30 December 2011


Radio New Zealand International

The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation has announced the establishment of the West Papua Decolonization Committee.

The coalition says the Committee will petition the United Nations Decolonization Committee for the re-inscription of West Papua in order for it to be granted the due process of decolonization.

Membership of the Committee will consist of the coalition’s leaders and dignitaries of Vanuatu including former Presidents and Prime Ministers.

Membership would be open to people with relevant expertise from other countries.

The coalition’s Vice Chairman, John Ondawame, says the establishment of the Committee is their response to the ongoing violence committed by Indonesian forces in Papua.

Dr. Ondawame says the violence has continued despite years of pleas by Papuans for peaceful dialogue. He has called upon the people of the Pacific and the International community to support the diplomatic effort.

29 December 2011

Bermuda political analyst critiques U.K. dependency policy

by Walton Brown

The United Kingdom government has launched a review of its relationship with its colonies, the Overseas Territories, and plans to publish a new position paper next July. In an ostensible gesture toward greater democracy the public have been invited to submit their views and concerns directly to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This invitation, though, has been framed by the UK vision for its colonies which includes strong communities, increased opportunities for the people and, importantly, territories “proudly retaining aspects of their British identity”.

It is telling that of the three elements comprising the UK vision for the OTs, retention of “British identity” is so important to Mr Cameron’s government. On the one hand, many aspects of British identity as manifested in colonies has been synonymous with either oppressive or paternalistic practices; on the other hand, British identity in the UK is evolving along with the greater diversity of its citizens.

By limiting the review to that which is consistent with its vision, the UK has demonstrated it is not seriously interested in having an honest dialogue about the future relations with its territories. In bestowing British citizenship on the OTs in 2002 after having taken it away in 1981 with the British Nationality Act, the UK has placed Bermudian, Caymanian and all other OT citizens on the same footing as the UK citizens living in London. But this right to citizenship is an individual right and does not in any way alter the UK-Bermuda relationship. This current review does not countenance any change in the structural relationship neither constitutionally closer nor farther apart. Given the rapid changes taking place globally, Britain’s own relationship with the European Union and the trend toward regional positioning, it borders on the irresponsible to avoid the question as to what the best political structure and relationship is to meet the global challenges we can all clearly see today.
Prime Minister Cameron’s government uses populist language to talk about partnerships, dialogue and consultation in preparation of the new White Paper, replacing the ironically named Partnership for Progress white paper published in 1999. But in a fundamentally unequal relationship where the UK has all the political power and the OTs have none there can be no reasonable expectation that the OTs will be treated fairly or respectfully. The 1999 White Paper set the precedent by imposing a series of unilateral decisions on the OTs and devolving power back to the UK; back then the retrograde actions by the UK were indirectly validated by the OTs since the governments all sat by passively while this occurred.

Today, the OTs have a moral and political obligation not to cede further power to the UK. Democracy needs to be enhanced, not pushed back. The seemingly innocuous language “to strengthen good governance arrangements, public financial management and economic planning” opens up a wide door of British intrusiveness. There are some in the OTs who will welcome such involvement. But consider this: the UK is in no position to credibly advise or direct us on either public finance or economic planning; the UK competes with Bermuda in our all important insurance sector; and the above matters are all currently beyond the UK constitutional remit, at least as far as Bermuda is concerned.

Britain’s vision for its colonies will not necessarily run in tandem with the interest of the OTs and their governments. As this review evolves, it is critically important for the public to be involved in this process but not solely in the way imagined by the politicians and civil servants at the FCO. We must ask if the right questions are being asked; we must challenge the parameters of discussion framed in London; and we must do so if we are to take greater responsibility for charting our own future.
Walton Brown is a social and political commentator and a Progressive Labour Party candidate for the House of Assembly.

27 December 2011

2012: ¿Estancamiento o cambio político?

(Puerto Rico) 

Debate empobrecido, acusaciones mutuas sobre quién lo hizo peor, negación a discutir los problemas de manera seria y responsable. Ese volverá a ser el panorama político de este año 2012 por comenzar. La esperanza está en el trabajo que puedan llevar a cabo las nuevas organizaciones políticas, así como las organizaciones y movimientos comunitarios.

Varios entrevistados por Claridad –profesores de Ciencias Políticas y analistas y actores del quehacer político del país, ofrecieron una apreciación poco alentadora sobre el panorama político del 2012.

Read the full article here.

26 December 2011

Former Puerto Rico Governor gives views on new referendum

Pedro Rosselló advises pro-integrationist NPP leader 

on plebiscite 

Proposes a strategy of pressure to force the U.S. to support  territory's integration. 
By Rafael R. Díaz Torres
Puerto Rico Daily Sun 
The saga of political status plebiscites continues as the majority New Progressive Party plans on organizing a fourth chapter — with the hope of finally solving the perennial problem of the relationship between the island and the United States. An old actor and former governor, who led two of the first three of these electoral events, has some advice for Gov. (Luis) Fortuño and other NPP party colleagues who insist on the value of local plebiscites as important instruments for the solution the issue of status. 

For former Gov. Pedro Rosselló, learning from past plebiscites is necessary if the Puerto Rico government wants to succeed in its effort to request political change from the U.S. Congress. The first three plebiscites were held in 1967, 1993 and 1998.

“We have had three plebiscites and from them we can learn that it should not be the political party in power [to be] the entity in charge of defining the status options for the electoral event,” said Rosselló in press conference held Tuesday after the inauguration of the library-museum built in his honor at the University of Turabo campus in Gurabo. “It was a mistake because of the disconnect that can exist between what is on the paper and what is available.”

His comments made reference to the fact that any proposal to change the type of political relationship with the United States needs to have the consent of that country’s Congress. The U.S. legislative branch controls the island’s political sovereignty after Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States after the Spanish-American War in 1898.

“We need to search for areas where we can relegate the more immediate issues (on the island) and just focus on the important political status issue,” said the former governor.

Rosselló also argued that political parties should not be the only organizations leading campaigns during plebiscites. He proposed the creation of a “critical mass” capable of forcing action and bring the political change needed to solve the political status problem in Puerto Rico.

The NPP former leader, who governed the island from 1993 until 2000, said that plebiscites are not the only instruments available to solve the political status problem. He made reference to the Tennessee Plan as a possible path to petition statehood to the U.S. Congress. Such a move, which was used by Tennessee and Alaska to gain admission into the American union, is based on the idea of cornering the federal legislative branch by electing members to Congress and fulfilling other political responsibilities essential to states. 
According to that logic, Congress would eventually have no other option, except to admit the new member as a state.

    23 December 2011

    Puerto Rico Senate President wants end to colonial condition

    Senate President Rivera Schatz wants to shame feds

    Cyber News and the Daily Sun staff 

    (Puerto Rico) Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz affirmed Monday during the plebiscite project hearings that “we need to shame” the U.S. government for keeping a colonial condition in Puerto Rico, and in the meantime Popular Democratic Party Sen. Antonio “Tony” Fas Alzamora admitted that his party does not have an official position about the vote yet.
    “I believe the people of Puerto Rico have to shame the U.S. government because there are 4 million American citizens who do not vote for the president and do not elect members to the U.S. Congress,” said Rivera Schatz.
    “It is disrespectful, a relation of domination over the American citizens who live here, and I believe we need to claim the rights that assists us,” he said.
    According to Rivera Schatz, who chairs the Special Commission on the right of self-determination of Puerto Rico — a group which has held three hearings about the plebiscitary project — “we need to intensify the battle” and urge through great pressure toward the United States in order to force them to determine the international options that would resolve the territorial state of Puerto Rico.
    Rivera Schatz also said that despite the importance of continuing to present the island’s case in international forums, the White House is the institution that should commit to solve the status problem because the U.S. government has the power to listen and “respect the electoral will of Puerto Ricans.”
    “We are tired of waiting and of this political game that both Republicans and Democrats have been leading. The owners of the island of Puerto Rico are the (U.S.) Americans,” charged the senatorial leader.
    Meanwhile, and in response to questions from Rivera Schatz, PDP Sen. Fas Alzamora — who presented in Monday’s hearing — admitted that his political party does not have an official position about the plebiscite.
    “As far as I know, there is not one, because we have not discussed it in the (PDP) governing board and I believe there have been some public protests that, depending on what is approved, the PDP would take a decision, and I would embrace my position inside the board to convince them with what I believe, in consonance with what it is approved.”
    “There has not been any discussion about status recently,” reiterated Fas Alzamora, who supports the free association for the country and even presented a compact of association to the PDP governing board.
    (Puerto Rico Governor) Fortuño surprised by Rivera Schatz’s statements
    Gov. Fortuño was surprised by the statements made on Monday by Rivera Schatz in regard to not supporting the holding of the plebiscite on the same day as the 2012 elections, even when he guaranteed that there exists an agreement about this issue. Fortuño reiterated that after a meeting with both legislative presidents, the resident commissioner and several mayors, a consensus was reached.
    “During the weekend I reviewed with the presidents of the two Houses, with the resident commissioner and with a few mayors, the whole legislative agenda, not only [about status] but also about security and others as well. When we talked about that these, we discussed different possibilities and agreed that there have been good ideas that have came from the presentations and this afternoon (Monday), we will define the language, varying the language based on what different groups have presented in the hearings. In regards to the date, we have reached a consensus,” said the first executive.
    In an informal encounter with the press, Rivera Schatz gave clues about the possible existence of an agreement to consolidate the votes. However, it seems that he does agree with it (the agreement).
    In terms of the best possible way to approach the plebiscite, Rivera Schatz has expressed his disagreement with the idea of asking the electors two questions on the same day. According to the NPP leader, not dividing the votes into two days could provoke a contradiction if most people opt to support the territorial commonwealth in the first round of the vote, and then support a decolonizing option such as statehood in the second round. 
    For the president of the Senate, those types of contradictions would not be acceptable because in order to demand action from the U.S. government, a strong and clear voice needs to be developed after the plebiscite.
    “I hope I am wrong,” said Rivera Schatz in reference to the consolidation of both votes during the day of the elections.
    “I don’t think elections should be mixed with a status vote because that approach is prone to the demagogy from political parties,” added the senatorial president, who questioned the effectiveness of the vote being held on the same day as the 2012 general elections.

    22 December 2011

    Puerto Rico status referendum would be set for Election Day 2012

    Governor: Status vote cut to one day

    By Caribbean Business Online Staff

    Gov. Luis Fortuño and legislative leaders announced late Monday amendments that would pare the proposed two-stage status plebiscite to a single ballot on Election Day next November.

    The first question would be: Do you want to maintain the current territorial status?

    The second question would ask voters to pick between three status choices: statehood, independence or free association.

    The amendment to a single day stemmed from concerns raised during public hearings on the measure.

    “The process agreed on covers the key recommendations of the White House task force,” Fortuño said in a statement issued late Monday night. 

    “It also addresses the concerns of various groups and members of all political parties who took part in the discussion fomented by the Legislature. People asked for a simple, fair and inclusive process.”

    The original plebiscite bill filed by La Fortaleza called for the first part of a two-step plebiscite to be held on Aug. 12, 2012. If a second status vote was required, it would have taken place on the same day as the general election in November 2012.

    The first referendum would have asked voters whether they want to maintain the current commonwealth status under the territorial clause of the U.S. Constitution or whether they prefer a non-territorial option.

    If more voters checked that non-territorial option, the second vote would be held giving people three status options: statehood, independence or free association.

    Earlier Monday, Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz dropped his plan to amend the plebiscite legislation to avoid holding a status vote on Election Day next November, but said Fortuno will be accountable for the results.

    Rivera Schatz opposed having a status vote on Election Day, contending the general vote and the status plebiscite are too important to be held together. Other New Progressive Party leaders have said having the status vote on Election Day could make it the target of a “punishment vote” by voters disgruntled with Fortuño.

    “The leader of the NPP is Luis Fortuño and he is assuming all of the responsibility,” Rivera Schatz said.


    Senate chief drops opposition to Election Day status vote


    Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz has dropped his plan to amend plebiscite legislation to avoid holding a status vote on Election Day next November, but said Gov. Luis Fortuno will be accountable for the results.

    Rivera Schatz opposes having a status vote on Election Day, contending the general vote and the status plebiscite are too important to be held together. Other New Progressive Party leaders have said having the status vote on Election Day could make it the target of a “punishment vote” by voters disgruntled with Fortuno.

    “The leader of the NPP is Luis Fortuno and he is assuming all of the responsibility,” Rivera Schatz said.

    The status calls for the first part of a two-step plebiscite to be held on Aug. 12, 2012. If a second status vote is required, it will take place on the same day as the general election in November 2012.

    The first referendum will ask voters whether they want to maintain the current commonwealth status under the territorial clause of the U.S. Constitution or whether they prefer a nonterritorial option.

    If more voters check that nonterritorial option, a second vote would be held giving people three status options: statehood, independence or free association.

    A vote on the bill enabling the status plebiscite is slated to be held in the Senate on Tuesday, according to NPP officials. The legislation is not expected to see significant changes, but officials are considering removing any reference to the commonwealth as a colonial status from the bill. During a Senate hearing Monday, Popular Democratic Party Sen. Antonio Fas Alzamora, a former Senate president, opposed having the second of the two-tier vote on Election Day and called for the elimination of the word “colony” from the bill.

    He suggested that the first vote should give voters the option of a territorial status that falls under the U.S. territorial clause or a permanent non-territorial status.

    He then proposed his own definition of commonwealth status for the second vote. Fas Alzamora proposed a pact of association, which he said is different from free-association.

    “Puerto Rico and the United States agree to replace the Federal Relations Law for an associated pact that is not subject to the territorial clause with permanent citizenship" in which the United States and Puerto Rico will decide "which powers will the United States keep and which powers will be delegated to Puerto Rico.”

    Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi said the two votes should be held on Election Day. “Our people should be allowed to decide if they want the current status and express their status preference,” he said.

    He insisted that the plebiscite has to be held no later than 2012. On the other hand, he also said the first of the two votes, which asks voters if they want to change the current political status, is the most important of the two votes because it could force Congress to act.

    While he did not expect commonwealth supporters to abstain from the vote, doing so could cause Congress not to take the plebiscite results seriously. In that regard, he opposed the inclusion of the world “colony” in the legislation.

    21 December 2011


    Lunes, 21 de diciembre de 2011
    El señor Presidente del Ateneo Puertorriqueño, el Dr. José Milton Soltero Ramírez y su Junta de Gobierno, anuncian a toda la Nación Puertorriqueña, que el próximo 22 de diciembre del presente año, se llevará a cabo uno de los actos de mayor trascendencia en la Historia del Ateneo Puertorriqueño.
    El día jueves, 22 de diciembre de 2011, a las doce en punto del mediodía, la Junta de Gobierno del Ateneo Puertorriqueño develará la estatua del Padre de la Patria Puertorriqueña, el Dr. Ramón Emeterio Betances, en los Jardines del Ateneo. La Estatua del Patriota que representa la lucha del pueblo puertorriqueño por la reafirmación de su espíritu de Nación, Patria e Identidad, fue creada por el escultor dominicano, José Cadaveda , y su base, en la que se leerán los Diez Mandamientos de los Hombres Libres, ha sido diseñada por el artista Antonio Martorell, en una construcción del Maestro de obras, el Sr. Josué Santos.
    El Dr. Soltero ha declarado sobre este magno evento: “Betances vuelve a su Patria, y quedará eternamente en la memoria de nuestra Nación, como el faro de los propósitos y principios que rigen al Ateneo Puertorriqueño en su trascendental y fundacional propósito de ser el vigilante, defensor y propulsor de los más caros valores de la Nación Puertorriqueña”.Ese mismo día y en ese mismo Acto, el Ateneo Puertorriqueño dedicará los actos tradicionales del izamiento de la Bandera Nacional, al preso político puertorriqueño, Oscar López Rivera, quien acaba de cumplir 31 años de encarcelamiento en las prisiones estadounidenses.
    La semblanza del Patriota Oscar López Rivera será leída por el Poeta Nacional Hamid Galib, vicepresidente del Ateneo Puertorriqueño y acompañará a la Junta de Gobierno como invitado especial, el congresista puertorriqueño Luis Gutiérrez, quien ha trabajado intensamente por la excarcelación de López Rivera.
    Calle 13, dirigido por René Pérez, recibirá del Ateneo Puertorriqueño la Medalla Ramón Emeterio Betances por su invaluable contribución a la integración de Puerto Rico a América Latina a través de sus composiciones musicales recientemente galardonadas internacionalmente. Los integrantes de Calle 13, izarán la Enseña Nacional cantando el himno nacional “La Borinqueña” de Lola Rodríguez de Tió.
    La trascendencia de estos importantes eventos es altamente significativa en momentos en que el Ateneo Puertorriqueño recibió el duro golpe de ver amenazados los fondos a los que tiene derecho por Ley para su subsistencia. Recibidos los dichos fondos, el Ateneo continúa en su inquebrantable propósito de ser el más abierto defensor de la puertorriqueñidad, de la cultura, de la libertad del pensamiento así como tribuna libre de la discusión de todo cuanto sea de importancia en la reafirmación de la Identidad Nacional.
    Los actos se transmitirán en vivo por Radio Boricua 740 am desde 12 del mediodía y por internet por:


    Most Dutch MPs favour Curaçao independence; Curacao, Sint Maarten want end to unilateral Kingdom laws

    Page10A174THE HAGUE--A majority in the Second Chamber supports independence for Curaçao. The liberal democratic VVD party, Labour Party PvdA, Socialist Party (SP) and Party for Freedom PVV considered it "good news" that the Schotte cabinet was seeking more autonomy.

    "We are most willing to cooperate, but it shouldn't cost us a dime," said Member of Parliament (MP) Ronald van Raak of the SP in Thursday's debate with Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Piet Hein Donner.

    A headline in Thursday's De Volkskrant newspaper stated that Curaçao wanting independence pleased the four large parties in Dutch Parliament. "We support Curaçao's desire for independence. Let's make it as quick as possible," said André Bosman of the VVD.

    "It was almost celebration time at the PVV. We almost got out the festive decorations and we were ready to buy cake," said Eric Lucassen of the PVV. "But unfortunately it is only empty talk from the regime in Willemstad. Curaçao will not immediately get out of the Kingdom. They only want less supervision by the Netherlands after the money has already been wired," he added.

    Curaçao Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte announced this week that he will seek cancellation of the Kingdom Consensus Law of Financial Supervision at the Kingdom Conference in The Hague next Wednesday. St. Maarten also wants to get rid of financial supervision.

    For a majority in the Dutch Parliament, no financial supervision means getting out of the Kingdom as this goes against the agreements that were made to reorganise the Antillean debt and to establish new relations in the Kingdom with effect from October 10, 2010

    Martijn van Dam of the PvdA was determined that Curaçao should leave now: "There is only one road. Independence should happen immediately and not after a few years," he said. According to Van Dam, Curaçao did not stick to any agreement, including having an independent integrity investigation and presenting a balanced budget. "You're either in or you're out."

    Van Dam added that it was not up to him to proclaim Curaçao's independence. The people will have to speak first through a referendum, he said. Bosman said the VVD supported further emancipation of Curaçao, since "truly balanced" relations are only possible when Curaçao was independent.

    Republic of Curaçao

    Bosman painted a cynical picture of an independent Curaçao. "I see it before me: the first President of the Republic of Curaçao, together with Vice-president Helmin Wiels travelling first class to the United Nations in New York where he will complain about the colonialists in the world and especially the Netherlands. 

    Schotte will speak of Curaçao's victory and how successful it became after independence. I don't want to take away that success from Curaçao," said Bosman.

    Minister Donner said that as "Kingdom Minister" he stood for "unity." On a personal note, he added: "I would consider it an impoverishment if the Caribbean islands were no longer part of the Kingdom."

    Donner said the Dutch Caribbean countries could always choose independence if they so desired. "But that is an extensive process. I don't consider it opportune or useful to take a position on this now," he said.

    The Christian Democratic Party CDA and the green left party GroenLinks did not support the stance of VVD, PvdA, PVV and SP for independence. Bas Jan van Bochove of CDA said he refused to be part of a "getting rid of them" discussion. He guessed that the majority of the Curaçao people preferred to remain in the Kingdom.

    Sharp teeth

    Ineke van Gent of GroenLinks wondered if the "showing of sharp teeth" by members of the Dutch Parliament was in the best interest of the Curaçao people. She lamented the "goodbye good riddance discussion."

    "Words are getting bigger while the situation of the Curaçao people becomes worse. I am not making the choice for independence now," said Van Gent.

    Wassila Hachchi of democrats D66 considered the discussion on integrity and good governance of the Curaçao Government more urgent. She said there was work to be done in this area and stressed the need for a proper investigation, as was recommended by the Rosenmöller integrity committee. "A solid investigation is primarily in the interest of the people there. Good governance is of fundamental importance for Curaçao's future," she said.

    Hachchi said Minister Donner seemed to downplay the Rosenmöller report by taking satisfaction in Curaçao's promise that it would have Transparency International (TI) carry out a general integrity assessment. Donner assured Parliament that he too was "concerned" about integrity in Curaçao.

    Several MP's sought clarity from Donner on the TI assessment and the fact that this analysis would not focus on individual members of the Schotte cabinet. They wanted to know to what extent the TI assessment would observe the recommendations of the Rosenmöller integrity committee.

    Parliament said they intended to keep a close eye on the announced assessment by TI. "The proof of the pudding is in the eating. What matters is what Curaçao will do with the recommendations by Transparency International," said Van Bochove (CDA).

    Credibility at stake

    Van Gent (GL) said the matter was urgent and merited Donner's active involvement. "A weak intermediate proposal to keep the peace does not serve any purpose," she said. Van Dam (PvdA) said Curaçao had to be forced. He said the credibility of the Kingdom was at stake. "We surpass the Charter if we accept this," he said.

    Van Raak (SP) and Lucassen (PVV) repeated their call for an independent investigation, preferably by the Dutch National Detectives. They said leaving the solution of integrity and good governance up to the Curaçao Government would not work. "You are making a pyromaniac chief of the fire department. This way the Kingdom can never live up to its responsibility for good governance," said Van Raak.

    Lucassen criticised the laid-back attitude of the Kingdom Council of Ministers in the matter. "A few weeks ago the Council seemed a growling tiger, ready for action. But after a make-over the Council became a lazy house cat, a Garfield who agrees with all," he said.
    He said TI could never take the place of the responsibility of the Kingdom.

    Dissatisfied with the answers by Minister Donner, Lucassen and Van Dam requested a second debate on the integrity investigation. Lucassen announced that he will consider submitting a motion during that meeting. (Suzanne Koelega)


    St. Maarten and Curacao jointly request discussion on terminating Kingdom laws

    TODAY of Sint Maarten

    Prime Minister Mike Eman, Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte and Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams stand together with the agreement they signed... at their summit in Curacao.

    WILLEMSTAD/GREAT BAY – Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams and Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte are the co-authors of the request for the Kingdom Conference on December 14 to examine the possibility of a termination date for the Consensus Kingdom Laws agreed to and established as part of the process of constitutional change. One that Wescot-Williams definitely wants reviewed is the Consensus Kingdom Law Financial Supervision.

    Wescot-Williams put this position on table during a meeting with her colleague prime ministers at a summit in Curacao on Monday. During the meeting she called the law on financial supervision an eyesore and a straightjacket.

    “We cannot discuss the future of the Kingdom if the Netherlands is not willing to talk about current problems that we face. There were a series of laws introduced at Kingdom level, and we only now see their effects in practice. So there is a strong need for evaluation. We have been busy setting up a number of institutions for checks and balances and giving content to the Kingdom Laws. This has been no easy chore for our young country. Therefore it is vital that we as partners in the kingdom take a very good look at these laws and, where necessary, terminate and/or modify them,” Wescot-Williams said.

    20 December 2011

    More protests against British Governor in Anguilla

    Special from 
    United Anguilla for Transparency
    The Valley, Anguilla

    The tiny island of Anguilla saw another protest on the defiant, controversial British appointed Governor of Anguilla. 

    The crowd began gathering before 10am and the protest culminated with a protest march on to the Governor's residence at 3pm where Governor William Alistair Harrison made the crowd wait. On hand were a number of journalist including OECS and CANA news correspondents Ras B and Keith Stonegreaves. 

    The large but civil crowd walked the entire length of the road to Government house where they were met by a number of officers from HM Police force and the closed iron gates of the Governor's compound. They sang "we shall overcome" and other folk songs as they wait for HE Governor Harrison who eventually emerged and allowed some members of the Hughes Government to enter the premises. 

    A statement was read to him and a cry by the large crowd on the outside for him to leave the island was made. Governor Harrison received the letter with a smiled and waved to the upset crowd. 

    The protesters eventually left and congregated on the main road where a rally was then held with key note speaker, the Chief Minister, Hon. Hubert Hughes spoke and express the difficulties with working with Governor Harrison including his interference with the judiciary, the House of Assembly (Parliament) his continued tampering with foreign investors, Ministerial portfolios and the transferring of key Permanent Secretaries against the wishes of the Government of Anguilla. 
    The Chief Minister appealed for the international community to come and see what is going on his this British Overseas Territory and the examine the abuses of power by the Governor who has been appointed by the UK  Foreign & Commonwealth Office since 2009. 

    While this appeal has been echoed by many on the island over the last two years, there are but few who believe anything will or can be done due to the fact that there have been three high level diplomats who have visited the island from the UK during that time and all of them has had a re-occurring theme to their addresses to the people of Anguilla, "whatever the Governor does and, whatever the Governor says, has the fullest support of Her Majesty's Government." 

    Those pronouncements have left the people with little hope but they continue to call for Governor Harrison's removal. 


    A delegation of Anguillians  delivered a petition to local MP Fiona  at the Houses of Parliament today, protesting about the Governor's recent unaccountable and undemocratic actions on the small island of Anguilla.

    The petition gathered in a few days criticises the Governor's recent actions to replace highly qualified civil servants(one with a Phd in economics) out of key financial and economic roles and replace them with individuals who do not have professional qualifications in the said portfolios. 

    MP, Fiona McTaggart, is the MP for Slough and represents the largest diaspora of Anguillians outside of Anguilla. She received the petition which will be placed on the floor of the House of Parliament. Fiona  has also recently written to the Foreign Office raising concerns over the Foreign Offices'  activity on Anguilla. 

    Speaking at the event the group's spokesperson Nat Vanterpool said "It is unacceptable for an unelected British Governor to take unilateral decisions which could have a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of Anguilllians without undertaking a proper impact assessment as they would in the UK and without referring to the democratically elected government. 

    His actions are tantamount to economic terrorism on the people of Anguilla. And we will not stand for it. The Governor is merely a civil servant and our taxes pay his wages and therefore he must recognise that he is accountable. 

    It's a disgrace that having supported the Arab Spring and people's fight for liberty in Libya, the British government supports a governor who acts and behaves like a dictator taking unilateral decisions which will have a devastating impact on all Anguillian people. 

    Like those who have fought for their human and democratic rights all over the Arab world this year. We are determined to stand up for the rights if the people of Anguilla. 

    Also see: 


    After assembling off the George Hill main road from about 10 o’clock on Tuesday morning, December 13, between 60 and 80 persons, including Government political leaders, staged a protest march at about 3.45 p.m. at the Governor's Office, at Old Ta, demanding the recall of Governor Alistair Harrison by the Foreign Office in London. 

    Read full report here.

    Kingdom partners reaffirm commitment at conference

    Daily Herald
    By Suzanne Koelega

    THE HAGUE--Twelve hours and numerous adjournments later, the four countries in the Kingdom reached an accord on further cooperation among the partners, Wednesday night. Breakthrough decisions were not taken. The issues were merely shifted to work groups that should come up with solutions before the next Kingdom Conference in Aruba, late August.

    Four work groups will be installed, with representatives of all four countries. The first work group will take an inventory of possible additional areas of cooperation in the Kingdom. This work group will also submit a proposal to establish a Kingdom Secretariat.

    A second work group will look at the "practical bottlenecks and differences of interpretation" in the Kingdom and submit recommendations how to solve this. A third work group will deal with movement within the Kingdom, focusing on the movement of persons. The fourth work group will prepare a dispute arrangement for the Kingdom.

    No work groups were needed to further look into foreign policy and the future adaptation of the Kingdom Charter. Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands and St. Maarten agreed to more freedom in foreign policy, which formally is a Kingdom (read: Dutch) affair. 

    It was agreed that Curaçao and St. Maarten would be added to Articles 58, 59 and 60 of the Kingdom Charter. These articles were added to the Charter in the past to enable Aruba to go independent, after consultation with the people via a referendum. Curaçao and St. Maarten also want to be able to make use of these articles.

    Meaningful relations

    St. Maarten Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams experienced the conference as very positive. "All partners reaffirmed that we stand for the Kingdom, that we want to cooperate and give content to meaningful relations," she said. St. Maarten presented its preliminary vision on the Kingdom paper at the conference.

    Wescot-Williams praised the fact that the partners had been able to discuss the bottlenecks in an open setting. In this sense, the Kingdom Conference provided a perfect platform for St. Maarten to bring forward its issues. Building Country St. Maarten is not an easy task, as she called it, and the island needs to be able to discuss the issues and complications that it comes across in the process.

    The good thing about the Kingdom Conference is that the individual partners can ask for an extra meeting in addition to the scheduled next conference to discuss pressing matters, said Wescot-Williams.

    Wednesday's conference, for example, provided an opportunity to discuss four issues that are important to St. Maarten: a joint vision for the Kingdom, the adaptation of the Charter's Articles 58 to 60, the financial supervision process and a greater influence in foreign policy. "We were able to openly speak," said Wescot-Williams, at the press briefing following the conference.

    Existing mechanisms

    The Kingdom Conference is an additional means to bring partners together, allowing mechanisms such as the Kingdom Council of Ministers to remain in place, stressed Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Piet Hein Donner at the press briefing. "The Kingdom Conference is primarily a mechanism to discuss the issues," he said.

    Curaçao Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte confirmed that the Kingdom Conference hadn't replaced existing structures. The media wanted to know whether the conference had dealt with a current subject of dilemma like the integrity investigation in Curaçao.

    Schotte said about that investigation: "For us it is done and over with. Maybe the media and the [Curacao-Ed.] opposition want a 10th investigation. This issue has already been dealt with amply, also in the Dutch Parliament." He said that independence for Curaçao had not been an issue at the Kingdom Conference. "We didn't come here to talk about that. We did speak about adapting Articles 58 to 60, so Curaçao can make a choice for independence if it so desires. But the mandate of the people now is not independence and that will remain so until the people decide otherwise." He referred to the Kingdom Conference as "fruitful and constructive."

    Aruba Prime Minister Mike Eman said at the press briefing that the conference had been a "great step forward" for the Kingdom. "We were worried about the eroding basis of the Kingdom. There was insufficient focus on the added value of the Kingdom. The fact that we agreed to invest, to commit to the Kingdom is a great gain. We will all constructively look at the benefits of the Kingdom, a win-win situation with our autonomous status as a point of departure."

    "We looked at a positive commitment of all partners. If we hadn't talked now, we would have faced a further disintegration of the Kingdom," added Donner. He said it was quite an achievement that parties could look back at a positive meeting, after 12 hours of discussion.

    Package deal

    In his opening remarks at the start of the conference, Donner said that the Final Accord signed in November 2006 had been a package deal. "There are always positive and negative aspects about a package deal," he said, stressing that the deal would remain in place as a whole, as originally agreed on. He stressed that the Kingdom Conference was not meant as a continuation of the Round Table Conferences that were held in the past.

    Schotte said in his opening address that Curaçao was disappointed in the country status and the conditions that had come with it. "It is conditioned autonomy and that doesn't feel good." He said Curaçao should be granted the opportunity to give maximum content to its autonomy and to use all available space that the Charter offers. He said the standpoint of his delegation at Wednesday's conference should be seen as Curaçao's desire to give maximum content to its own responsibilities as stated in the Charter.

    Donner called for stronger, more mature relations among the partners. "Let's strengthen the ties instead of making them weaker." Strong relations are also important, because the Netherlands has become a part of the Caribbean through its public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, he said.

    Donner said it was important to have a vision. "A country will be annihilated without a vision." He said the Kingdom added a dimension and served as a bridge between Europe and South America. Prerequisites are a stable political climate and a solid judicial system. "That is often not the case in the (Caribbean) region."

    Trust and good governance are also an important factor in solid relations, said Donner. He said the Netherlands preferred to make something of the Kingdom. "Diversity is power, if we make good use of it."

    Wednesday's conference was chaired by Dutch Vice-prime Minister Maxime Verhagen. It was agreed that the country hosting the Kingdom Conference would chair the meeting. That means that Mike Eman will chair the second Kingdom Conference in Aruba, late August. It was also agreed that the order of the countries in the Charter would be maintained for the hosting of the Kingdom Conferences. St. Maarten being the third country in the Charter will therefore host the fourth Kingdom Conference, after Curaçao