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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (sixth from left, back row) poses with other regional Leaders?? for the official photo at the??33rd Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) which is being held at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa and Beach Resort in Castries. (A. Gaskin/BGIS)

The relationship between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago is harmonious and will continue on that path.

This assurance was given by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as he spoke with members of the media yesterday, following the opening ceremony of the 33rd Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in St. Lucia.

A mere hours after calling for a more balanced trading arrangement between the two nations, Mr. Stuart described relations between the twin-island republic and Barbados as "sound", noting that "the weather is fine- [with] just a few scattered showers".

He promised that today, while in caucus, he would speak with his Trinidad counterpart, Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, and address any pressing matters between the two CARICOM Member States, with a view to finding workable solutions.

To this end, he said: "The gas pipeline issue is very much in progress and we have agreed on a 20-year lease with Trinidad and Tobago and [those] negotiations are running smoothly… Minister [of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Dr. David] Estwick, who is responsible for leading the negotiations, left Barbados [on Tuesday] to go to Trinidad and Tobago to accelerate discussions on that issue. So, commendable progress is being made in that regard."

Turning his attention to resolving the much anticipated fishing agreement between the two countries, he reiterated that a draft protocol was in existence and was currently being evaluated by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. "We, therefore, hope that in the very near future we can have some resolution of that issue. Something in writing that will help us to steer clear of the kind of trauma [and] the kind of dislocation that can take place when Barbadian boats wander into Trinidad and Tobago waters," he stressed.

CARICOM leaders are now into day two of discussions on issues of importance to the region’s development and will meet in caucus today. The summit will conclude on Friday.

cathy.lashley@barbados.gov.bb

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