31 March 2012

Argentina to stock markets: Falklands oil illegal

Bloomberg Businessweek

Argentina has asked stock markets in New York and London to warn investors of its claim that five oil exploration companies are working illegally off the Falkland Islands, which Argentina contends were stolen by Britain more than a century ago.
Foreign Minister Hector Timerman announced Thursday that he had sent letters to the directors of both markets urging them to force any company involved in oil exploration near the islands to warn investors that the companies risk civil and criminal penalties in Argentina, which considers the "Islas Malvinas" to be part of its sovereign territory.
The companies are Argos Resources Ltd., Desire Petroleum PLC, Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd., Borders & Southern Petroleum PLC and Rockhopper Exploration PLC.
Islanders and Britons involved in the Falklands oil business say they have proven they can develop oil no matter what Argentina says or does.
"It's like baying at the moon. The claim isn't recognized by the people of the Falklands or the people of Britain. Investors are aware that Argentina is making noise, but it's really just noise," said John Foster, managing director of Britain's Falkland Islands Holdings PLC, which owns a minority share of Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd. "As a practical matter I don't think it will have any impact."
Rockhopper struck oil north of the islands last year, finding in its Sea Lion field what may be as much as 450 billion gallons of petroleum, and is looking for $2 billion in investment money to begin producing crude. Analysts have said that over its lifetime the field could deliver $10.5 billion in taxes and royalties to the Falkland Island government.
This year, Borders and Southern and Falkland Oil and Gas are drilling exploratory wells south and east of the islands, investing $1.3 million a day in hopes of a major discovery.
All five companies are small players in the oil industry and would need major partners to shift into production. The Argentine government has sought to keep that from happening or at least make it more expensive by barring any participating companies from doing business in Argentina and now by trying to cast doubt on the legality of the exploration.
With Argentina's warning letters, "the stock markets will be able to evaluate if they should continue handling the companies' shares, and can demand that the companies inform the markets so that current and future investors are properly informed of the legal risks" of continuing to operate on Argentina's continental shelf, Timerman said.
A spokesman for the New York Stock Exchange, Rich Adamonis, confirmed the exchange received the letter and said it had no immediate comment.
Argentina has asserted its sovereignty over the islands ever since they came firmly under British control in 1833. The two countries fought a war in 1982 that killed more than 900 people, and with April 2 marking the 30th anniversary of an Argentine military incursion, both countries have engaged in an escalating war of words over their future.
President Cristina Fernandez accused Britain again on Thursday of militarizing the conflict, and said "Argentina is always on the side of peace," even as her foreign minister tried to ratchet up political, economic and legal pressure on the islands.
The Falkland Islands are no longer the distant and declining British colony that Argentina occupied a generation ago. They are a self-governing British overseas territory, and as such their population of 3,000 will determine what happens with the oil, said Stephen Luxton, the mineral resources director for the Falkland Islands government.
"Oil provides the basis for securing our long-term future," Luxton said.
Britain, meanwhile, criticized the Peruvian government's decision this week to cancel a planned visit by a Royal Navy warship in a gesture of solidarity with Argentina in its dispute with Britain over the Falklands.
"This has been perceived by the people in the UK (United Kingdom) as an unfriendly act," the British government said in a statement released by its embassy in Peru.
See also:  

Falklands Dispute Sparks Concerns in Oil Market

Press Conference

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


After lodging protests against what he described as the United Kingdom’s militarization of the South Atlantic with the leadership of major United Nations bodies, Argentina’s Minister for Foreign Affairs called today for the start of dialogue on the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands ( Falklands).

“We have the Secretary-General supporting dialogue, the President of the General Assembly supporting dialogue, the President of the Security Council supporting dialogue, the Republic of Argentina supporting dialogue,” Foreign Minister Héctor Marcos Timerman said at a Headquarters press conference.  “So only Great Britain is missing,” he added.

Thanking several Latin American representatives in the room for their attendance, Mr. Timerman gave an overview of the presentation he had provided to the Secretary-General and the Presidents of the Security Council and General Assembly, which was augmented by visuals of British military hardware and maps.  He also reiterated his country’s commitment to regaining sovereignty over the Malvinas (Falklands), the Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas, solely by peaceful means.

Displaying a map of the South Atlantic, he pointed out the presence of British military bases on Santa Helena, the Georgia Islands, Antarctica, the Malvinas ( Falklands), among other places.  That made the United Kingdom the largest military power in the region, with control over traffic in and around it exercised from a capital 14,000 kilometres away, he said.  It was the last vestige of colonial empire, he noted, adding:  “‘Britannia rules’ only applies in the South Atlantic.”

Citing reports of a Vanguard nuclear submarine stationed in the region, he said the British Government had refused to confirm or deny them.  If it was in the vicinity, it would not be the first time, he added, recalling that, in 2003, Argentina had received intelligence information about spilled nuclear materials in the Malvinas ( Falklands).  He noted that the United Kingdom had signed on, with a reservation, to a treaty on a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Latin America.  However, it was apparently not in compliance with that instrument, unlike all the other signatories, he said.

Screening pictures of a Dauntless Type 45 destroyer, Typhoon 2 warplanes, Taurus missiles and an ultra-sophisticated communications network that he said were being deployed in the islands, the Minister stressed that such hardware outperformed all other military capabilities in the region and was of the kind recently used in Libya and the Persian Gulf.  Asking why such weaponry was needed in the region, he noted that it put Argentina, Uruguay, a large part of Chile and southern Brazil within range, adding that British aircraft had violated Argentine airspace relatively recently.

Maintaining that the United Kingdom was using an unjustified defence of self-determination as an excuse for militarizing the South Atlantic, he said it faced no threat that Argentina would restore its sovereignty over the Malvinas ( Falklands) through military means, emphasizing that its Constitution prescribed only peaceful means in pursuing that purpose.  He urged the United Kingdom to comply with the numerous General Assembly resolutions that called for both parties to sit down at the negotiating table and refrain from the militarization of the South Atlantic.  “Give peace a chance,” he said, quoting John Lennon.

In response to a question, Mr. Timerman said that the President of the Security Council had pledged to communicate his information to other Council members, and to request a meeting with representatives of the United Kingdom so that he could transmit his protest and his desire to conduct a constructive dialogue on sovereignty.  The Security Council presidency, currently held by Togo, would then communicate to him the United Kingdom’s reply and the responses of Council members.

He said the current escalation in the dispute had been prompted by recent statements by the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Defence Secretary and military officials, urging a military solution and accusing Argentina of colonialism.  If any country was colonialist it was the United Kingdom, he countered, recalling the history of the dispute between the two countries.

Asked about the self-determination of the 2,500 to 3,000 inhabitants of the islands that wished to remain British, he said that, while Argentina was a staunch defender of the right to self-determination around the world, the United Nations stated that a country’s territorial integrity could not be determined by the people inhabiting parts of it.

He went on to emphasize that the Malvinas (Falklands) fell naturally to Argentina by its location, and their population was not indigenous.  In any case, international norms stated that the interests of inhabitants, not their desires, must be taken into account, he added, comparing the situation to that of Hong Kong.  The flag currently flown by ships from the Malvinas ( Falklands) was rejected by relevant regional organizations.

Nobel laureates want negotiations over Falklands/Malvinas

Nobel laureates urge UK, Argentina to negotiate 
over Falklands (Malvinas)

By the CNN Wire Staff

London (CNN) -- Six Nobel Peace Prize laureates have urged Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron to hold talks with Argentina on the future of the Falkland Islands.

The letter, posted on the website of Argentine laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel, calls on Cameron to "review the British government's position of refusing to dialogue on this matter."

Tensions have been rising as the 30th anniversary approaches of the war between Britain and Argentina over the South Atlantic islands, which are referred to in Argentina as Las Malvinas.

Although Argentina's April 1982 invasion was unsuccessful, Buenos Aires continues to press its claim to the islands, which are home to more than 3,000 people, most of them of British descent.

The laureates' letter refers to a U.N resolution of 1965 which calls on both countries to proceed without delay with negotiations to find a "peaceful solution to the problem."

Its authors say Britain's failure to comply with the resolution and enter negotiations, its maintaining of a military base in the Falklands and its recent air and sea military maneuvers in the area are "seriously threatening peace and harmony in this part of the world."

The other laureates to sign the letter are Rigoberta Menchu of Guatemala, Mairead Maguire of Ireland, South African Desmond Tutu, U.S. national Jody Williams, and Iran's Shirin Ebadi.

But Cameron has repeatedly insisted that it is up to the people of the Falklands to determine their fate, not the British or Argentine government.

In an article published in The Times newspaper in January, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague also set out the case for the Falkland Islanders' right to self-determination, saying "only the islanders can be the masters of their future."

Hague said Argentina sought to present itself as reasonable but that recent Argentine governments had taken "a less constructive approach" in discussions on other questions, such as fishing and oil exploration.

He added: "Britain has always been open to discussions with Argentina, and that, of course, remains the case ... But we will never negotiate sovereignty without the consent of the islanders."

Last month Argentina complained to the United Nations about what it called Britain's militarization of the region.

It had already banned Falklands ships from its ports, an action joined by other South American and Caribbean nations.

The recent deployment of Prince William to the Falklands in his role as a Royal Air Force search and rescue pilot, as well as Britain's decision to send a new warship to the area, may have fueled Argentine emotions.

The Falkland Islands, which raise their own taxes but rely on the United Kingdom for defense and foreign policy, are one of 14 British Overseas Territories and have been under British rule since 1833.

30 March 2012

Native Hawaiian Leader Charles Maxwell joins the ancestors

By Gary T. Kubota
Star Advertiser

A Native Hawaiian leader who played a key role in preventing the continued exhumation of hundreds of Native Hawaiian burials at Honokahua, Maui, died Thursday afternoon.

Charles Maxwell of Pukalani, Maui, died at Maui Memorial Medical Center after a prolonged illness. He was 74.

Maxwell was a police officer for 15 years, working the beat on Maui and Molokai before retiring, and working as a Hawaiian cultural expert with his wife Nina to operate the Pukalani Hula Halau.

He was a leader of a group called Aboriginal Lands Of Hawaiian Ancestry, a group in the early 1970s that supported sovereignty for Native Hawaiians.

He also was among Hawaiians who supported the Native Hawaiian occupation of Kahoolawe in the mid-1970s, claiming religious rights to visit the island and opposing the military bombing and manuevers on the island.

The protest eventually led to the return and partial cleanup of Kahoolawe.

Maxwell was a member of the Hawaii advisory group to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, when he criticized the "desecration" and opposed the exhumation of native Hawaiian burials at Honokahua to develop the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua.

About 900 skeletal remains were exhumed before the work stopped.

Eventually, the resort agreed to stop the digging and relocated the hotel further mauka to stop the digging.

"Daddy was a fighter. He wasn't afraid of speaking what he felt and saying what was right," said his daughter Sheri Maxwell.


'Maui's going to miss him'

The Maui News
By Lila Fujimoto

From joining in one of the first demonstrations to preserve beach access at Pauwela to protesting the bombing of Kahoolawe and opposing the exhumation of Native Hawaiian burials in West Maui, Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr. was at the center of many Native Hawaiian causes and protests.

The Native Hawaiian leader and kahu was remembered Friday for his activism and cultural knowledge, as well as his engaging personality and sense of humor, as many mourned his death.

The Pukalani resident died Thursday afternoon at Maui Memorial Medical Center after a long illness. He was 74.

"He was instrumental in making sure what was done was going to be pono," said Clifford Nae'ole, who served with Maxwell for many years on the Maui/Lanai Islands Burial Council. "Things out of balance would ruffle his feathers. He would be the first to stand up and say, 'I can't just let this go. Something's got to be done. We can at least bring awareness to others.'

"From Kahoolawe to Honokahua to development up at the crater to development in Wailea, he was always aware of things going on and wanted to make sure people in Hawaii did not get lost in the semantics and get lost, period.

"He was immersed in everything, from hula and prayer, as well as activism and being a stalwart for Hawaiian causes. He was a man for all seasons, basically."

Mayor Alan Arakawa said that he was sad to hear of Maxwell's passing. "Maui's going to miss him," Arakawa said. "He tried to do a lot of good for Maui."

Like Maxwell, Arakawa grew up in the Upcountry area. Their families have long known each other, and the mayor knew Maxwell from his younger days, including when Maxwell was a Maui police officer and served on Molokai at one point.

"Charlie took himself to a point where he became a very active community person," Arakawa said. "He had a life that he could look back on and be very proud of, and I think his family would be very proud of what he would be able to accomplish."

Nae'ole said Maxwell taught him and other burial council members the "pride and honor" of returning iwi or bones to the earth.

"It's a bittersweet thing," said Nae'ole, cultural adviser at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. "It would be kind of joyous looking at ancestors and holding them. At the same time, it would be sad. They're supposed to be at rest."

In the 1980s, Maxwell helped lead the opposition to the exhumation of Native Hawaiian burials at the building site of The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, in Honokahua.

Work was eventually stopped, the exhumed remains were returned, and the burial site preserved after the developers agreed to move the hotel farther mauka.

"He was always ready to lead the charge," said Dana Naone Hall, who was on the burial council with Maxwell for many years, starting when it was informally organized and continuing when it was formally established. "He was right there all the time.

"People who have known him for a long time, and know him well, probably remember him not only for his activism but for his tremendous sense of humor. We would be in the most serious situations and he would tell some humorous story and have everybody rolling around. These stories went back to the days when he was a police officer. He had a whole quiver of stories that he would break out at different times."

Hall recalled that Maxwell was "a fabulous karaoke singer."

"He liked to sing in Japanese, which always impressed the Japanese people and his friends," Hall said.

"What we can honor is he lived a full life. He could be brash, but on the other side, he was immensely charming. We will miss him but cherish the memories of our times with him."

In the 1970s, Maxwell was among leaders of the protests over military bombing of Kahoolawe. He proposed and spent a year planning the occupation of the island on Jan. 4, 1976, when he and dozens of others set out in boats from Maalaea Harbor.

When a Coast Guard helicopter hovered overhead and warned that those who landed on Kahoolawe would have their vessels confiscated, Maxwell and most others decided to return to Maui while nine people continued on to Kahoolawe.

The movement led to the return and partial cleanup of the island.

Even earlier, in 1971 or 1972, Maxwell joined Leslie Kuloloio's family in one of the first demonstrations for beach access on Maui in the Pauwela lighthouse area.

"He helped us to continue beach access," said Kuloloio, who continued to work with Maxwell over the years, including in the reinterment of burials at Honokahua.

"There's only one Charlie Maxwell," Kuloloio said. "He gave his best, and God bless him for all he contributed on the part of Hawaiian history."

Maxwell supported sovereignty and was widely recognized as an expert in Hawaiian culture. He and his late wife, Nina, operated the Pukalani Hula Halau.

He also served as a member of the Hawaii advisory group to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

"Uncle Charlie really knew how to integrate ancient practices with modern society," said state Sen. J. Kalani English, who worked with Maxwell for many years. "That was one of the key things for him. He was able to interpret the old into how we can make it practical today."

Maxwell made sure the Hawaiian point of view was taken into consideration, English said.

Noting the recent deaths of Maxwell, Akoni Akana, Charles Kaupu and Cliff "Pali" Ahue, English said: "We have lost a lot of cultural practitioners on Maui recently."

"We just have to realize that there's a change of era happening," English said. "We're all going to miss Uncle Charlie a lot. What a contribution he made to our society."

Maxwell was cultural consultant to the Maui Ocean Center, starting in 1986, two years before it opened in Maalaea.

"What Uncle Charlie brought to Maui Ocean Center was his knowledge and understanding of the meaning of the ocean animals to the Hawaiian culture," said Kate Zolezzi, the center's general manager. "Each one of them had a name, each one of them had a use. Many of them were regarded as ancestral spirits or aumakua. He was present for the blessing of animals that were brought in, and he was present for the release of animals. He gave Hawaiian names to many of the animals.

"And he worked tirelessly with our educational staff and our curatorial staff and our visitors to impart Hawaiian cultural knowledge."

Jim Luecke, assistant curator at the center, became friends with Maxwell after moving to Maui in 2001 from the Caribbean, where sharks were clubbed to death after being caught by local residents.

On Maui, he said he was inspired by Maxwell's passion for Hawaiian culture and its respect for sharks. "It was one of the reasons I feel I've stayed here so long," Luecke said.

He and his wife were married by Maxwell in 2003.

"He was just an amazing guy," Luecke said.

Maxwell was ordained as a kahu, or minister, more than 13 years ago. In August, with his health failing, he passed the torch to a grandson, Dane Kiyoshi Uluwehiokalani Maxwell. The ordination allows a kahu to perform Hawaiian spiritual duties.

"A kahu is like a shepherd," Charles Maxwell Sr. said at the time. "It's the one they follow."

At the Maui Ocean Center, Zolezzi said Maxwell's grandson would step in as cultural consultant.

Kula resident Dick Mayer, who worked with Maxwell as Citizens Advisory Committee members on the Upcountry Community Plan in the early 1990s, said he knew Maxwell "as a community contributor and a person really interested in the betterment of Maui in general and Upcountry in particular."

"He was a big person in personality," Mayer said. "People who met him once remembered him well. He was colorful, he was engaging."

While they strongly disagreed on some issues, "it was always on the issue, never on the personality," Mayer said.

At times, he said Maxwell would change his position on issues. "He was not dogmatic about things. As he found out more, he was able to change his mind."

Although he was in a wheelchair and had his right leg amputated, Maxwell would still show up at community meetings. He had been a voice of opposition against plans for a solar telescope atop Haleakala.

Nae'ole said that when he last saw Maxwell at a recent celebration, "You could tell diabetes had taken its toll, but he was still smiling."

"Uncle Charlie is a tremendous optimist and a warrior and a strong, strong spirit," Zolezzi said. "Even though he had been hospitalized more than once recently, his spirit was always anxious to get out and get on to the next thing that interested him."

29 March 2012

Is the U.K. - Overseas Territory relationship based on mutual interests?



This address was delivered at the "50-50 Caribbean Conference: Surveying the Past, Mapping the Future," convened at the University College of the Cayman Islands, 22nd March 2012

The title of this address is laced with temptation. 

Firstly, one is tempted to make the speech short. The question posed is easily answered. “Is the UK/OT relationship based on mutual interests?”


A slightly longer version could go something like this “The relationship is based on some interests, but they are hardly mutual...”

However, I shall not be tempted, and will do justice to the invitation to speak and the fact that this is my first public address since demitting office almost two years ago. It is time.

Let me first declare that I hold no animosity toward the British or to their various agents with whom I have come into contact. In fact, the lady in whose name most of their work is done is a gracious, kind and engaging individual. I speak from firsthand knowledge because in 2009, Bermuda hosted the Queen and Prince Philip, and my wife and I spent a couple of days in their company, culminating in an elegant dinner at which we were the hosts. 

To my certain recollection, the Queen bore none of the traits of many of those who profess to be her servants in our lands across the Region.

To fully understand the nature of the relationship between the United Kingdom and the Overseas Territories, you must call to remembrance the fundamentals of the British Empire. That institution is based upon a simple belief -- the British are superior. 

To deny the existence of that belief destroys the foundational understanding of the relationship. It means that not only can you not understand them, but you cannot understand us -- the peoples of the remaining territories.
In 2012, in Bermuda and other territories, our minds are still captivated by the British and their superiority -- we "drank the tea". And, I don't know who perpetuates the myth more -- the colonizers or the colonized.

Consider: When I became leader of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party and thus Premier of Bermuda, as leaders of countries do when they land by plane in their home countries, I had the driver bring the car on the tarmac to pick me up. As a matter of practice in Bermuda, that had not been done by past premiers. Some of the colonized spoke up to say: "Who does he think he is? Let him go through Customs and Immigration like everybody else."

Yet, no one has ever questioned why our British Governors always have their cars on the tarmac when they return home, and do not go through Customs and Immigration like everybody else. But, they are superior. Unfortunately, this is in the minds of the British and in many of ours as well.

What about budget cutbacks? During these recessionary times, there has been a hue and cry all over Bermuda and other nations for leaders and public officials to voluntarily take a decrease in salary -- to lead by example. Bermuda's Parliamentarians, led by our Premier, voted themselves a pay cut this past Friday. 

Union workers have been asked to take cuts, certain public services have been reduced, a few social programs have lost funding -- but not once have I heard even a whisper that the $1.6 million annual outlay that goes to Government House should be cut back. Is there no moral obligation for the British Governor to lead by example, and volunteer to take a pay cut? Oops, I forgot. The British are superior.

On our tiny island where land is scarce, our Premier's actual residence is nice, but unspectacular. It sits in something of a 7-acre shallow glen just off of a major thoroughfare, while the Premier's official residence is a beautiful front that has entertainment, but no residential capacity. On the other hand, Government House, where the British Governor lives and entertains, is a stately, manor-like structure sitting on a 37-acre hill overlooking the North Shore, replete with a private chef and other staff. But, don't forget, they are superior.

The steady diet of British superiority has had its effect, even on the independent nations of the Region. In one such country, I marveled at a commemorative plaque, erected to mark the opening of a capital project, completed with UK aid. The citation reads in part: “The British were here, thank God”.

So the sole “mutual” element of the relationship is British superiority. No amount of Whitehall posturing about “a new relationship” and “partnership through progress” and all of the other catchy phrases used over the last decade can dilute this single truth.

In the past, I have described the relationship as unnatural. I have called it so because as an adult male, free from my mother’s skirts and my father’s correction, I can see it no other way. If nations develop and grow then there must be paths to that growth, one of which must logically and naturally include genuine self-determination.

By definition, the relationship between the UK and the OTs cannot be based on mutual interests. The assigned Governors, or overseers, are accountable to the UK and so must safeguard the UK's interests first. How is this manifested in reality? Here are some examples:

Before giving Assent to any law passed by the elected representatives of an OT, the Governor considers whether the law is okay with the UK, and in some cases, takes early advice from Whitehall on whether he should sign it. Mutual interests? I think not.

In some OTs, the Governor sits in Cabinet. Unelected, not a native, fresh from Hammersmith or Knightsbridge but he sits in Cabinet in a foreign land? Mutual interests? No! Colonialism at its best!

And then there is the “Entrustment”……. Before doing some things in the name of your people and your country, formal permission in writing is required in the form of an Entrustment. So your government's election by popular vote, and the mandate that typically brings in normal democracies, is regulated by an institution professing mutual interests but whose function in the Entrustment is to protect the interests of the UK. Mutual interests? Certainly not!

I should pause and add here that there is one example from my tenure where mutual interests did shine through. In the modern era, Governors are willing to shed the uniform. You know the one -- pith helmet, feathers, sword and such regalia. It is not commensurate with the image the UK wishes to project now. Two Governors of Bermuda have offered to shed the uniform, and we have declined their generosity. I cannot speak for my successor, but my reasons wereclear. 

The uniform is exactly symbolic of the office held and the relationship experienced. The imagery is as accurate today as it was in 1912, and the discomfort Governors have in wearing the uniform is equaled by the discomfort we endure in the unnatural relationship it represents.

Before I turn to the Uighurs, we must examine the modern manifestation of the relationship. The modern economies of the remaining OTs in this Region have been divided between tourism and international business. Our tourism fortunes have varied; by and large, we are at liberty to build what we like to house the guests we are also free to invite. In international business, there is, of course, just a little more interest. 

The global economic situation has caused a re-examination of the relationship, albeit somewhat quietly.

For a short while, the fiction of contingent liability figured in some discussions about the financial dealings within the OTs. No-one seems to have asked how, where there is no liability or responsibility, we have the specter raised of contingent liability. Imagine the UK, with all its own internal issues, and most prominently as the banana peel of European financing woes, inferring that they could and would assume some liability for what they might see as financial issues in the OTs. That would be a first.

It would be a stunning surprise, considering how former Prime Minister Gordon Brown threw Bermuda and other OT's under the bus at the G-20 meetings in April, 2009. The former Prime Minister did not see the need for Offshore Financial Centres in the global economy, referred to us as tax havens, and spearheaded the attack on many of Britain's own OT's as if Britain had no relationship with us. 

Bermuda and others were grey-listed by OECD as a result, when a benign heads-up or simple representation of our interests at the table would perhaps have given many OT's time to acquire more Tax Information Exchange Agreements and entirely avoid unnecessary grey-listing. Mutual interests? In this instance, how about no interest at all? More like, "Have we met before?"

The second part of the title of this address is “Bermuda and the Uighurs – A Case Study”. In June of 2009, I agreed to accept into Bermuda, four men who had been detained by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The decision to do so was mine alone and was based upon a number of factors. In the first instance, few opportunities exist for a 21 square mile island to secure the gratitude and respect of a friendly superpower nation. 

In no discussion on this issue was there a request for, or an offer of, any quid pro quo. There didn’t need to be. Our act of friendship alone would be sufficient demonstration to an historic Administration that Bermuda could be more than a nice place to visit or do business.

To better understand the importance of the US-Bermuda relationship, one only need read the quote of Dr. Charles Ludolph, Executive Vice-President of the Albright Stonebridge Group in his report entitled "US-Bermuda Economic Relations: Economic Impact Study 2011":

" Building its economic partnership with the United States.....Bermuda, for the first time ever, was the most important international provider of insurance services to the United States."

Secondly, and more importantly, a community of 65,000 rarely has the opportunity to set the standard in anything. The nature of the global stage is such that bold gestures can become mired in historical diplomatic minefields. Increasingly, small island states and emerging countries are not confined to the fringes of international affairs. 

Opportunities to play a meaningful role in this area must be seized by those who bear no such burdens. This is particularly so when justice and humanity cry out to be exercised.

My decision to accept these men into Bermuda was guided by the humanity of the choice presented, and the opportunity for my country to be seen as a leader not only in matters financial, but in matters humane.

The criticism around my decision was well-aired and was perhaps summarized in the views of those who claimed that I should have asked the UK’s permission to do it. I did not ask the UK's permission because I believed then, and I believe now, that constitutionally, immigration is a domestic issue. As such, allowing the immigration of four foreigners was within my power as Premier of my country in the same sense that the Government issues work permits for foreigners to live in Bermuda everyday without permission from the UK. 

It was the British themselves who portended such disputes over constitutional responsibilities years ago when the FCO, in the document "Overseas Territories: Relationship with the UK" observed the following: "More generally, we are moving into a world which is becoming ever-more interconnected, in which the distinction between domestic and foreign policy will become less and less clear."

Tangentially, I recognized then, and still do now, that any decision by the UK on this issue would not have been based on what was best for Bermuda, but against the background of the UK's historical, diplomatic stances with other nations involved in the matter. The UK would have done what was best for the UK -- not Bermuda. To connect this to the premise of this address, the relationship is not based on mutual interests. It is based on superiority. They would have figured out what was best for the UK, and handed down their opinion to us irrespective of our needs or wishes.

We can spar over the technicalities of immigration law and the ability of the Government of Bermuda to determine who comes in and who leaves the Island. We can rehearse the well-worn argument about my so-called “dictatorial” style and the lack of advance knowledge to even my Cabinet colleagues on this decision. You can go to YouTube and view the living record of the reaction of some of my people to the decision and how they chose to communicate it to the world. 

All of this would be entertaining but it would not change one important fact -- If any of you wanted to do what I did, the only way to do it is the way it was done.

I have already endured the aftermath of the decision and have been subjected to all manner of backlash as a result. In fact, it has become clear to me that some of the embarrassed British, and offended Bermudian residents who never liked me and my Government anyway, will stop at nothing. A tiny group calling themselves "Concerned Bermudians," who clearly have no concern for Bermuda at all, have invented improprieties with which they attempt to smear me, without offering a single shred of proof. 

Not content with maligning me, they seek to embroil Bermuda in a state of constitutional and economic turmoil by writing to England calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into my administration. They should know this: I have nothing to fear from a Royal Commission of Inquiry; I have nothing to hide. In fact, there are supporters who have encouraged me to call for one myself to clear my name and the name of the PLP Government.

But on this point, I actually concur with a view recently expressed by Bermuda's Governor Gozney. To send Bermuda through such an expensive and time-consuming exercise would achieve nothing. From any objective viewpoint, it would risk creating a crisis of confidence in our island at a time of international economic uncertainty, and still achieve nothing. Anyone who wishes for that has no right to claim to be a concerned Bermudian.

Say what you will about my actions in bringing the Uighurs to Bermuda. I behaved like a leader, and did what was right for Bermuda. And, again, I did it in the only way it could be done.

If you think otherwise, cast your mind back to 2007 in Bermuda. Gang violence in Bermuda was rearing its head. Gun play was rare but increasing. Gangs were forming and turf skirmishes were rising. For better or for worse, I spent decades in California where the gang culture is ingrained and the fight against it is well known and respected. When I recognized the signs in my own country, I sounded the alarm. 

The record will reflect that my call for overseas assistance went virtually unheeded. I knew then and said so at the time that this gang thing could not be allowed to grow -- that it had to be stamped out without delay.

My Government’s request went through the proper channels -- we made presentations; we urged action; we even engaged in some saber-rattling to spur the British to act. We wanted to engage the assistance of former American law enforcement personnel because gang activity in Bermuda best mirrored the American model. 

Our entreaties were given cursory attention and rejected. We were provided with the UK version of assistance, which essentially did not work. We now have a more visible gang problem in Bermuda, which might have been prevented had we been granted permission to deal with this phenomenon early.

So, were our mutual interests served in this case? Could it be that the American option we suggested was rejected because Whitehall couldn’t have a former colony fix the problems of an OT? Could it be that the mutual interests that are supposed to characterize the relationship mean that priorities are set between Government House and the FCO while the local Government struggles to be heard?

If you really want to hear something weird, listen to this. While I was Premier, someone altered cancelled checks and placed them in Government files to make it appear that a Minister and I received kickbacks on a Government job -- a clear forgery and a clear attempt to frame a sitting Premier and a Minister for crimes...perhaps to bring down the Government. The Governor announced that the local police would investigate. The local police did investigate, but supposedly could find no chargeable culprit in Bermuda; he was said to reside in Canada.

A case for Scotland Yard, or for diplomatic channels? I would think so. But our Governor did not request help from England. The criminal case against these persons who committed treason against the Bermuda Government was allowed to founder and die.

Nine months ago, after I had ceased to be Premier, a convicted perjurer made the totally unfounded claim that I had attempted to coerce from him some part of his worthless company. No shred of evidence was presented, yet the Governor announced that the local police would

investigate to see whether I had engaged in criminal acts. The Governor also later announced that he was requesting assistance from U.S. investigatory agencies, presumably the FBI.

Mutual interests that would not call in Scotland Yard to investigate a conspiracy and crimes to frame a sitting Premier and Minister?

Mutual interests where the UK would allow a criminal who committed crimes against a sitting Premier and Minister to reside peacefully in Canada without pursuit through diplomatic channels?

Mutual interests where the UK's representative would call for an investigation of a former Premier and seek assistance from the U.S. based on the rants of a known, convicted liar, but seek no help from the UK when a crime has been known to be committed against a sitting Premier, Minister and the Government of the day. Mutual interests?

I end where I started: Is the UK / OT relationship based on mutual interests? 


Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen.


Dr. Ewart Brown


Born in 1946, Dr. Ewart Frederick Brown is former Premier of Bermuda, leader of the PLP and Minister of Tourism.

He is also a physician and medical director of Bermuda Healthcare Services. Married to Wanda Henton Brown he has four sons; Kevin, born 1971; Maurice, born 1982; Ewart III, born 1988 and Donovan, born 1989.

Dr. Brown was born in Bermuda to Ewart Sr. and Helene Brown of Flatts. His mother, Helene Brown, was a UBP MP, as was his aunt, Gloria Juanita McPhee, who became Bermuda’s first female cabinet minister.

He attended the Central School [today known as Victor Scott ] until the age of 11, after which he was awarded a government scholarship to attend Berkeley Institute.

Sent by his parents to live with an aunt in Jamaica, he excelled in sports, particularly cricket and track and field, while attending St Jago High School in Spanish Town.

He eventually represented Jamaica in the 400-yard sprint and in 1966, he represented Bermuda at the Commonwealth Games competing in the 400 meters and 1600 meter relay.

Dr. Brown attended Howard University in Washington, D.C, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, lettering in football and track and field.

As a student leader, he was a vocal figure during the Washington riots, speaking alongside campus activists and Black Panther leaders such as Stokely Carmichael.

Inspired by his uncle, Dr. Bert McPhee, a practicing physician, he decided to become a doctor. He earned an M.D. from Howard’s College of Medicine, and a Master of Public Health from the University of California.

Dr. Brown acquired U.S. citizenship and opened a medical practice in 1974; the Vermont Century Medical Clinic in Los Angeles, California. He also spent time as an assistant professor at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. Dr. Brown formerly served as a physician consultant of well known civil rights leader and former Democratic US Presidential candidate Rev. Jesse Jackson.

While living in the USA, Dr. Brown received many awards including:
Physicians Recognition Award from the American Medical Association [1977]
Grassroots Health Award from the Sons of Watts California [1979]
Community Leadership Award from the Dubois Academic Institute [1982]
NAACP’s Pacesetter Award [1984]
Marcus Garvey School, Los Angeles, Humanitarian of the Year [1991]
Scroll Award from the Union of American Physicians and Dentists [1993]

At the urging of then-PLP leader Freddie Wade, Dr. Brown returned to Bermuda in 1993 and ran as a PLP candidate for one of the two Warwick West seats, facing the two incumbent UBP MPs [Quinton Edness and John Sharpe]. Brown finished only two votes behind Edness, winning Sharpe’s seat.

In the following general election in 1998 in which the PLP won, Dr. Brown again won one of the Warwick West seats and was appointed to Cabinet as the Minister of Transport.

After the General Election in July 2003, he was returned to Government as the Minister of Transport and was also appointed as the Deputy Premier of Bermuda.

On 12 October, 2006, Dr. Brown resigned from cabinet to make a second bid for leadership. At a party delegates conference on the evening of October 27th, he defeated the incumbent, Alex Scott, by 107 to 76, and became Bermuda’s 11th Premier on October 30th. When he reshuffled the cabinet, he became the Minister of Tourism and Transport, in addition to serving as Premier. He stepped down in October 2010, and has now retired from politics.

28 March 2012

Ma'ohi Nui President Extends Condolences on Passing of King of Tonga

Government of Tonga
The Ministry received a letter of condolence from the President of French Polynesia (Mr. Oscar Manutahi Temaru, conveying the condolences of the French Polynesian Government to the Hon. Lord Tu'ivakano, Prime Minister of Tonga.

22 March 2012
Dear Mr Prime Minister,
I have learned with profound sorrow of the passing away of His Majesty King Siaosi Taufa'ahau Manumataongo Tuku'aho Tupou V, on March, 2012.
I shall remember a statesman of great culture and wisdom, who devoted his whole life to the progress of his country, while keeping strong and alive the Polynesian heritage of Tonga.
King Tupou V was also a dear friend of Tahiti Nui and has always paid careful consideration to the strengthening of our bilateral relationships.
On behalf of the Government and People of Tahiti Nui, I would like to convey the members of the Royal Family, the government and people of Tonga our sincerest condolences and sympathy on this sad occasion.
With my deepest respect,
Oscar, Manutahi TEMARU
Le President
Polynesie Francaise

The attractions of Nationhood: Illusion and Reality -- Lessons from the CARICOM experience'

(This is the first in a series of papers presented at the 50-50 Caribbean Conference: Surveying the Past, Mapping the Future. The conference was convened at the University College of the Cayman Islands from 21 - 23 March 2012). 


 Sir Ronald Sanders

Sir Ronald Sanders
Sir Ronald Sanders

This paper will explore the lure of independence for the remaining non-independent territories in the Caribbean and the lessons that can be learned from the experience of other Caribbean countries particularly the member states of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM).

Speaking just a month ago on February 23rd the newly elected Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on Decolonization, Diego Morejón Pazmino of Ecuador, said that it was necessary to develop new strategies to ensure the “final disappearance of the archaic concept of colonialism”.The Chair did not elaborate on what “new strategies” should be developed to end colonialism, nor did he or any other member of the Committee indicate what might replace the present links to metropolitan powers that now exist.

Yet, these are important questions for the people of these small states to consider in determining how they should respond to the siren call for independence and nationhood, often made by political leaders within their countries.

There are 16 non-independent territories left on the United Nations list.

Of the 16, seven of them are in the Caribbean, and, of the 7, six are administered by the United Kingdom: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos. The seventh is the US Virgin Islands, administered by the United States. In almost all of these territories, a call for independence has surfaced from time to time. 

The urge for independence is often present among small and vocal groups who link their non-independent-status to slavery, exploitation and racism and who regard formal political independence as a defining end to that experience. 

The urge is understandable, but for small states – and more particularly micro-states – the practicalities of its achievement should restrain passion.

Read the full paper here.