technical talks toward completion of the same resumed in earnest in June 2009, after The Bahamas deposited its official archipelagic baselines with the United Nations in accordance with the provision of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which The Bahamas is party to, in December 2008.

On September 7, 2010, the negotiation process ended when the maritime delimitation boundaries between The Bahamas and Cuba was agreed to at the technical level on both sides.

“Besides defining the territorial framework within which the sovereignty of The Bahamas may be exercised exclusively, the agreement is important to The Bahamas because it has security implications for the country, allowing for more effective border management, it facilitates cooperation between The Bahamas and other countries on maritime issues and bodes well for future relations between The Bahamas and Cuba,” Mr.  Symonette said.

Ambassador Ponce said that signing the agreement was a “great moment” in the bilateral relations between The Bahamas and Cuba. “It also confirms the close bond and mutual respect between The Bahamas and Cuba,” he added.

This was Ambassador’s Ponce last performance in that capacity, after a five-year stint. He officially left the country on Wednesday, October 05, and returned to Cuba. 

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The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the Republic of Cuba signed a Maritime Delimitation Agreement on October 3, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in the Goodman’s Bay Corporate Centre. Pictured from left: The Hon. Brent Symonette, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs; Carlton Wright, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Bathsheba Stewart, wife of the late George Stewart, former Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Joshua Sears, Director General, Ministry o Foreign Affairs; and Dr Patricia Rodgers, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (BIS Photo/Kris Ingraham)


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BIDS FAREWELL -- Joshua Sears, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs bids farewell to Jose' Luis Ponce Caraballo, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba at the Lynden Pindling International Airport, October 5. Pictured from left: Elise D. Delancy, Chief Protocol Officer; Mr. Sears; Ambassador Caraballo, and his wife, Aimee Echevarria. (BIS Photo/Letisha Henderson)


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