we can do about oil
and natural gas. Does St. Lucia have reserves that no one
is exploring? Before writing off this question as a non starter,
give me an ear.
Off the north coast of Trinidad there is at least one oil
rig that has been pumping oil and or gas for several years.
The distance from Grenada to Trinidad, shore to shore, is
about 96 miles. The half way mark is therefore 48 miles. The
oil rig mentioned above is about 30 miles north of Trinidad
and therefore 18 miles from being inside the territorial waters
of Grenada. If oil is discovered in the territorial waters
of Grenada, then surely it belongs to Grenada and, by extension,
would it not also belong to the OECS? If it belongs to the
OECS then St. Lucia can claim a share of these reserves. Even
in a worst case scenario, where St. Lucia could not claim
a share, then surely a Grenada that was better off because
of its oil related wealth, would mean positive spin offs for
Coming back to the location of the oil rig close to Grenadian
waters. Trini oil engineers are well known in the oil industry
for their expertise in directional drilling. Information available
suggests that a rig located in one position can drill and
place pipes about six (6) miles from its location in a horizontal
position. This means that the rig in question could have the
mouth of a suction pipe located twelve miles from Grenada/
OECS waters. Because oil and gas are fluids, who know if some
of these reserves are not already coming from Grenada/OECS
reserves. No doubt the oil scientists have all the facts to
suggest that this is an insane comment. It may be. However,
they cannot deny that other reserves may exist just 20 miles
away from the rig in question. After all Barbados has been
successfully drilling for oil and gas for years. Their out-put
has not made them self sufficient but has supplied some 30
% of their demands. Barbados is further away from Grenada
than Trinidad is. It is common knowledge that the whole squabble
over flying fish a few years ago had little to do about fish
and more to do about potential oil reserves under the sea.
The question arises; Is this the domain of the Public or Private
sector? Strictly speaking it is the domain of the Private
sector but in this situation, where territorial boundaries
may be in dispute, then Governments, prodded by the private
sector, are clearly responsible for determining boundary lines.
An investment of this size may be beyond the ability of our
local individual private sector members. However, is this
not an opportunity for our OECS governments to come together
and begin studies that would produce facts regarding the feasibility
of drilling for oil on a profitable basis? Perhaps Mr. Stanford
of Caribbean Star fame could become involved in this venture.
Venezuela and Mr. Chavez, the great philanthropist of our
region or is it Trojan horse, one that is well “oiled”
Before our Governments signed agreements with Venezuela (interesting
that neither Barbados nor Trinidad signed) surely the following
issues should have been settled.
#1 Venezuela has for some time made a dubious claim to a rocky
knoll about 60 miles off the west coast of Dominica. Venezuela
claims that this is their territory and by extension, I presume,
all the sea area between that rocky knoll and the mainland
of Venezuela. This could mean that waters off the west coasts
of Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenada
are now Venezuelan waters and not part of the Caribbean Sea
as we have always believed.
#2 The eastern boundary of Venezuela and the western boundary
of Guyana have never been mutually agreed upon. In a nut shell
Venezuela is claiming a significant portion (Perhaps more
than half) of what Guyana claims is Guyana.
The main reason for these unsettled boundary issues, Dominica
to the north and Guyana to the east of Venezuela, are natural
resources, oil being a significant player. Is it not amazing
that Guyana sits in the middle of two countries with no oil
or gas industries? Yet Venezuela to its west and Surinam to
its east both have oil and gas industries. Is it true that
one of the reasons that oil companies are reluctant to explore
for oil in Guyana is because of uncertain borders between
Guyana and Venezuela?
So our political leaders continue to do an egg-shell dance
around Mr.Chavez, mortgaging our future into heavy fuel debt,
which, no doubt, Mr. Chavez will use to pursue his expansionist
policies and secure these territories for his advantage.
Wake up OECS and Caricom leaders both Government and Private
sector! Surely we can do better. Our future depends on it.
Is this not a major topic for Caricom heads to address? Since
they appear incapable of taking on these projects, either
thorough lack of vision or commitment, then is it not time
for the so called big fish in the private sector pond to come
together and explore these possibilities with a view to making
the oil industry a reality in the OECS and in Guyana?
In the mean-time we sit around wringing our hands and saying
there is nothing we can do. I disagree strongly. (For one,
we might consider making Spanish a compulsory subject in our
It is true that the Lord said that the last shall be first,
but scripture also says if you don’t work, you don’t
eat. Captains the ships are sinking, captains the seas are
rough, but with God’s guidance, wisdom and perseverance,
there are several ports waiting to give safe anchorage. Let’s