31 May 2012

United Nations begins Pacific Decolonisation seminar in Quito

31 May 2012
General Assembly

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

Secretary-General, in Message to Pacific Regional Seminar on Decolonization

Set to Examine ‘Current Realities and Prospects’, Urges Genuine Discussion

(Received from a UN Information Officer.)

QUITO, ECUADOR, 30 May — In a message to the Pacific Regional Seminar on the Implementation of the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraged participants to promote genuine communication at all levels, formal and informal, in which interlocutors are genuinely listened to and heard, on a case-by-case-basis.

The three-day seminar, held under the theme of “Current Realities and Prospects,” convened in Quito, Ecuador, provides an opportunity to representatives of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to share their concerns with the United Nations Special Committee on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.  Civil society, non-governmental organizations and experts also typically take the floor to convey their views on the way forward for the decolonization process.

Ambassador Diego Morejón-Pazmiño, Chair of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization (Special Committee), extended his sincere thanks to the Government and people of Ecuador for hosting the seminar.

The central and primary task of the Special Committee was to reduce the list of Non-Self Governing Territories to zero to avoid the spectre of “colonialism in perpetuity”, he said in his opening remarks.  He encouraged everyone “to engage in a fruitful and constructive dialogue in the following days, bearing in mind the responsibility we have to contribute to finding the solutions required in addressing the current realities and prospects proper to the decolonization process”.

The Third Decade should not be a “lost decade”, he said.  Efforts needed to concentrate on tangible results, with a proactive and focused approach, as repeated many times on different occasions and venues.


Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño, Ecuador, opened the Pacific Regional Seminar and welcomed the participants, stating that “it seems impossible that until today we are still discussing colonized and excluded peoples”.  Conditions must be created so that the countries administering non-autonomous Territories accepted that their administrative role was provisional.

At the same time, he said, “decolonization policies” would not suffice if those were implemented by the administering Powers, who continued to exert control in the Territories through alliances with the local influential sectors.  Today’s influence was exerted through political and economic means.  For that reason, the relationship between the administering Powers and the Special Committee must change. 

He said that today’s seminar must have a critical view.  It was no longer possible to continue discussing “administering Powers,” “Member States”, and “international community” as if each one had different interests.  The international community’s ultimate interest was to decolonize the 16 non-autonomous Territories of the world.

The United Nations General Assembly had requested the Special Committee to elaborate jointly with the administering Powers and the non-autonomous Territories a programme of work to examine the problems of decolonization on a case-by-case basis, said the Foreign Minister.  In the case of “Malvinas”, he said:  “We have always defended Argentina’s claim over Malvinas.  Today we reiterate our commitment”.  

[A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) (see document ST/CS/ SER.A/42).]

In the case of Puerto Rico, the people’s voices, which would be heard in the referendum slated for next November, would be important.  Even though Guantanamo was not included in the list of Territories, it was worse than a colony, he said, calling it “a military base and a United States prison for terrorists”.  The Foreign Minister concluded by stating that the words of the non-autonomous Territories were more “revealing and powerful” than the words of the administering Powers.

Mr. Morejón-Pazmiño, Special Committee Chair, pointed out the importance of concrete proposals pertaining to the Plan of Action for the Third International Decade and a renewed and focused dialogue with the administering Powers.  With regard to the current cross-cutting issues faced by the Territories, Ambassador Morejón-Pazmiño noted that the approaching United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development underlined the continuing concern over the impact of climate change on the Non-Self-Governing Territories under the purview of the Special Committee.  Small island States and Non-Self-Governing Territories were impacted by negative socio-economic and environmental factors.  Undoubtedly, all the Territories were on the front line of the battle to mitigate the impact of climate change, a reality that added more importance to the work of the Special Committee in light of the upcoming Rio+20 Conference, which would coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, he said.

The Ambassador highlighted the responsibility of the United Nations system for the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories.  He concluded by appealing for renewed impetus, while noting that it was time to give a tangible form to the pragmatic and realistic approaches that might be found through frank discussions and formal and informal dialogue at the 2012 seminar.

Current Realities and Prospects in the Pacific Region

TOETASI FUE TUITELELEPAGA, Representative of the Governor of American Samoa, said that in the past the Special Committee had been asked to remove American Samoa from the list of colonized Territories.  He further stated that “while we do not advocate a change in our position of removal from the list of colonized States, American Samoa must continue to progress politically and economically, while respecting the concerns of the United States and the United Nations”.

He stressed that one of the most challenging issues the Territory had to deal with in the relationship with the United Sates was the lack of understanding for American Samoa’s unique circumstances and characteristics.  He also stated that “a more structured approach to determine the will of the people would be better implemented and carried out over the future if there were a detailed work plan on how best to gauge the people’s will on political status”.

LISA NATIVIDAD, Representative of the Governor of Guam, said that in 2010, Governor Eddie Calvo had convened a committee to address Guam’s political status.  In 2011, the Governor had convened a public forum on the self-determination of the Chamorro people of Guam to asses the state of the issue and to ignite public comment and thought.  The Guam Commission on Decolonization was centred on setting a plebiscite date for the Chamorro self-determination vote and identifying the resources to fund a crucial education campaign to inform the community of the political status issue, but Guam still had not received any financial support for that effort, she said. Ms. Natividad indicated that the price tag for such a campaign engaging all forms of mainstream media was estimated at approximately $1 million.  To date, funds from the Department of Interior had not been made available.  Owing to current fiscal problems, Guam was not in the position to commit its financial resources to carrying out the necessary public education campaign.

The limitations of Guam’s colonial status had resulted in a cumulative state where the Chamorro people were so restricted that “our survival as a people in our native land is threatened”, said Ms. Natividad, adding that, “these are the current realities of Guam”.

EDWARD P. WOLFERS, an expert on the Pacific region, where almost one third (five) of the 16 remaining Territories under the Special Committee’s purview were located, presented a discussion paper on the context, issues and possible options for the Third International Decade.  He stated that decolonization, as understood and promoted by the United Nations, extended beyond the right to self-determination and the transfer of power to embrace other aspects of human and social development, including economic and cultural aspects.  He discussed some possible options for the Third International Decade, acknowledging the need to clarify, refine and possibly re-define the options available as outcomes of decolonization.  It was important, he noted, that the Special Committee consider the issue and decide whether to recommend that the General Assembly formulate a fresh and integrated resolution on the matter.

ED ALVAREZ, expert on Guam, presented an update on the public education efforts of the Guam Commission on Decolonization, recalling that the challenge was to keep the momentum going while simultaneously developing a public education programme.  “We are at the stage where the funding for the educational programme is our priority,” he said, adding that “we all know it is very expensive and we feel comfortable stating that our programme will cost about $1 million”.  He requested the Special Committee’s assistance in helping Guam attain the funds or technical assistance necessary to educate the people of Guam.

The Territory had also begun aggressive efforts to populate the decolonization registry as required by public law.  “We have doubled the number of Chamorro registered and have further enhanced our ability to more expediently register those who are left.  There are now 79 certified registrars as compared to only 10 years ago,” he added. 

He added that Guam was part of the United States.  By virtue of that, the United States was part of Guam.  He said the American Government had, for the most part, treated Chamorros and Guamanians with respect and dignity.

SARIM JACQUES BOENGKIN, New Caledonia, said the situation of New Caledonia could be seen as a great challenge for the international community.  New Caledonia “has a rendezvous with elections that could lead to independence” for the Territory.  According to him, three areas of rights offered the principles and practices that would allow the international community to succeed in one of its most laudable goals, the eradication of colonialism.

He went on to say that the Nouméa Accord provided for the Congress of New Caledonia to conduct as many as three referendums on whether the Territory should assume the final sovereign powers and become fully independent.  That accord committed France to conduct the referendum.  He put forward the question of whether the administering Power could in fact conduct the referendum and whether it would be acceptable to the international community for the administering Power to organize and conduct the self-determination referendum for New Caledonia.

Mr. Boengkin informed the seminar about the communication he recently had sent to the newly appointed Minister for Overseas Territories and Departments to ask what education programmes were in place for the concerned population of New Caledonia, in order to prepare them to exercise their right to self-determination.

Current Realities and Prospects in the Caribbean Region

JOSEPHINE GUMBS–CONNOR, Anguilla, said that Anguilla was the last remaining Territory of the United Kingdom to engage in its constitutional advancement process.  The people of Anguilla would surely be considering a comprehensive overhaul of the principles in the current Constitution, in particular, a serious reduction in the powers of the Governor.

“The people of Anguilla see ourselves on a direct collision course with the administering Power since, in the view of our People, they have seen the worst manifestation of true colonialism sanctioned by the British Government through their current Representative against the current elected Government.  Again, although there is no official poll, there is the appearance that our people are leaning increasingly towards independence,” she declared.

Anguilla had witnessed the greatest form of retrogression and had been thrown deeper in the arms of colonialism, against the spirit of the resolution 1514 (XV).  She regretted that the “administering Power is not mobilizing us to embrace the concept of independence through more positive mechanisms”.  Two primary factors had spurred Anguilla’s consideration of independence:  the actions of the Governor towards the elected representatives of the current administration and the indication from the Administering Power that there could be no change to the fundamental structure of the relationship. 

She further referred to “examples of the actions of the Representative of the administering Power, which we feel are contrary to the interests of us as a people, and contrary to the very statements of the standards which the administering Power says they embrace”.

Mrs. Gumbs-Connor added that “the people of Anguilla are concerned that they are being denied the full range of options open to us as part of the decolonization process”.

KIM WILSON, speaking on behalf of the Government of Bermuda, pointed out Bermuda’s unique circumstances and recalled that, in 1997, Bermuda, by default, had become the oldest and the numerically largest of the 14 remaining non-independent Territories of the former British Empire.  Regarding good governance and preparation of the Bermudian people for the eventuality of independence, the Territory’s Government has done much in that regard, based on lessons learnt from Bermuda’s 1995 referendum.  Referring to a 2005 report of the Bermuda Independence Commission, the speaker outlined the critical insight provided by the aforementioned report into what informed public sentiment about independence.  

The recently tabled Referendum Act 2012 outlined more generally comprehensive measures for conducting referendums in Bermuda, he said.  In the meantime, he added, Bermuda’s Government had turned its attention to the most immediately pressing needs of the people.  He also recalled the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, changing the Territory’s designation.  In that regard, he stressed that “a move towards independence would confront the people of Bermuda with the issue of relinquishing or retaining their newly acquired British citizenship”.  

He stated that Bermuda’s circumstances as related to the issue of independence were unique as were the Special Committee’s challenges in that regard.  Bermuda had been afforded the benefit of a time-tested constitution providing a semi-autonomous internal Government.  He further expressed that “while the dream of independence persists, if temporarily deferred, the Government’s present cue from the people is that such a pursuit is not a current top priority”.  Concluding, he said ”we look forward to one day ultimately sitting at the table with the other nations of the world as a confident, economically prosperous, politically stable, still beautiful and independent Bermuda”.

DELORES CHRISTOPHER, British Virgin Islands, stated that the British Virgin Islands “is an internally self-governing Territory administered with the United Kingdom”.  She recalled that the Constitutional Commissioners 2005 report had concluded that independence was not desired by the people of the Territory.  She also mentioned the future publication of a new white paper, which would outline the parameters of a “BVI-UK” relationship for the foreseeable future.

In concluding, she said the position of the Virgin Islands at present was to maintain its current relationship with the United Kingdom, built on mutual respect and a mature partnership.  She said that was “but an interim position as the Territory continues to grow and generations of Virgin Islanders attain higher levels of education”.

REUBEN T. MEADE, Montserrat, referring to the 2010 Constitution, said it was “not a perfect document, but we must use its provisions to consolidate the gains provided therein.  We must continue to determine a way forward over time.  We must, however, not lose sight of the focus on development rather than on our relationship with the United Kingdom”.

He expressed that there was no public interest whatsoever in separation from the United Kingdom.  The continued relationship was made by free choice.  The provision for separation from the United Kingdom no longer required a fight; it was a simple matter of the electorate, making that choice in a plebiscite.  No local politician or political group or party in recent times had been bold enough to put that request for independence before the electorate, he added.

Montserrat was a fully internally self-governing Territory, Mr. Reuben said, adding that “we pass our own laws, we make our own decisions, we make our own monetary policies as part of the OECS [Organization of Eastern Caribbean States] Monetary Union.  We have full citizenship rights in the United Kingdom with all of its attendant benefits”.

He also stated that “we no longer see ourselves as being a colonized people on the basis of the seven elements of the 947th United Nations Plenary of 14 December 1960.  It is therefore my recommendation that this United Nations Decolonisation Committee remove Montserrat from their list of non-self governing countries within their Decolonization discussions.”   He concluded by saying, “I am also certain that the United Kingdom supports our stance.”


Wilma Reveron-Collazo, expert from Puerto Rico, discussed three main issues, including the removal of Territories from the list, the nature of resolution 1514 (XV) and the conducting of referendums in the Territories.

Territories removed from the Special Committee’s list were left in a “juridical limbo,” she said.  Puerto Rico had been removed from the list of Territories in 1953, following a United Nations resolution in which the United States committed to address future claims by the Territory.  However, today, Puerto Rico’s main challenge was the lack of a mechanism within the United Nations General Assembly to demand the implementation of the United States commitments.  

With regard to a proposal by Joseph Joe Bossano ( Gibraltar) on integrating all the resolutions on decolonization, she noted that resolution 1514 (XV) represented the “imperative and obligatory right” of all Member States on the issue of self-determination.

On the issue of referendums, Ms. Reveron-Collazo stressed the importance of conducting education programmes prior to holding electoral consultations on self-determination.  She called on the United Nations for the provision of technical assistance and advice on those processes.  In the case of Puerto Rico, which would be holding a referendum in November, there had not been a proper preparation or implementation of education programmes.    

Joseph Joe Bossano, Gibraltar, suggested that the Committee monitor processes of constitutional reforms, including reports by the administering Powers on how ready the Territory would be to govern itself.  There was a need for an analysis on a case-by-case basis.  Independence was by definition a one-way ticket.  At the same time, 16 Territories were entitled to associate freely.

30 May 2012

'Lost' British Colonial Papers made public by the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Lost' files detailing colonial crimes made public - 

ITV News

'Lost' colonial papers made public
The Independent 

The Foreign Office has finally made public the first batch of  thousands of "lost" colonial era files believed to have been destroyed.

The documents, which were secretly sent back to the UK when former colonies became independent, shed new light on how British officials ran overseas territories including Kenya, Cyprus and present-day Malaysia.

They also record how colonial administrators planned to burn other classified papers - potentially revealing abuses committed under British rule - before handing power to the new indigenous governments.

The Foreign Office only admitted last year that it held some 8,800 files at Hanslope Park in Buckinghamshire which were "migrated" to Britain from colonies at the time of independence because of their sensitivity.

More than 1,200 of these records were released today at the National Archives in Kew, west London, the first of six tranches in a process due to be completed by November 2013.

A memo in the Kenyan files dated May 1961 sets out the criteria under which papers were to be "migrated".

Then-colonial secretary Iain Macleod said the aim was to ensure no files were passed to a post-independence regime which "a) might embarrass HMG (Her Majesty's Government in Britain) or other governments; b) might embarrass members of the police, military forces, public servants or others eg police informers; c) might compromise sources of intelligence information; d) might be used unethically by ministers in the successor Government."

Dr Edward Hampshire, diplomatic and colonial records specialist at the National Archives, said these guidelines were interpreted "very liberally indeed" by the different colonial administrations, with one even retaining the personnel files for people working as drivers.

Kenyan ministry of defence files state that British officials were told to divide all documents into the categories of "legacy" material, which could be left behind, and "watch" material, which could not.

One memo dated April 1961 - two years before Kenyan independence - noted: "The aim will be to ensure that as much material as possible is left for the unimpaired functioning of the succeeding independent government, and for the proper recording of the past...

"'Watch' material can only be seen by 'authorised' officers. An 'authorised' officer is defined in the draft as a servant of the Kenya government who is a British subject of European descent, and who has been security cleared to see classified documents."

It added: "To obviate a too laborious scrutiny of 'dead' files, emphasis is placed on destruction - a vast amount of paper in the Ministry of Defence secret registry and classified archives could be burnt without loss, and I should be surprised if the same does not apply to the CS's (chief secretary's) Office."

A detailed document explaining how to decide which files should be given "watch" designation added: "There is undoubtedly much old classified material in many offices which is never used, even for reference, and which has no historical significance: this should be burnt by an 'authorised' officer in person."

It stressed that the "very existence" of "watch" material should never be revealed, and advised that officials might need to change page numbers in files to disguise the removal of sensitive papers.

There are similar references to the destruction of classified material in the files relating to Malaya, which became independent in 1957 and joined with three other states to form Malaysia in 1963.

In July 1956, the private secretary to British high commissioner Sir Donald MacGillivray raised the question of what should be done with old papers.

He wrote: "I have been through them and it would seem that some contain items of historical interest in the event of anyone writing a history of the Emergency (the 1948-1960 conflict with communist guerillas) or biography of former high commissioners.

"The others should be dealt with in detail, but I have not time to do this. Would you agree to their disposal as suggested against individual files in the list."

A separate appendix listing the material proposed for destruction includes documents relating to a visit to Malaya by the Duchess of Kent and "law and order" files covering intelligence, the internal security committee and situation reports.

It is not known what happened to these papers, but archivists who have gone through the Malaya files say there are only limited references to the alleged Batang Kali massacre of December 1948, when British troops shot dead 24 unarmed rubber plantation workers.

The "migrated" archives came to light in January last year after four elderly Kenyans brought a High Court case against the UK Government over the alleged torture of Kenyan Mau Mau rebels in British camps in the 1950s.

Only a third of the Kenyan files were released today, but they contain detailed bureaucratic accounts of the policy of seizing the livestock of people suspected of aiding the Mau Mau insurgency.

On January 5 1955 a British district commissioner seized a total of 30 sheep from four members of the Kikuyu tribe who worked on the farm of a Mr SJO Armstrong in the Naivasha district of Rift Valley Province.

A short file on the case reveals that these were all the animals they owned. The action was prompted by suspicions that they had "harboured and fed" a 40-strong Mau Mau gang for a fortnight.

In a line expressing the frustration, and perhaps vindictiveness, of the UK colonial administrators, an official wrote: "Owing to the fact that the Kikuyu labour was totally unco-operative and showed no signs of assisting security forces, native stock was seized."

Tony Badger, a Cambridge University history professor who has been appointed by the Foreign Office as an independent reviewer of the archive's release, acknowledged that there was a "legacy of suspicion" about the documents among journalists and academics.

But he stressed that so far no files have been withheld from release at the National Archives, and significantly less than 1% of the content has been redacted.

29 May 2012

Isle of Man offficials offer training to several British dependencies on tax information exchange obligations

Officers’ taxation training trip to Montserrat 

Two government officers travelled to the Caribbean to deliver training workshops to help the governments of Montserrat and Anguilla fulfil their international obligations on tax information exchange.
The Isle of Man Government is championing the four-day course in Montserrat as a further demonstration of its commitment to international transparency and information exchange standards.
The British Overseas Territories are entering into Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) with other countries to meet evolving international standards in a new era of transparency championed by the OECD/.
Funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, David Griffin, a legal officer at the Attorney General’s Chambers, and Colin Goodwin, deputy assessor of income tax, spoke to a group of tax, legal and financial officers from the two islands.
It covered assessing the validity of incoming TIEA and mutual legal assistance requests, managing the exchange process, and handling appeals and challenges.
Mr Griffin said: ‘The Isle of Man is one of the few countries in the world that offers bespoke training around TIEAs and mutual legal assistance.
‘We are regarded as a world leader in this field, and Colin and I have previously conducted workshops for the Nordic countries. We had a very enthusiastic response from the participants in Montserrat and the feedback received shows the event was a great success.’
The Isle of Man was involved in the OECD subgroup which developed the 2002 OECD model tax information exchange agreement. Since then it has signed 25 TIEAs and four double taxation agreements.
The OECD recently confirmed that the island is one of eight reviewed jurisdictions found to have all elements of effective information exchange in place.

24 May 2012

Caribbean Rum facing threat in the United States

By Sir Ronald Sanders 
(The writer is a former Caribbean representative to the World Trade Organization)
Rum-producing countries of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) may have to take the US to arbitration at the World Trade Organization (WTO), unless diplomatic efforts settle a looming problem before it concretises.

At stake is rum production in several CARICOM countries together with the foreign exchange earnings and employment that it generates.

The problem has not arisen out of direct action by the US government. It has originated in the US Virgin Islands (USVI) and Puerto Rico both of which have been long-time rum producers in competition with CARICOM manufacturers. But, now, these two US affiliates are taking advantage of US government refunds to them, of excise taxes on rum, to subsidize vastly increased rum production and marketing in their territories. The huge increase in rum exports to the US mainland, at a subsidized cost, would squeeze-out CARICOM rums; and subsidized marketing would make it virtually impossible to compete.

Read full article here

22 May 2012

Virgin Islands Premier discusses financial management agreement with British




Thursday 10 May, 2012

Madame Speaker, I would like to make a statement about the financial management of the British Virgin Islands.

As Honourable Members know, just two weeks ago on 23rd April we signed with Mr. Henry Bellingham, the United Kingdom Minister for the Overseas Territories, our Protocols for Effective Financial Management. This important agreement will help to set the Virgin Islands’ finances on a steady course for the future. Madam Speaker, I would like to take a few minutes to set out why I trust that the full Houses will welcome the Protocols and lend them their full support.

This excellent document illustrates a clear commitment by the Virgin Islands to manage our finances in a modern, transparent and planned way. It commits us to effective medium-term planning and to transparency; to more accurate measurement and reporting of our fiscal and economic data, to better value for money and to more effective management of risk.

Madam Speaker, there is an old saying that runs, “If you do not know where you are going, any road gets you there”. That is no way to run a Government. It cannot be the way of the BVI.

This document commits our Virgin Islands not only to thinking clearly about the goals we want to reach but to planning carefully how to attain these goals. Only through effective planning can we be sure we are using all our resources sensibly and in the most effective and efficient manner possible. In future, therefore, the Virgin Islands will include planning for the future as an integral part of how it operates. We will use recognised and accepted methods to make projections, and we will use those projections to investigate, develop and modify national policy.

Madam Speaker, the document also sets out the Government’s commitment to transparency. Not only will the Government take decisions transparently but it will also report regularly on its activities to the House of Assembly. Reporting will move beyond annual updates to include statements on our finances and our economy as well as other policy areas. This transparent approach will reassure Honourable Members, voters and investors alike that we are taking sensible, well planned measures for the advancement of our Territory.

Madam Speaker, in planning for the future, we need a good understanding of the situation as it stands now. This in turn depends on having trustworthy data. Another commitment within this document, therefore, is for the development of quantitative data that will give the Government a clear and objective picture not just of our fiscal situation but also of our economic position. This will lead to better-grounded policy development and better outcomes for the people of the Virgin Islands.

Madam Speaker, I am sure that all Honourable Members agree that every penny which our Government spends must be spent wisely. We must seek to maximize our resources as a matter of course. I am pleased to tell you, therefore, that the Protocols sets out the steps our Government will observe when procuring goods and services. In future, the Virgin Islands will act in line with international best practice in public procurement. As a result, the people of our Territory will gain renewed confidence that the purchasing decisions made by the Government are prudent and necessary and ensure best value for money. A further welcome aspect of the document before us today concerns the management of risk. Risk management is a fundamental aspect of good financial management.

In future, the Government of the Virgin Islands will ensure, first, that it keeps itself fully abreast of the nature and size of the fiscal risks it faces and, second, that it sets in place mechanisms to manage these risks prudently. Finally, to ensure the proper carrying out of the provisions of this agreement, the Public Finance Management Act will be strengthened. Madam Speaker, I trust that Honourable Members will welcome this agreement. It expresses a firm commitment by the Virgin Islands to observe the highest standards of governance, transparency and accountability to the people to whom we have dedicated ourselves publicly to serve.

It is my Government’s firm belief that any nation or Territory must be managed not just with imagination and creativity but also with rigour, prudence and transparency. Only in this way can we be sure to develop and implement policies that serve the best interest of all our people. And only in this way can we inspire confidence not just from our people here at home but from those overseas whose support we need and want.

The Protocols for Effective Financial Management give us an essential tool for the future. They reflect my Government’s determination to help this Territory step up a gear and to ensure that we continue to punch above our weight in an increasingly sophisticated and complex world. If our Virgin Islands are to evolve and advance, we must evolve and advance the systems we operate by. This is my Government’s philosophy.

With these Protocols, I am delighted to have the full support of the United Kingdom in putting this philosophy into practice. The Protocols are quite different from the original Framework for Fiscal Responsibility that was considered by the previous Government. The requirement to send our budget to the United Kingdom for approval is now a thing of the past.

The document before you is clear evidence of a more mature relationship between the Government of the Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom, one based on mutual understanding and respect. In short, the Protocols will play a vital role in helping us to establish where we want to go as a Territory and in choosing the right road to get there. They will equip the Virgin Islands to thrive in the national, regional and global environment. They will strengthen our ability to be responsible stewards of our own destiny. Madam Speaker, I commend the Protocols for Effective Financial Management to the House. Thank you.

17 May 2012

Victorin Lurel, homme fort de la gauche en Guadeloupe et M. Outre-mer au PS

PARIS, 16 mai 2012, 19:50:10 (AFP) 

Victorin Lurel, 60 ans, nommé mercredi ministre des Outre-mer du gouvernement Ayrault, est l’homme fort de la gauche en Guadeloupe dont il est député et président de région tout en étant, depuis sept ans, le spécialiste de l’Outre-mer du PS.

M. Lurel, qui avait été le responsable et le porte-parole pour l’Outre-mer de la campagne présidentielle de Ségolène Royal en 2007, a repris cette casquette en 2012 pour François Hollande, pour qui il s’était prononcé dès la primaire. Les scores du candidat PS ont été historiques en Outre-mer, notamment aux Antilles et à la Réunion.

Militant socialiste depuis toujours, M. Lurel est reconnu pour sa maîtrise des dossiers et une grande habileté politique, qui lui a notamment permis d’emporter les régionales en 2004, battant l’inamovible Lucette Michaux-Chevry, la mère de la ministre de l’Outre-mer de Nicolas Sarkozy, Marie-Luce Penchard.

Né le 20 août 1951 à Vieux-Habitants (Guadeloupe), une commune rurale de 7.600 habitants, 3e d’une fratrie de 12 enfants dans une famille pauvre de petits paysans, M. Lurel trouve sa voie dans les études.

Après un bac d’économie passé sur son île natale, il s’envole pour Paris : un DEA d’économie à Paris-II, puis Science-Po où naît son engagement politique.

De retour en Guadeloupe en 1981, administrateur civil, il devient directeur de la Chambre d’agriculture —un domaine qui le passionne toujours—, puis s’investit dans la vie de Vieux-Habitants dont il devient conseiller municipal d’opposition en 1989. Il devient conseiller régional en 1992, conseiller général en 1994.

Sa carrière prend son essor : en 2001, il gagne de justesse la mairie de sa commune. Député constamment réélu depuis 2002, il est vice-président du groupe Socialiste, radical et citoyen à l’Assemblée nationale et a été secrétaire national du PS à l’Outre-mer de 2005 à 2008.

Marié et père d’un fils, cet "hyperactif" se représentera dans la 3e circonscription de la Guadeloupe face à Mme Penchard, même nommé ministre.

Guadeloupe’s Lurel Hails Hollande Win

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Victorin Lurel, the current head of the Regional council of Guadeloupe, is hailing the victory of Francois Hollande in the French presidential election.

Lurel, who ws also the head of the overseas division of Hollande’s campaign, called it an “historic vote of confidence.”

According to a statement by Lurel, five of the 10 best poll showings for the incoming French president came overseas.

“In Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Reunion, St Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna, but also St Martin, voters sent a message of hope,” Lurel said.

The regional council head said Hollande would “be attentive to the concerns of all overseas territories,” including those where Sarkozy came ahead.

Those territories included St Barthelemy, Mayotte, New Caledonia and French Polynesia, according to Lurel.

Lurel has led Guadeloupe’s Regional Council since 2004.

16 May 2012

Spain issues formal complaint over Prince Edward Gibraltar visit

The Spanish Foreign Office expressed its "upset and concern" over the planned visit to the Rock, a British territory that sits at the foot of Spain's southwestern corner, to Giles Paxman, the British Ambassador to Madrid.

The subject was raised during a recent scheduled meeting with the British diplomat and Santiago Cabanas Ansorena, Spain's foreign policy director.

The Royal visit is scheduled for June 11-13 when Prince Edward and his wife will take part in a series of events to mark the Queen's 60 years on the throne.

The complaint follows the usual stance taken by Spanish authorities over such visits. In 2009, similar protests were made over a visit by Princess Anne to the British Overseas Territory.

When the Prince of Wales visited Madrid on an official visit in April last year, the Spanish heir to the throne raised the centuries old dispute and urged for a solution to be found.

Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht but has long argued that it should be returned to Spanish sovereignty.

The Rock, which boasts a Marks and Spencer, traditional English pubs, bobbies on the beat and red telephone boxes, is home to 28,000 Gibraltarians, who in a 2002 referendum overwhelmingly rejected a deal to share sovereignty between the two nations and demanded to remain a part of Britain.

Spain is arguably not so upset about the forthcoming visit that they have asked Queen Sofia to refuse an invitation to lunch with Queen Elizabeth at an event to mark the jubilee at Windsor Castle next week.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia refused to attend the 1981 wedding of the Prince of Wales and Diana in protest that the couple had elected to begin their honeymoon with a visit to Gibraltar.

15 May 2012

Sarkozy, Africa and the decision of the French electorate

We are very grateful to the people of France for doing the right thing and voting out war monger Nikolas Sarkozy.

Africa is a much safer place without this war monger. Thinking himself the re-incarnation of Napoleon Bonaparte, he advocated a most destructive militarism that has singularly created havoc throughout Africa. The United States Administration allowed this blood-thirsty Frenchman to take the lead in Africa policy, as if France never had a vested interest given its history of colonial rule and its continued exploitation of so-called Francophone African countries; several West African countries whose currency is pegged to the French Franc.

Under the pretense of securing democracy in Africa, the Frenchman might have been, in his mind, actually exacting vengeance because African countries had the temerity to throw out French colonials in the 1960s. Some continue fighting to disentangle their economies from the fading empire's. 

In the Ivory Coast, Bonaparte intervened militarily in an internal election stalemate to install a pro-Western former IMF official, Alasanne Quatarra, after disputed elections. Rather than insist on a recount and verification Sarkozy decided to spill the blood of Ivorian citizens. Laurent Gbagbo, who had also insisted he was the winner of the election was then hijacked and spirited to the International Criminal Court (ICC) which serves as an "enforcer" for Western interests.

Gbagbo is accused of being responsible for war crimes allegedly committed by his armed forces during the mayhem after the stalemate. Yet, in plain daylight, Quatarra's own forces also committed massacres as they marched on and seized the capital city of Abidjan. This was reported even by the Western media as the bodies were left to rot in plain view. So wouldn't it be fair and just that Quatarra also be brought to the Hague to face charges? But he won't because he represents France's interests in the region. It's this sort of ugly "victors' justice" syndrome that has destroyed the credibility of the ICC. 

In the Libyan conflict, the African Union, anchored by South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, drew up a sensible peace proposal: cease fire, relief corridor, compensation for victims, and elections monitored by the International community. Instead, Bonaparte led the charge through NATO, with merciless daily bombings for months, killing countless Libyan civilians, and destroying buildings and infrastructure that clearly Bonaparte thought French companies would get lucrative contracts to repair. 

Although Bonaparte delighted in spitting on (Jacob) Zuma's face and humiliating the African Union, today where is the democracy and the rule of law in Libya that Bonaparte and NATO promised would replace Muammar al-Quathafi's rule? Libya today is like the old Iraq during its wild-wild West days. 

Bonaparte boasted that he would kill Muammar al-Quathafi and he succeeded. His diabolic warmongering prompted a fellow European, Vladimir Putin, to conclude that the attack was akin to a barbarian and medieval call to crusade against Libya and Africa. In a fair world, Bonaparte would also be hauled to the Hague to face war crimes charges.

The desecration of Libya and Africa was cheered by the editorial pages of major newspapers such as The New York Times, whichreferred to the NATO-backed insurrectionsists as "liberators" and "revolutionaries." The newspaper has not used these terms in reference to Libya for many months now. 

The weapons unleashed after the destruction of Libya is now fueling upheavals throughout West Africa. The Western example, that violence is the best means of settling political disputes in Africa, no doubt encouraged those solkdiers who launched the military takeovers in Mali and Guinea. The turmoil will continue for a long time. Thanks to NATO and Bonaparte. 

But now that Bonaparte is out of office, he could face indictment for the numerous alleged crimes of political corruption that's always dogged him in France. 

How ironic that Italy's Silvio Berlusconi and France's Nikolas Bonaparte, a pair of the warmongers, have now fallen from power spectacularly and disgracefully..... 

Francois Hollande will need prayers as he tries to clean up Bonaparte's mess. He can start by renouncing the new French imperialism in Africa.

14 May 2012

Ma' ohi Nui/French Polynesia Senator responds to French National Front on the decolonization process for the Collectivity

Communiqué du Tävini Huira’atira

Sénateur Richard Tuheiava

Réponse au Front National

mercredi 9 mai 2012 

Lors du débat sur la Présidentielle de dimanche soir, M. Minardi, représentant du Front national, a interrogé le sénateur Richard Tuheiava sur la démarche souverainiste du Tavini Huitraatira et de l’UPLD. Hélas, les bavardages des invités autonomistes n’ont pas permis au sénateur Tuheiava de poursuivre.
Notre fenua est une création classique de la colonisation : Protectorat, Annexion, Établissements Français de l’Océanie, Polynésie française.

Tous les pays de la région ont été des colonies, aujourd’hui tous souverains, à l’exception des territoires francophones. Tout le Pacifique océanien, toutes les églises du Pacifique, ont affirmé que cette démarche doit se poursuivre pour les territoires français. Le Tavini Huiraatira est dans cette logique depuis sa création en 1977 : la décolonisation dans la paix et par la voie démocratique.

Aujourd’hui, le mouvement autonomiste voudrait bloquer notre évolution, parle d’aventure, de mère patrie, oubliant les navigateurs intrépides qu’ont été nos ancêtres. Devenir souverain demain sera bien moins aventureux que ce qu’ont accompli nos Tupuna ! Parce que, si nous suivons le modèle de la Kanaky - les morts en moins - les Polynésiens pourront accéder à leur souveraineté avec la participation active et bienveillante de l’État.

La souveraineté débutera donc avec la mise en place d’un contrat de développement établi en fonction des priorités définies par les Polynésiens avec l’État sur une quinzaine d’années au moins. Cet intervalle de temps correspond à 3 mandats présidentiels. Rien ne garantit que le successeur de M. Hollande soit aussi attaché à poursuivre fidèlement le contrat original. C’est la raison pour laquelle le mouvement souverainiste estime nécessaire la garantie de l’ONU. Le Comité des 24 ne fera que suivre la bonne progression et le respect du projet bâti par l’État et le Pays.

Lorsque les Polynésiens estimeront le moment venu, un ou plusieurs référendums d’autodétermination seront organisés comme c’est le cas pour la Nouvelle Calédonie. Dans ce projet où les 2 parties ont été prises en considération, il n’y aura pas d’aventure, de racisme, ou de rejet de la France. L’exemple du Pacifique anglo-saxon est à considérer, il y a bien une poursuite positive des relations avec l’ancien colonisateur. Aujourd’hui, les Français ont voulu le changement incarné par M. François Hollande. C’est le moment pour les Polynésiens de construire leur futur.

À partir d’une centaine d’îles éparpillées sur 5 millions de km2, la France a construit une entité très prometteuse, sans doute l’un des effets les plus positifs de la colonisation, à préserver à tout prix. À nous de bâtir un développement nouveau, construit sur la formation de notre jeunesse, le respect de l’environnement, l’exploitation raisonnée de nos richesses naturelles, des produits de notre Fenua, nos lagons, notre océan et la conquête des fonds marins. Restaurons l’esprit des Tupuna !

Voilà les réponses que l’on peut vous apporter. Ce n’est pas un rêve, c’est un projet réfléchi qui doit nous unir. La France est le partenaire du devenir de la Nouvelle-Calédonie. Elle saura l’être aussi avec nous.