Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Trinidad and Tobago ratifies SOFA; no US bases here

Trinidad and Tobago has ratified the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the United States, which governs the temporary presence of US military/defence personnel in Trinidad and Tobago (TT) for mutually agreed activities.

This agreement is intended to strengthen the existing excellent relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and the United States in matters of national and regional security.

The terms of the agreement will only become operative and applicable to particular exercises in which both governments mutually agree to engage.

Mutually agreed activities are defined in the SOFA as “such activities for which the government of Trinidad and Tobago shall transmit its approval in writing through diplomatic channels to the United States Authorities”.

In accordance with international practice, a determination on whether an action occurred during the course of official duties is customarily made by the relevant authorities of the sending State’s force who are in the best position to define what constitutes official duties of the members of that force.

There is a provision in the current agreement that permits the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to become involved in such a determination. This enhances the scope of involvement by Trinidad and Tobago and diminishes the scope for unilateral action by the United States.

As is the case with the previous SOFA, for the purpose of mutually agreed activities, US forces will be designated under the Trinidad and Tobago Visiting Forces Act, (Chapter 14:04 of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago.

This SOFA cannot be the basis for the establishment of an American military base in Trinidad and Tobago because it contemplates the temporary presence of US personnel in Trinidad and Tobago. No provisions are made or contemplated for the grant of facilities and areas to be utilized by the US military on the territory of Trinidad and Tobago.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai