Francis was elected on the first ballot, receiving the highest number of votes in the election of 21 members of the Commission, during the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Nominees from Argentina, Brazil and Mexico also were successful.
Trinidad and Tobago has a long and distinguished record in matters pertaining to the Law of the Sea. This is the first occasion on which the country will be represented on the Commission. Charles will be the only member of Caricom on the Commission.
The Commission, which was established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is the only legitimate mechanism for making recommendations to coastal States on matters related to the establishment of the outer limits of their continental shelves beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines, from which the breadth of territorial sea is measured.
Trinidad and Tobago and other eligible coastal States are expected to make submissions to the Commission on the extension of their continental shelf jurisdiction beyond 200 nautical miles, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention on the Law of the Sea. The delimitation of the outer limits of Trinidad and Tobago’s continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles will have implications for the future development of this country, as it will affect our access to the mineral resources of the extended continental shelf.
Charles is a Consultant in Hydrography, Geodesy, Maritime Boundary Delimitation and Cadastral Surveying and is a former Hydrographer and Land Surveyor with the Land and Surveys Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Marine Affairs.
He has extensive experience in maritime boundary delimitation negotiations, having served on many Trinidad and Tobago delegations to such meetings, including as a member of the team involved in the arbitral proceedings related to the recent Trinidad and Tobago/Barbados maritime boundary dispute.