It was a reception held in the Delegates Dining Room at the United Nations headquarters, the very heart of international diplomacy. There was an air of levity, expectation and high stakes at the evening’s event, hosted by the Permanent Mission of T&T to honour the re-election of Francis Charles to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for another five year term. Charles who once served as the director of Surveys and commissioner of State Lands, is a consultant in hydrography and geodesy. He joined T&T Ambassadors Rodney Charles, who called the occasion “significant for the government,” and Eden Charles, to greet diplomats and other specially invited guests who were feted with fine aperitif, cocktails, and island flavoured music of a solo pannist.
Charles, whose candidature was viewed as “tremendously significant to the Government and people of T&T,” noted that the role of the commission was vital, as it determined the submissions of his country and its neighbours—Barbados and Venezuela—to extend exploration beyond the continental shelf—the seabed and subsoil of the sbmarine areas that extend beyond the territorial sea, through the natural prolongation of the land. He said that it was important to have a national on the commission to “keep the country abreast on ongoing developments, and spark interest and training of more nationals in his field.” He also emphasised the economic importance of the commission’s rulings, making mention of the fast depleting land-based oil reserves, and “the prospects for resources within and beyond the continental shelf.”
This point was echoed by Rikiya Takahashi, adviser and special researcher at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN. He intimated that his country strives on the favourable consideration of the commission to its submissions. “Oil and other minerals are vital to our economy,” and noted the discovery of a “wassonite,” a new mineral beyond the continental shelf “with limitless potential.” Takahashi expressed his support for Charles. “Japan and Trinidad and Tobago have always enjoyed great cooperation on this matter,” he said, “so on behalf of my country, I wish your candidate the very best.”