AAPG members in the Caribbean will now receive special recognition thanks to a bylaws amendment approved at the House of Delegates meeting held in Denver, Colo.
Nine delegates from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela attended the meeting to support a bylaws change to formalize the name "Latin America and the Caribbean" for the area stretching from Mexico to the Southern Cone.
The AAPG Constitution and Bylaws Committee recommended changing the names of international Regions to reflect common use. Previously, the Region was called the "Mexican, Central American and South American Region."
The bylaws change passed unanimously.
For Region President Victor Ramirez, adding "the Caribbean" to the region name provides a formal way to recognize countries that are culturally and linguistically different from Latin American countries, and that also serve as key partners.
"The Caribbean has become a very important arena for economic growth in the region and must be seen as an integral part of its development," he said.
Krishna Persad, president of the Geological Society of Trinidad and Tobago, said the change reflects a reality both for AAPG and for the energy industry.
"The Caribbean has become a strong area for oil and gas production and is set to become even larger and to persist for a long time," he said.
Xavier Moonan, Region delegate with Centrica Energy in Trinidad and Tobago, described the outcome as great news.
"This solidifies the Caribbean voice in AAPG affairs and is testament to the steadily growing geoscience community in the Caribbean," he said.
Approximately 4 percent of AAPG members in the Latin American and Caribbean Region come from Caribbean countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, Belize and Saint Martin.
Many of those members gathered in Port-of-Spain in May for the 20th Caribbean Geological Conference, which drew 326 people from 65 companies and 26 countries for technical sessions, an exhibition, a Caribbean Plate Tectonics Symposium, two short courses and five field trips.
Members from the University of the West Indies-St. Augustine Student Chapter and the Trinidad and Tobago Young Professionals group served as event volunteers and recruited new members to AAPG.
Moonan, incoming Region treasurer for 2015-17, said he is excited about the momentum building in the Caribbean.
"We eagerly anticipate more Caribbean-hosted AAPG events and will work hand-in-hand with our Latin American colleagues to support such growth," he said.
Activities under way include a Geosciences Technology Workshop in Port-of-Spain in 2016, the expansion of the Visiting Geoscience Program in the Caribbean and a new AAPG student chapter in Jamaica.