Holland has done something right. It is host-country to the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ),  which has drawn a new maritime border between Honduras and Nicaragua to end a long-standing dispute between these two countries. For us in the Caribbean this is very relevant, as the ICJ’s binding ruling demarcates these two countries’ maritime border in the Caribbean Sea. As we all know, the Caribbean Sea is Caribbean and therefore belongs to the Caribbean coastline states. So we can all rejoice in this settlement.

Please refer to our article ‘Caribbean Seabed Authority’, which can be found under the button ‘Outstanding Articles’ (Direct Code: 564). In that article we argue that the Caribbean coastline states should claim the Caribbean Seabed. And from the outset they should agree to earmark any and all income from Caribbean Seabed exploitation to the common goals of promoting and funding: 1) Science and Education and 2) Universal Health Care for all Caribbeans.

Oil and gas

At any rate, both countries will now have equal access to the fish-rich waters and to any oil and gas exploration in the area along their coastlines. The decision by the UN's highest court, which both countries have agreed to abide by, ends an eight-year dispute over the line of the maritime boundary. Tensions over the issue had at times flared with both countries seizing one another's fishing vessels. Oh, yeah! Why not go to war on this even? At least, they stopped short of that and have now agreed, thanks to the ICJ’s good work.

We did not praise Holland for nothing in the opening sentence of this article. Holland has committed itself constitutionally to the development of the international order. We daresay this is unique, i.e. that a country commits itself – by including an explicit article in its constitution – to developing the international order. Thus Holland has converted itself into a natural haven for the establishment of International Courts. The International Criminal Court is also established in The Hague (as is the UN Tribunal for Yugoslavia). Holland actively promotes the development of international law and has been involved for years in arbitration efforts all around the globe. It does so quietly and not seldom effectively. Praise should be given where it is due.    

King of Spain

The argument between Nicaragua and Honduras had surfaced in 1999 shortly after Honduras ratified a treaty with Colombia, which has itself been in dispute with Nicaragua over the sovereignty of several small islands in the Caribbean. The Nicaraguans argued that this treaty infringed their territorial waters. The Honduran government argued that the maritime boundary had been set by the king of Spain in 1906, with Honduran territory beginning at the 15th parallel.

Nicaragua argued that the maritime border followed the line of its coast to the north-east as far as the 17th parallel. They asked the ICJ to set a valid maritime border between Nicaragua and Honduras. As well as resolving the issue of the borderline, the ICJ's ruling granted Honduras sovereignty over four small CaribbeanLas Manos to show their mutual acceptance of the ICJ ruling. So, all is well that ends well. islands. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his Honduran counterpart, Manuel Zelaya, were to meet in the border town of

However, we (i.e. all Caribbean coastline states) still need to claim the Caribbean Seabed, and use any income therefrom to promote and fund education and universal health care for all citizens of the entire Caribbean region. When will we start to move?

Our video today shows you – convincingly! – the beauty that can be found along the Caribbean coastline. It’s not directly related to today’s topic, but it’ll get you moving! Believe us.

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  • Gina Wooten - 12 November 2008

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