21 July 2017

‘Secret Code’: A Book Of Virgin Islands Triumph And Struggles

Press Release

A book that offers an exclusive glimpse into the Virgin Islands’ triumph, struggles, resilience and exploration (was) launched on June 20.

The book, titled ‘Secret Code’: British Virgin Islands’ is penned by Mrs. Mitsy J. Ellis-Simpson and will be launched through the collaborative efforts of the author and the Department of Culture.

Director of the Department of Culture, Mrs. Luce Hodge-Smith said that the department continues to promote literary arts in the Virgin Islands and that the novel contains comprehensive up-to-date facts on the economic history and current affairs of the British Virgin Islands.

Mrs. Hodge-Smith added, “We, at the Department of Culture, are always pleased to learn of authors writing and finding ways to document Virgin Islands culture and heritage. We are especially pleased to learn of the book, ‘Secret Code: British Virgin Islands’ and would like to congratulate Mrs. Ellis-Simpson and wish her success on all her future endeavours.”

Author, Mitsy J. Ellis-Simpson said her book goes far beyond navigating the World's Sailing Capital, and is packed with exclusive content.

She added that it is the first publication that beautifully illustrates the political, economic and social environment of the British Virgin Islands.

Mrs. Ellis-Simpson said, “The book presents a thrilling experience of struggles, triumph and resilience like none other. Whether you are an investor, a citizen, a tourist, a student, a financial professional or just a passerby, Secret Code: British Virgin Islands is a book for everyone which amplifies our vision of “Nature’s Little Secrets”, the British Virgin Islands.”

For more information on the latest addition in literary collections, persons can visit the Government of the Virgin Islands YouTube channel or use the following link to view the interview with author, Mrs. Mitsy Ellis-Simpson and Director of Culture, Mrs. Luce Hodge-Smith at https://www.youtube.com/BVIGovernment

20 July 2017

Decolonisation could be taught in Guam schools


Guam's Department of Education is formulating a plan to incorporate teaching about the self-determination vote and decolonisation in the local school curriculum.

Amanda Blas. 
Photo: Guam Governor's office

The department is currently working with the Commission on Decolonisation on the framework.

The executive director of the commission Amanda Blas said the aim was for the amended curriculum to start in kindergarten and be taught right through to high school.

Ms Blas said the new material would be added to existing subjects such as history and social studies, but she said the plan was still a work in progress.

"In the next couple of days the working session will happen, where we can discuss the curriculum framework more. Right now the commission is also looking at the possibility of strictly targeting high school students who will be able to vote for the plebiscite when the self-determination vote does happen," she said.

"Nothing has been finalised, but we have some great ideas and a bunch of the commission members and of course Guam's Department of Education are working together to really help see this through."

19 July 2017

Puerto Rico Fiscal Fiasco: Congressional Abdication of Territorial Clause Power

by Howard Hills

Legal counsel in the National Security Council for territorial status issues in the Reagan Administration; and author of the recent book on Puerto Rico

In 1961, President Kennedy signed an administrative order that limited federal oversight in Puerto Rico, creating conditions for the fiscal “perfect storm” now engulfing the island. The federal control board included in the House recovery bill for Puerto Rico appears to be the most direct and practical way to correct the mistake Congress made by going along with JFK’s intrusion into its territorial clause powers. Those in Puerto Rico who oppose the control board have offered no viable alternative, and want federal assistance without accountability.

But accountability at the federal level is the topic of a recent commentary published by Puerto Rico Report that examines President Kennedy’s 1961 directive drastically limiting federal management of Puerto Rico policy affairs by the U.S. Department of the Interior. With the stroke of a pen Kennedy exempted the “commonwealth” regime of territorial government from coordinated federal oversight that had been provided by territorial policy staff at DOI for decades, and continues to this day for all territories except Puerto Rico.

Just as Congress has accepted for more than a century the federal court decisions that say that the U.S. Constitution applies to Puerto Rico by analogy to the states rather than directly, for more than half a century Congress allowed Puerto Rico to take on debt using the illusion of federal backing. The local political party favoring the current status quo even invented the myth that “fiscal autonomy” was a “pillar of commonwealth, ” at the same time the illusion of federal backing was being used to debt finance expansion of local government programs and services.

The local party propounding “autonomy” opposes statehood or true nationhood, the only two status options that would mean real autonomy for Puerto Rico. Indeed, a former Governor from the autonomist party favoring the current status boasted recently that he had helped kill a 1998 bill that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives but died in the U.S. Senate. That bill would have allowed a federally sponsored vote in Puerto Rico between statehood, nationhood and the current status as defined by federal law, but the autonomist party lobbyists — including the same former Governor — joined forces with those who denied democratic self-determination to 3.5 million U.S. citizens in the last large U.S. territory.

Yet, only statehood or nationhood would end the current territory status in which a federal control board is within the power Congress exercises over the island. That is why 54% of voters rejected the status quo in a 2012 referendum, and 61% chose statehood, leading Congress in 2014 to authorize and fund a federally recognized vote to confirm the 2012 results.

The current fiscal meltdown has been used as an excuse by the anti-statehood autonomist party to delay that vote. Instead of recognizing that the non-sovereign status is the problem and statehood or nationhood is the solution, Republicans and Democrats in Congress are in denial that the “commonwealth” regime that abused its credit authority is a creation of Congress.

It is Congress that allowed the federal entity for administration of local civil affairs it instituted under a local constitution in 1952 to incur $70 billion in unfunded debt obligations. Yet, beguiled by wily Wall Street lobbyists, whose clients are scrambling for priority in any federal debt workout program for Puerto Rico, most in Congress have been chanting a “No bailout” and “Blame it on Puerto Rico” mantra.

As Congress evaded and avoided its historical and constitutional role in guiding territories to a permanent status, the local government emulated its “parent” government in Washington by making promises it could not keep without borrowing more money than it could afford to repay. Those who argue that is not Congress’ problem need to think again.

Congress retains full, unrestrained, plenary powers of sovereignty over Puerto Rico. The “commonwealth” regime of territorial government exists at the pleasure of Congress, and its delegated powers of “internal sovereignty” are limited to purely local matters not otherwise governed by federal law. So if we are talking about blame, let’s begin with the advent of the so-called “commonwealth” model of in Puerto Rico since 1952.


18 July 2017

‘Formal apologies for slavery only if it doesn’t cost anything’

Caribbean Network


Pieter Hofmann

AMSTERDAM – As the annual commemoration of the abolition of slavery is observed, the discussion on dealing with this highly sensitive subject continues. At the United Nations Summit in 2001, the Dutch government expressed regret for the actions of the colony in the past.

According to activist Leroy Lucas the Netherlands must extend formal apologizes. Expressing regret and a formal apology are two different things, says writer and jurist Kenneth Manusama. “The difference is that with the Netherlands only expressing regret it cannot be penalized.”

Formal apologies are an upside to legal liability. This can trigger a flow of litigation. Lucas finds this a good step. “As a civilized country this is not unusual.”

However, the legal path to recovery payments is complex. The crime should’ve been punishable during the time it was committed. Manusama: “The abolition of slavery happened in 1870. So for a long time it was unclear whether the slave trade and slavery was legal or not.”

Grey area

Manusama speaks of a legal grey area. In the second half of the 19th century slavery was abolished through legislation in various countries. It was not until 1890 that a treaty prohibited slavery under international law.

However, according to Lucas the trans-Atlantic Slavery was recognized as a crime against humanity at the United Nations Summit in 2001. “The UN states: at that time it was immoral and punishable.”

The Dutch government is afraid of claims for damages and prefers to remain silent. An ordinary money issue? Manusama: “Yes. They try to avoid legal risk. As soon as the Netherlands with all its legal experts, believe that there is no legal implications for a claim for damages, they offer formal apologies. Because then it cost them nothing.”

Limit on recovery payments

The various calculations for recovery payments for the trans-Atlantic slavery vary widely. The material part of a claim for damages is usually easy to convey in amounts. Lucas mentions the 122-year repayment by Haiti as a price for independence from colonizer France. Manusama: “But in the case of intangible damage it becomes difficult. You have the chance that the judge decides on a symbolic amount and says: the state is responsible, but what consequences were related is too difficult to determine.”

Allocation of a mega sum seems unlikely Manusama thinks. According to him this is why it is better to invest in education, for example offer lessons on the colonial past in the curriculum and establish a slavery museum. “If you bet on things other than money, you may get progress.”

Not a priority
Historian Frank Dragtenstein mainly detects unwillingness and disinterest from the Dutch government. “I do not have the idea that it’s a priority, let alone compensation payments. I think, at first, that the African-Antillean-Surinamese community has to ensure the transfer of that history to their younger generations.” Lucas: “It’s not, or-or, but, and-and. Institutions such as a slavery museum must be created. But really too much mistakes were made in attempts for repayments.”

17 July 2017

Bevacqua: Independence group (Guam) educates community

Michael Lujan Bevacqua

Michael Lujan Bevacqua is an author, artist, activist 
and assistant professor of Chamorro Studies at the University of Guam.

I am fortunate to be a co-chair for the community group Independent Guåhan, whose mission is to educate the island about the importance of Guam’s decolonization and the possibilities should Guam become an independent country. Our group is part of the Independence for Guam Task Force, which is in turn part of the Commission on Decolonization. My co-chair is Victoria Leon Guerrero.

It is a common, albeit unfounded criticism of our outreach that we are simply offering flowery, philosophical ideas but no real information or concrete facts. This is hardly the case. Each month, our group organizes a number of different types of educational meetings, sometimes for groups as large as 40, others aimed at an audience of four. For each event, members and volunteers for Independent Guåhan conduct research and prepare educational materials.

At the end of each of our monthly general assemblies, we break into small groups and collect feedback and questions that we later incorporate into what we research and present in the future.


Part of the reason our efforts are sometimes criticized is simply the nature of the task. Speaking about independence or any other political status change is largely notional, because it is about what lies ahead, following the holding of a decolonization plebiscite and subsequent negotiations with the U.S. government. Providing concrete projections or plans is possible, but it’s akin to attempting to describe in detail what your life will be like 10, 20 or 30 years from now. You can have a sense of what might happen, you can hope your life will unfold according to plan, but it relies on a great many assumptions.

This doesn’t mean education around decolonization is useless or empty. On the contrary, what is important at this stage is looking at potential models Guam can emulate, or at least learn from, in terms of conceiving its own development. Missing the decolonization boat that shook the world in the first few decades following World War II was unfortunate in one sense, but in another it gives us the chance to see the paths others have taken.

Last month we held a general assembly in the village of Malesso’, with more than 50 people in attendance. The focus was on looking at government models around the world that could help an independent Guåhan increase accountability to its constituents, while decreasing possibilities for corruption and malfeasance. Ray Lujan, an intern for the group, discussed the Nordic model used with great effectiveness by Scandinavian countries, the “Pura Vida” approach that has led to great prosperity in Costa Rica, as well as reforms enacted by Singapore and New Zealand.

There are elements of these models that can be implemented now, but we must always keep an eye on the horizon and not forget the ultimate goal must be to end this era of colonization and bring the island to an era of true self-government.

If you are interested in attending the next general assembly, it will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. June 29 at the Toto Community Center. The focus will be on the impacts of U.S. military dumping on Guam and creative ways of dealing with crime and vandalism in Guam’s villages.

13 July 2017

Ghana launches its first satellite into space

The development team behind the satellite

Ghana has successfully launched its first satellite into space.

GhanaSat-1, which was developed by students at All Nations University in Koforidua, was sent into orbit from the International Space Centre.

Cheers erupted as 400 people, including the engineers, gathered in the southern Ghanaian city to watch live pictures of the launch. The first signal was received shortly afterwards.

It is the culmination of a two-year project, costing $50,000 (£40,000).

It received support from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The satellite will be used to monitor Ghana's coastline for mapping purposes, and to build capacity in space science and technology.

Project coordinator Dr Richard Damoah said it marked a new beginning for the country.

"It has opened the door for us to do a lot of activities from space," he told the BBC.

He said it would "also help us train the upcoming generation on how to apply satellites in different activities around our region.

"For instance, [monitoring] illegal mining is one of the things we are looking to accomplish."

Requête de la Polynésie française pour la compensation des essais nucléaires

L'association 193 demande un référendum sur les essais nucléaires pour provoquer un débat sur la question.
L'association 193 demande un référendum sur les essais nucléaires pour provoquer un débat sur la question.
PAPEETE, le 3 juillet 2017. L'association 193 a annoncé qu'elle comptait 53 053 signatures à sa pétition pour demander un référendum local. 

A l'occasion de la commémoration des 51 ans du 1er essai nucléaire en Polynésie française le 2 juillet 1966, l'association 193 a organisé une marche pacifique à la presqu'île. Jeudi, les membres de l'association étaient à Tautira. Vendredi, ils se sont rendus à Taravao avant de prendre la direction de Teahupo'o samedi. Dimanche matin, une messe à l'intention des "malades et défunts liés aux essais nucléaires à la paroisse Christ-Roi de Pamatai Faa'a" était organisée.

Dimanche soir, l'association 193 a assisté à la commémoration des 51 ans du 1er essai nucléaire en Polynésie française. A cette occasion, elle a souligné qu'elle comptait 53 053 signatures à sa pétition pour demander un référendum local.
Le 2 juillet 1966, la Polynésie entrait dans l’ère nucléaire avec le premier essai Aldébaran tiré depuis Moruroa. Cinquante ans après, l'association 193 demande un référendum sur les essais nucléaires pour provoquer un débat sur la question.

Pour rappel, fin janvier, l’association 193 a créé une Cellule d’accompagnement et de réparation des victimes liées aux essais nucléaires (Carven) chargée de faciliter, à travers la Polynésie, la constitution de dossiers de demandes d'indemnisation sous l'égide de la loi Morin.

L'association 193 a été créée fin 2014. Elle tient son nom du nombre d'essais nucléaires (atmosphériques, de sécurité et souterrains) réalisés sur les atolls de Moruroa et Fangataufa entre 1966 et 1996. 

L'association 193 a organisé une marche pacifique la semaine dernière.
L'association 193 a organisé une marche pacifique la semaine dernière.

09 July 2017

Finance Minister: Bermuda Under Threat From European Union

Royal Gazette

Bermuda’s international standing as a business destination is again under attack by the European Union, according to finance minister Bob Richards.

Mr Richards said that this month the Bermuda Government received a questionnaire from the EU’s Code of Conduct Group which he said was intended to harm the island’s position in international business.

Mr Richards said: “The questionnaire is designed to lead to a predetermined conclusion that Bermuda is a tax haven that is harmful to the global economy, and the EU in particular, and therefore should be placed on an economic blacklist.

“This, despite the fact that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Financial Action Task Force to combat money laundering have concluded that Bermuda is not ‘harmful’ in its conduct or the application of its laws in the global economy. The first attempt by the Code of Conduct Group to blacklist Bermuda in 2015 was thoroughly repudiated by the OECD and was dropped, but this latest attempt has been more cleverly constructed and poses a much greater threat.

“We believe it constitutes a clear and present danger to our international business sector.”

Mr Richards said that the questionnaire was received by e-mail on June 9, and if the Government fails to respond by July 7, the island will be deemed non-compliant by the organisation.

Richards said that he believed the questionnaire had been sent to multiple jurisdictions, not just Bermuda, and that the Government would be willing to release the questionnaire — and government’s response — publicly.

Mr Richards defended the island’s reputation saying Bermuda had spent a great deal of time and money to stay ahead of the curve for international taxation and information sharing, saying that the island is being used as a political scapegoat.

“Bermuda does not hide beneficial ownership from tax, regulatory or law enforcement agencies,” he said. “Bermuda does not create structures designed to obscure where income is earned. Bermuda is not the jurisdiction of choice for hundreds of thousands of multinationals seeking to create shell corporations. Other jurisdictions are.

“Scapegoating Bermuda plays well in some European countries for political reasons. It also assumes that Bermuda is weak and defenseless.

“But we are not. We will fight. We will fight this unjust attack on the livelihoods of thousands of Bermudians employed in the financial services business or those who depend indirectly on that sector for support. We will fight to preserve our sovereign right to determine tax policy for Bermudian companies.”

While he said that Brexit had reduced the UK’s influence on the EU, he said Bermuda still had “private sector partners and overseas-based friends” who will work with the island as it defends its reputation.

“Our first priority is to answer the questionnaire clearly and logically,” he said. “If there are any biases in the questions, we will point them out and propose alternatives that demonstrate our role in co-operation, transparency and reporting.

“With the questionnaire submitted by the deadline date, we will follow with a campaign enlisting the support of our contacts within the EU and elsewhere that we have built up in recent years.

“I am confident we will prevail. We have worked long and hard to establish our reputation as a jurisdiction with integrity and the highest standards of transparency and best practice.

“We will fight to protect our reputation and the livelihoods of thousands of Bermudians who rely on that reputation for their livelihoods.”

06 July 2017


Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda has released its 2017 Racial Justice Platform, urging political candidates to take action which will bring about “greater racial justice and economic   equity” in Bermuda.

In a statement released this afternoon, Curb outlined the importance of racial justice and asked political parties, their candidates and all independents, to respond to their 27-point platform.

“In November 2012 Curb released its first ever Racial Justice Platform prior to the December 17, 2012 election,” said the statement. “We knew that race would come up in the 2012 election, as it continues to do in the 2017 election, and Curb was seeking to direct the discussion in a more constructive and proactive way.

“We hoped that the concrete actions outlined in the 2012 Platform would allow political parties and their candidates the ability to consider, comment and endorse the 15-point plan and more importantly take actions on the 2012 recommendations and move the discussion forward to create greater equity and justice.

“Unfortunately only one recommendation was fully achieved, the decriminalisation of marijuana. In May 2017 legislation was finally passed with bipartisan support.

“A few other recommendations have been driven by community-led initiatives such as support for a reconciliation process. Failing any concrete political action, Curb moved to a community process and began the Truth and Reconciliation Community Conversations in January 2017.”

The statement continues: “Movement towards a greater use of restorative practices in our criminal justice system has occurred with support from Chief Justice Ian Kawaley and Senior Magistrate Juan Wolffe, as well as restorative justice processes in the Corrections Department. However, the choice of a methodology, process and timeline has yet to be publicly put in place for the entire criminal justice system.

“We hope the introduction of equality impact assessments might become a reality and receive bipartisan support as there has been a commitment by the Progressive Labour Party to introduce legislation.

“Many of the other 2012 recommendations were critically important to bringing about racial justice and equity, i.e. a Workforce Equity Bill; scholarships for Bermudian students to study overseas after completing Bermuda College; mandatory reporting of wealth; a capital gains tax; repeal of Section 315F of the Criminal Code stop and search legislation; and a racial equity index to ensure progress is occurring.

“Curb believes that if more of the 2012 recommendations had been implemented it would have gone some way to staunch the exodus of so many Bermudians, and mitigate the distrust, economic disparity and social unrest that has been increasing in our community over the last several years. If Bermuda is to become truly united, there must be healing, equal opportunity, educational advancement, economic equity and the ability to measure progress.
“We urge the politicians and candidates to study and consider the 2017 recommendations and we encourage the people of Bermuda to ask the candidates questions about their commitment to racial justice and equity in our society.

“We hope that both political parties and the candidates will study the 2017 Racial Justice Platform and publicly provide comment and support so that Bermudians understand their position on these matters that are of great importance to anyone who cares for equality and the future stability of our society.”

05 July 2017


"Under this thinking, the European Dutch must be allowed to tell the people of  the Dutch Caribbean dependencies how to spend their own money. Such arrogance! So, according to them we don't have the mental capacity to handle our own financial management, and will need them - forever.  The wisdom of former President of Tanzania Julius Nyerere has never been more appropriate: 'It is better to govern, or mis-govern yourself, than to be governed by anybody else.' At what point will the wider region come to the realization that such Dutch colonial maneuvering is not at all in the Caribbean's interest?" -  a Caribbean economist

Permanent Supervision Of Finances Of The Former Antilles Islands

Age Bakker (2)
THE HAGUE - The former Netherlands Antilles must continue to be under financial supervision in the future. This is according to Age Bakker, who departs after six years as chairman of the temporary Committee for Financial Supervision (CFT).

According to the economist, the supervision increases the attractiveness of investing and reduces the risk that the Netherlands has to step in for financial mismanagement.
“The carrot and stick approach applies here,” says Bakker. “The carrot is that the islands can borrow cheap money abroad via the Netherlands.” For example, the island states of Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Aruba and the three overseas municipalities of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, can take advantage of the good reputation of the Netherlands on the International capital markets. “The stick is that independent financial supervision also has control by giving directions.”

Carrot and stick? Apparently he is serious... 


The Daily Herald

Bosman Seeks Clarity On Permanent Supervision

andrebosmanTHE HAGUE - Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party wants to know if the Dutch Government agrees with the statement that financial supervision in the Dutch Caribbean should become permanent.
Bosman sent a series of questions to caretaker Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk on Wednesday following a media statement of departing Committee for Financial Supervision CFT Chairman Age Bakker who said he was in favour of maintaining the current financial supervision in a more permanent format.
The Member of Parliament (MP) asked the Minister whether he agreed with the permanent instituting of financial supervision on the six Dutch Caribbean islands. When the current supervision was instituted in 2010, it was agreed that the supervision, in principle, would be of a temporary nature and that the measure aimed at securing sound Government finances would be regularly evaluated.
Bosman also wanted to know to what extent a permanent version of financial supervision in the Dutch Caribbean would limit the financial risk for the Netherlands and to what degree the Netherlands would have to take the rap for “financial mismanagement” of the Caribbean countries of the Kingdom.
“Do you agree with the statement of Mr. Bakker that permanent financial supervision for the islands would reduce the risk that the Netherlands would have to cover for financial mismanagement?” Bosman asked the Minister.
The MP inquired whether the Minister would incorporate the advice of the departing CFT Chairman in next year’s evaluation of the current agreement between the Netherlands and the Dutch Caribbean islands. He asked whether the Second Chamber would be involved in this evaluation and when the results of this evaluation would be sent to Parliament.
In a separate series of questions, Bosman sought clarity on the most recent advice of the Aruba Committee for Financial Supervision CAFT to implement a general commitment and vacancy stop for the Aruba Government.
Having analysed the first progress report of 2017 of the Country Aruba, CAFT concluded that the deficit in the collective sector in the first quarter amounted to 1.1 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which was higher than the 0.5 per cent GDP deficit standard for the full year.
The financial results over the first quarter were at such level that the CAFT advised to implement a vacancy stop and a commitment stop. At the beginning of this year more people have entered public service, which is not in line with Government’s intention to save five per cent on Government staff annually.
Bosman asked Minister Plasterk whether he agreed with the CAFT advice to implement a general commitment and vacancy stop, and whether he found it desirable that the Aruba Government didn’t agree with this advice.
“Why has the civil servants corps increased with 18 full-time employees? What should be the consequences of Aruba’s refusal to cooperate with the CAFT advices,” the MP wanted to know.
Tuesday’s arrest of two employees of Curaçao’s Admittance Organisation, formerly the Immigration Department, on corruption charges was reason for Bosman to inquire about that case. He asked Minister Plasterk for clarification on this specific case that involved the department head.
The MP wanted to know in what way the suspects committed fraud with applications for residency permits and the issuing of these permits. He asked about the consequences of this fraud on the issuing of Dutch passports to “persons who didn’t have a right” to acquiring a passport, and whether the Netherlands would be involved in the handling of this case.

04 July 2017

Fourth of July Like You’ve Never Seen It Before!

by Mike Ferner

"Slaves weren’t included in 'We the People,' they were only the property of their owners."

A historically critical article about the American Revolution would typically discuss how the democratic promises of the Declaration were left hanging at war’s end, followed by a decidedly undemocratic constitution six years later.Examples of that would include abandoning ideals stated in the Declaration like: “all men (sic) are created equal” and have unassailable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It could cite that: 

Slaves weren’t included in “We the People,” they were only the property of their owners. Because this human property, unlike a bale of cotton, could plan to run away, particular attention was paid to securing it. “A person (the indelicate word “slave” never appeared) held to service or labor in one state…escaping to another…shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.” (Art. IV, sec. 2 [1])

To appease Southerners interested in gaining the maximum number of seats in the new House of Representatives, the Fathers of Our Country declared, in writing, that these “other persons” would each count as three-fifths of a human. (Art. I, sec. 2 [1])
Women did not have the right to vote, nor did Catholics and Jews in some states. White, Protestant, men had to own qualifying amounts of property. Thus, only about 6% [2] of the new nation’s population was eligible to vote in the first presidential election and only 1.3%, or 38,818 [3] people actually did. 

Even those so privileged didn’t actually vote for a presidential candidate. They voted for “electors” pledged to vote for certain candidates and even then, four of the state legislatures picked [3] those electors, not voting citizens.
State legislatures, not citizens, chose U.S. Senators until the Constitution was amended in 1913 [4].

Clearly, there are reasons to ask what the Founders of Our Country were up to and what our fireworks every Fourth of July about.

But this year, let’s investigate further: was war the only or even the best way to achieve what we now see was more limited than what we were taught?

Who better to proffer that question than the people’s historian, Howard Zinn?




Frederick Douglass on the Fourth of July

30 June 2017

Anti-nuclear marches planned in Tahiti

A French Polynesian anti-nuclear group says it will hold two peaceful marches on the Tahiti peninsula on Friday and Saturday in the lead-up to the weekend commemorations of France's first nuclear weapons test in the Pacific.
Group on Mangareva opposed to shipment of building material from Hao
Photo: Facebook Association 193
The Association 193 said the marches would be from Tautira to Taravao and from Taravao to Teahupoo to try to hold to account those responsible for the damage caused by the 193 atomic tests.
The group's vice president Auguste Uebe-Carlson said efforts to submit files for compensation were being frustrated by red tape, cost and above all fear to encounter repercussions on a personal level.
Father Auguste said there was no progress in getting the authorities to organise a local referendum on the impact of the tests despite tens of thousands of people having signed a petition to that effect.
He said the Association had also failed to get a response to its grievances from the new head of the local body looking at the aftermath of France's nuclear weapons tests.
Father Auguste said there appeared to be a denial that the fall-out affected all of French Polynesia.
In the lead-up to the French presidential election, Emmanuel Macron promised that Paris would pay in full the medical costs incurred by those suffering from radiation-induced illnesses.

28 June 2017


"...General Assembly resolution 67/265 of 17 May 2013, which provided for the reinscription of French Polynesia on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories, was reaffirmed by the conclusion of a Self-Governance Assessment of the Territory, presented to the Fourth Committee on 4 October 2016, that the Territory did not meet the full measure of self-government;" - U.N. Decolonization Committee Resolution adopted on 22nd June 2017.


Question of French Polynesia

          The General Assembly,

          Having considered the question of French Polynesia,

          Having examined the chapter of the report of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples for 2017 relating to French Polynesia,[1]

          Taking note of the working paper prepared by the Secretariat on French Polynesia[2] and other relevant information,

          Reaffirming the right of peoples to self-determination, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and in accordance with all relevant resolutions, including General Assembly resolutions 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 and 1541 (XV) of 15 December 1960,

          Recalling its resolution 67/265 of 17 May 2013, entitled “Self-determination of French Polynesia”, in which it affirmed the inalienable right of the people of French Polynesia to self-determination and independence in accordance with Chapter XI of the Charter and its resolution 1514 (XV), recognized that French Polynesia remains a Non-Self-Governing Territory within the meaning of the Charter, and declared that an obligation exists under Article 73 e of the Charter on the part of the Government of France, as the administering Power of the Territory, to transmit information on French Polynesia,

          Taking note of the section related to French Polynesia of the Final Document of the Seventeenth Ministerial Conference of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, held in Algiers from 26 to 29 May 2014,[3]

          Expressing concern that 57 years after the adoption of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples,[4] there still remain 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories, including French Polynesia,

          Recognizing that all available options for self-determination of the Territories are valid as long as they are in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned, on a case-by-case basis and in conformity with the clearly defined principles contained in General Assembly resolutions 1514 (XV), 1541 (XV) and other relevant resolutions of the Assembly,

          Recognizing also that the specific characteristics and the aspirations of the people of French Polynesia require flexible, practical and innovative approaches to the options for self-determination, without any prejudice to territorial size, geographical location, size of population or natural resources,

          Reaffirming the inalienable rights of the people of French Polynesia to the ownership, control and disposal of their natural resources, including marine resources and undersea minerals,

          Conscious of the responsibility of the administering Power to ensure the full and speedy implementation of the Declaration in respect of French Polynesia,

          Mindful that, in order for the Special Committee to enhance its understanding of the political status of the peoples of the Territories and to fulfil its mandate effectively, on a case-by-case basis, it is important for it to be apprised by the administering Powers and to receive information from other appropriate sources, including the representatives of the Territories, concerning the wishes and aspirations of the people of the Territories,

          Recognizing the significant health and environmental impacts of nuclear testing conducted by the administering Power in the Territory over a 30 year period, and recognizing also the concerns in the Territory related to the consequences of those activities for the lives and health of the people, especially children and vulnerable groups, as well as the environment of the region, and bearing in mind General Assembly resolution 71/89 of 6 December 2016, entitled “Effects of atomic radiation”,

          Recalling the report of the Secretary-General on the environmental, ecological, health and other impacts of the 30-year period of nuclear testing in French Polynesia,[5] prepared pursuant to paragraph 5 of General Assembly resolution 68/93 of 11 December 2013,

          Noting that, in February 2017, the administering Power amended the Act concerning the recognition and compensating of victims of nuclear tests[6] in order to allow for the compensation of a larger number of victims,

          Recognizing the need for the Special Committee to ensure that the appropriate bodies of the United Nations actively pursue a public awareness campaign aimed at assisting the peoples of the Territories in gaining a better understanding of the options for self-determination,

          Recalling the admission of French Polynesia as a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum at the forty-seventh Pacific Islands Forum, convened in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, from 8 to 10 September 2016,

          1.       Reaffirms the inalienable right of the people of French Polynesia to self-determination, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and with General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), containing the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples;

          2.       Also reaffirms that it is ultimately for the people of French Polynesia to determine freely their future political status in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter, the Declaration and the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, and in that connection calls upon the administering Power, in cooperation with the territorial Government and appropriate bodies of the United Nations system, to develop political education programmes for the Territory in order to foster an awareness among the people of French Polynesia of their right to self-determination in conformity with the legitimate political status options, based on the principles clearly defined in Assembly resolution 1541 (XV) and other relevant resolutions and decisions;

          3.       Takes note of the statement made by the President of French Polynesia, speaking for the first time in the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee), at the seventy-first session of the General Assembly in October 2016;

          4.       Also takes note of the first participation of a representative of the Government of the Territory in the regional seminar, which in 2017 was held in Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, from 16 to 18 May;

          5.       Notes the request by a representative of the Government of the Territory at the 2017 Caribbean regional seminar to remove French Polynesia from the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories, and takes note of resolution No. 2013-3, adopted by the Assembly of French Polynesia on 30 May 2013, which repealed the resolution of the Assembly adopted in 2011, requesting the reinscription of French Polynesia on that list;

          6.       Stresses, in this regard, that General Assembly resolution 67/265 of 17 May 2013, which provided for the reinscription of French Polynesia on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories, was reaffirmed by the conclusion of a Self-Governance Assessment of the Territory, presented to the Fourth Committee on 4 October 2016, that the Territory did not meet the full measure of self-government;

          7.       Calls upon the administering Power to participate in and cooperate fully with the work of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples in order to implement the provisions of Article 73 e of the Charter and the Declaration and in order to advise the Special Committee on the implementation of the provisions under Article 73 b of the Charter on efforts to promote self-government in French Polynesia, and encourages the administering Power to facilitate visiting and special missions to the Territory;

          8.       Regrets that the administering Power has not responded to the request to submit information on French Polynesia under Article 73 e of the Charter since the reinscription of the Territory by the General Assembly in 2013;

          9.       Reaffirms that an obligation exists on the part of the administering Power to transmit information under Chapter XI of the Charter, and requests the administering Power to transmit to the Secretary-General such information on French Polynesia as called for under the Charter;

          10.     Urges the administering Power to ensure the permanent sovereignty of the people of French Polynesia over their natural resources, including marine resources and undersea minerals, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly;

          11.     Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the environmental, ecological, health and other impacts of the 30-year period of nuclear testing in French Polynesia,[7] prepared pursuant to paragraph 7 of General Assembly resolution 71/120 of 6 December 2016, and reiterates its request to the Secretary-General to provide continuous updates in this regard;

          12.     Calls upon the administering Power to intensify its dialogue with French Polynesia in order to facilitate rapid progress towards a fair and effective self-determination process, under which the terms and timelines for an act of self-determination would be agreed;

          13.     Requests the Special Committee to continue to examine the question of the Non Self-Governing Territory of French Polynesia and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its seventy-third session.

         [1] Official Records of the General Assembly, Seventy-second Session, Supplement No. 23 (A/72/23), chap. ___.
         [2] A/AC.109/2017/7.
         [3] See A/68/966-S/2014/573, annex I.
         [4] Resolution 1514 (XV).
         [5] A/69/189.
         [6] Act No. 2010-2 of 5 January 2010 concerning the recognition and compensating of victims of nuclear tests.
         [7] A/72/74.



Question de la Polynésie française

L’Assemblée générale,

Ayant examiné la question de la Polynésie française,

Ayant également examiné le chapitre du rapport du Comité spécial chargé d’étudier la situation en ce qui concerne l’application de la Déclaration sur l’octroi de l’indépendance aux pays et aux peuples coloniaux sur ses travaux de 2017, qui porte sur la Polynésie française[1],

Prenant note du document de travail établi par le Secrétariat sur la Polynésie française[2] et des autres informations pertinentes,

Réaffirmant le droit des peuples à disposer d’eux-mêmes, tel qu’il est consacré par la Charte des Nations Unies et conformément à toutes ses résolutions pertinentes, notamment ses résolutions 1514 (XV) du 14 décembre 1960 et 1541 (XV) du 15 décembre 1960,

Rappelant sa résolution 67/265 du 17 mai 2013, intitulée « L’autodétermination de la Polynésie française », dans laquelle elle a affirmé le droit inaliénable du peuple de la Polynésie française à l’autodétermination et à l’indépendance, tel qu’il est consacré au Chapitre XI de la Charte et par sa résolution 1514 (XV), considéré que la Polynésie française restait un territoire non autonome au sens de la Charte, et déclaré que l’alinéa e de l’Article 73 de la Charte faisait obligation au Gouvernement français, en sa qualité de Puissance administrante, de communiquer des renseignements sur la Polynésie française,

Prenant note de la section relative à la Polynésie française figurant dans le Document final de la dix-septième Conférence ministérielle du Mouvement des pays non alignés, tenue à Alger du 26 au 29 mai 2014[3],

Constatant avec préoccupation que, 57 ans après l’adoption de la Déclaration sur l’octroi de l’indépendance aux pays et aux peuples coloniaux[4], 17 territoires, dont la Polynésie française, ne sont toujours pas autonomes,

Considérant que toutes les formules possibles d’autodétermination des territoires sont valables dès lors qu’elles correspondent aux vœux librement exprimés des peuples concernés, qu’elles sont déterminées au cas par cas et qu’elles sont conformes aux principes clairement définis dans ses résolutions 1514 (XV) et 1541 (XV) et ses autres résolutions pertinentes,

Considérant également qu’une démarche souple, pragmatique et novatrice des formules d’autodétermination s’impose, au vu des spécificités et des aspirations du peuple de la Polynésie française, indépendamment de la superficie du territoire, de sa situation géographique, de la taille de sa population ou de ses ressources naturelles,

Réaffirmant les droits inaliénables du peuple de la Polynésie française à la propriété, au contrôle et à l’utilisation de ses ressources naturelles, y compris les ressources marines et les minéraux sous-marins,

Consciente qu’il incombe à la Puissance administrante d’assurer l’application intégrale et rapide de la Déclaration en ce qui concerne la Polynésie française,

Sachant qu’il importe, pour que le Comité spécial comprenne mieux la situation politique des peuples des territoires et puisse s’acquitter efficacement de son mandat, au cas par cas, que cet organe soit tenu informé par les puissances administrantes et reçoive des renseignements d’autres sources appropriées, y compris des représentants des territoires, en ce qui concerne les vœux et aspirations des peuples des territoires,

Consciente des importantes retombées sanitaires et environnementales des essais nucléaires pratiqués dans le territoire par la Puissance administrante pendant 30 ans et des inquiétudes que suscitent dans le territoire les conséquences de ces activités sur la vie et la santé des populations, en particulier des enfants et des groupes vulnérables, et sur l’environnement de la région, et gardant à l’esprit sa résolution 71/89 du 6 décembre 2016 intitulée « Effets des rayonnements ionisants »,

Rappelant le rapport du Secrétaire général sur les retombées environnementales, écologiques, sanitaires et autres des essais nucléaires pratiqués pendant 30 ans en Polynésie française[5], établi conformément au paragraphe 5 de sa résolution 68/93 du 11 décembre 2013,

Notant qu’en février 2017, la Puissance administrante a modifié la loi relative à la reconnaissance et à l’indemnisation des victimes des essais nucléaires[6] pour qu’un plus grand nombre de victimes puissent être indemnisées,

Considérant qu’il importe que le Comité spécial veille à ce que les organes compétents de l’Organisation des Nations Unies mènent activement une campagne de sensibilisation afin d’aider les peuples des territoires à mieux comprendre les différentes options en matière d’autodétermination,

Rappelant l’admission de la Polynésie française comme membre à part entière du Forum des îles du Pacifique à sa quarante-septième session, qui s’est tenue à Pohnpei (États fédérés de Micronésie) du 8 au 10 septembre 2016,

1. Réaffirme le droit inaliénable du peuple de la Polynésie française à l’autodétermination, conformément à la Charte des Nations Unies et à sa résolution 1514 (XV) contenant la Déclaration sur l’octroi de l’indépendance aux pays et aux peuples coloniaux;

2. Réaffirme également qu’en fin de compte c’est au peuple de la Polynésie française lui-même qu’il appartient de déterminer librement son futur statut politique, conformément aux dispositions applicables de la Charte, de la Déclaration et de ses résolutions pertinentes, et, à cet égard, demande à la Puissance administrante d’agir en coopération avec le gouvernement du territoire et les organes compétents du système des Nations Unies pour mettre au point des programmes d’éducation politique dans le territoire afin de faire prendre conscience au peuple de la Polynésie française de son droit à l’autodétermination, compte tenu des différents statuts politiques légitimes envisageables sur la base des principes clairement définis dans sa résolution 1541 (XV) et les autres résolutions et décisions pertinentes;

3. Prend note de la déclaration faite par le Président de la Polynésie française, qui s’exprimait pour la première fois devant la Commission des questions politiques spéciales et de la décolonisation (Quatrième Commission) à la soixante et onzième session de l’Assemblée générale, en octobre 2016;

4. Prend note également de la participation d’un représentant du gouvernement du territoire, pour la première fois, au séminaire régional tenu en 2017 à Kingstown (Saint-Vincent-et-les Grenadines), du 16 au 18 mai;

5. Note qu’un représentant du gouvernement du territoire a demandé, au séminaire régional des Caraïbes de 2017, que la Polynésie française soit retirée de la liste des territoires non autonomes, et prend note de la résolution no 2013-3 adoptée par l’Assemblée de la Polynésie française le 30 mai 2013, par laquelle cette dernière a retiré sa résolution de 2011 appelant à la réinscription de la Polynésie française sur la liste;

6. Souligne à cet égard que l’adoption de sa résolution 67/265 du 17 mai 2013 portant réinscription de la Polynésie française sur la liste des territoires non autonomes a été réaffirmée dans les conclusions d’une évaluation du niveau d’autonomie du territoire présentées à la Quatrième Commission le 4 octobre 2016, selon lesquelles le territoire ne remplit pas l’ensemble des critères d’autonomie;

7. Demande à la Puissance administrante de prendre pleinement part et de coopérer sans réserve aux travaux du Comité spécial chargé d’étudier la situation en ce qui concerne l’application de la Déclaration sur l’octroi de l’indépendance aux pays et aux peuples coloniaux afin d’assurer l’application des dispositions de l’alinéa e de l’Article 73 de la Charte ainsi que de la Déclaration et afin de donner au Comité spécial des avis au sujet de l’application des dispositions de l’alinéa b de l’Article 73 de la Charte relatives au développement de la capacité de la Polynésie française à s’administrer elle-même, et encourage la Puissance administrante à faciliter l’envoi de missions de visite et de missions spéciales dans le territoire;

8. Déplore que la Puissance administrante n’ait pas donné suite à la demande qui lui avait été faite de soumettre au sujet de la Polynésie française les renseignements visés à l’alinéa e de l’Article 73 de la Charte depuis que le territoire a été réinscrit sur la liste des territoires non autonomes par l’Assemblée générale en 2013;

9. Réaffirme que le Chapitre XI de la Charte fait obligation à la Puissance administrante de communiquer des renseignements sur la Polynésie française et la prie de les communiquer au Secrétaire général, comme le prescrit la Charte;

10. Exhorte la Puissance administrante à garantir la souveraineté permanente du peuple de la Polynésie française sur ses ressources naturelles, y compris les ressources marines et les minéraux sous-marins, conformément à ses résolutions sur la question;

11. Prend note du rapport du Secrétaire général sur les retombées environnementales, écologiques, sanitaires et autres des essais nucléaires pratiqués pendant 30 ans en Polynésie française[7], établi en application du paragraphe 7 de sa résolution 71/120 du 6 décembre 2016, et le prie à nouveau de continuer de lui faire part de tout fait nouveau survenu sur la question;

12. Prie la Puissance administrante d’intensifier son dialogue avec la Polynésie française afin de favoriser la mise en place rapide d’un processus d’autodétermination équitable et effectif, dans le cadre duquel seront arrêtés le calendrier et les modalités de l’adoption d’un acte d’autodétermination;

13. Prie le Comité spécial de poursuivre l’examen de la question du territoire non autonome de la Polynésie française et de lui présenter un rapport à ce sujet à sa soixante-treizième session.

[1] Documents officiels de l’Assemblée générale, soixante-douzième session, Supplément no 23 (A/72/23), chap._.
[2] A/AC.109/2017/7.
[3] Voir A/68/966-S/2014/573, annexe I.
[4] Résolution 1514 (XV).
[5] A/69/189.
[6] Loi no°2010-2 du 5 janvier 2010 relative à la reconnaissance et à l’indemnisation des victimes des essais nucléaires.
[7] A/72/74.