to meet over
GEORGETOWN, Guyana Caribbean community leaders yesterday said they would discuss ownership of an island off Dominica's coast, which is also being claimed by Venezuela, about 400 miles away.
If Venezuela's Aves Island claims were acknowledged, the South American country's 200-nautical-mile "exclusive economic zone" would extend its geographic influence as far north as the British dependency of Montserrat and as far south as Grenada.
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States will discuss the issue in early November. The 15-members of CARICOM will discuss the issue by November 15.
The dispute is about more than just the land.
Offshore waters are teaming with tuna and red snapper, while oil and natural gas are also thought to lie under the sea floor.
Despite protests from other Caribbean island countries, President Hugo Chavez insists the island rightfully belongs to Venezuela. Last year his government built the US$9 million (euro7.5 million) outpost now used by the military and a group of biologists, aiming to shed any doubts about the limits of Venezuela's maritime boundaries.
"We are certainly going to discuss it when the leaders of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States meet in Anguilla next month," said Antiguan Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer.
"The time has come for that," he said.
St Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States had no doubt that Aves Island "is Dominica's as far as we are concerned". (AP)