“ 'Caribbean a special area' ”

Minister of Agriculture Senator Haynesley Benn, wants the General Assembly of the United Nations to designate the Caribbean Sea as a special area within the context of sustainable development.Benn, speaking at the opening of the International Ocean Institute’s Training Module: Law of the Sea and Principled Ocean Governance at the UWI Shell Suite, said such designation recognised that the Caribbean Sea was difficult to manage  as a single large marine ecosystem, mainly because it was impacted by many diverse stakeholders  from within and outside the region.“It is my fervent hope that the UN will take swift and decisive action on this matter. The Caribbean needs and deserves this recognition,” he told stakeholders  in the industry from around the region.The minister, in stating reasons why he believed the Caribbean deserved the status, said that  it comprised 45 states, several ethnic groups and had the highest number  of maritime boundaries  of any large marine ecosystem in the world.He noted, too, the Caribbean was one of the busiest shipping routes in the world, home to some 63 000 annual ship calls, which carried an estimated 82 000 tonnes  of garbage.“Land-based sources  of pollution, intensified tourism development  and large oil shipments also have negative environmental impacts and risks,”  the minister said.Touching on some  of the obligations undertaken by Barbados and other CARICOM states, Benn said  that sometimes implementation had  been hampered, since servicing those agreements placed significant burdens  on the countries  in terms of technical, financial and human resource requirements. (CT)