28 November 2014

Pro-French government in Tahiti seeks nuclear testing reparations


"Have the historic achievements of Oscar Temaru's pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira party to internationalize the issue of the effects of French nuclear testing through United Nations resolutions convinced the ruling anti-independence party, (still headed by disgraced former President Gaston Flosse) to reverse its long held position as the historic nuclear testing apologist? 

This is unlikely, as it appears to be an orchestrated political power play by Flosse who now serves as an 'advisor' to the territorial assembly under control of the political party he still heads. Some see the move as a blatant attempt to undermine (French Polynesia) President Edouard Fritch at the precise time he was meeting with French President Francois Hollande in Paris. Amazingly, Fritch has stated that he did not know of the legislative initiative in advance. This speaks to the continued power of Flosse from behind the scenes to dictate political decisions. 

At the very least, the issue of reparations for the inhumane health and other effects of decades of nuclear testing has been brought to light in the international media. But let there be no mistake that the genuine struggle for reparations as a result of the human rights violations caused by the French nuclear testing continues to be led by Temaru and his UPLD coalition."

- a Pacific scholar


Radio New Zealand International


Moves in French Polynesia to seek a huge compensation payout from France are being met with cynicism by some locals.The French territory's assembly is poised to ask France for US$930 million for environmental damage caused by nuclear weapons testing.
Amelia Langford reports:

The move is being spearheaded by the assembly's new president, Marcel Tuihani, who is seen as a protege of ousted President Gaston Flosse. The publisher of the Tahiti Pacifique monthly, Alex Du Prel, says Flosse is now an advisor employed by the ruling party at the assembly. He says the territory's President, Edouard Fritch, did not know of the assembly's plans and Flosse may be making a power play.
ALEX DU PREL: So Mr Fritch went on television last night and he said he was amazed by this motion, that he didn't know know about it, and how you say, he sabotaged the relationship with Paris, which he just spent six months to build up again.
Richard Tuheiava, who is a pro-independence member of the territorial assembly, is also questioning the motives behind the motion.
RICHARD TUHEIAVA: It has really shown that it was a way to politically undermine the attempt of dialogue that is being reestablished at the moment between our elected president here, Edouard Fritch, and the president of France. There is really something more than strange and we believe that Gaston Flosse is still operating at the back.
Richard Tuheiava says French Polynesia should wait to become independent before seeking compensation.
RICHARD TUHEIAVA: The principle is good but the timing is not fair or proper or relevant and it is just being used and misused by some people, some political interests here - that is not really connected with the real situation and the needs of the people.
The head of the nuclear test veterans organisation in French Polynesia, Mururoa e tatou, Roland Oldham, says it is just a political game.
ROLAND OLDHAM: For us it is a scandal, because they never talk about the victims and their only concern is to get money for the Government.
Roland Oldham says the process of seeking compensation must be done properly and there is still work to be done.
ROLAND OLDHAM: We all agree that there is something to be done about compensation but that has to be talked [through] seriously. There is study to be done about all the people who are sick today, there are all these evaluations to be done.
Roland Oldham says the Government cannot simply wake up one morning and make such a claim. The motion to seek compensation will be put to the vote this week. Between 1966 and 1996, France carried out 193 nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific.


The Independent

The French Polynesia Assembly is preparing to ask Francois Hollande’s government for nearly a billion dollars in compensation for damage caused to the islands by nuclear weapons tests.

Conservative anti-independence Tahoera’a Huiraatira party committee has apparently taken issue with the French testing regime that saw 210 nuclear tests conducted from 1966 to 1996 off secluded atolls in the south Pacific.

The committee, which is acting independently of Polynesian President Edouard Fritch, is asking for US$930 million for environmental damage, according to daily Polynesian newspaper La Depeche Tahiti.

In addition, the proposed resolution also seeks an additional 132 million for the continued occupation of the Fangataufa and Mururoa atolls.

France detonated its first thermonuclear weapon off the Fangataufa atoll in 1968, after ruling out other locations – such as the Sahara – and the decision was broadly accepted by the Polynesian public at the time.

Last year declassified French defence documents exposed that the islands had been hit with far more radiation than previously supposed. Tahiti - the most populated island - was exposed to 500 times more radiation than recommended.

In 2006 a French medical body found the increase of cancer on the islands were caused by nuclear testing. The French government only acknowledged veterans and survivors in 2010 that they would be legible for compensation - but warned the process would be long and complex thanks to the distribution of the islands.

Environmentally, the islands appear to have been badly affected by the testing. However, for years many scientists and researchers were refused entry to the islands and to this day much of the data on the proliferation of waste remains incomplete or unavailable.

In 1998 one report indicated that more than 3,200 tonnes of various types of radioactive waste had been poured into the Pacific ocean, sinking to depths of 1,000 metres off the coast of Mururoa and Hao island.

Marcel Tuihani, a protégé of the founder of the anti-independence Tahoera’a party Gaston Flosse, is leading the claim.

On Friday Flosse was invited by the chairman of the meeting to work for the commission as a “qualified expert.”

The politician, who is affectionately referred to be in local media as the ‘Old Lion’, was convicted of corruption in 2006 and given a three-months suspended sentence during which time he neither resigned nor gave up his seat in the Polynesian senate. He was reelected to the Senate in 2008.

French Polynesia is an overseas collective of French Republic and is located south of Hawaii in the South Pacific Ocean. Among its 118 islands, 67 are inhabited. Tahiti is the most populous island and contains the capital Pape’ete.


The Real Anti-Nuclear Movement

ARCHIVE PHOTO: French Polynesian anti-nuclear demonstrators march through the streets of the Tahitian capital Papeete in protest against the French nuclear testing in the Pacific March 22, 1996 (Reuters)
ARCHIVE PHOTO: French Polynesian anti-nuclear demonstrators march through the streets of the Tahitian capital Papeete in protest against the French nuclear testing in the Pacific March 22, 1996.    (Reuters)/RT
The above demonstration was led by Oscar Temaru (centre), former President of French Polynesia, and longstanding anti-nuclear advocate.


Go the links below for additional information: 

27 November 2014

Thanksgiving Day should honor the first freedom-fighters of the Americas – those who resisted the foreign invasion of their lands


The Politics of Thanksgiving Day

November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Day is rooted in a myth of friendly cooperation between Native Americans and European settlers, celebrated a year after the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts and nearly starved. But the reality was more of one-sided generosity and two-faced betrayal, as William Loren Katz explains.

By William Loren Katz

As family excitement builds over Thanksgiving, you would never know November was Native American History Month. President Barack Obama publicly announced the month, but many more Americans will be paying much greater attention to his annual declaration of thanksgiving with the ceremonial pardoning of a turkey.

Thanksgiving has a treasured place in the hearts of Americans, established as a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 to rouse Northern patriotism for a war that was not going well. Since then, Thanksgiving has often served other political ends.
Original Thanksgiving Day as depicted
by Jennie A. Brownscombe
In 2003, in the age of U.S. Middle East invasions, President George W. Bush flew to Baghdad, Iraq, to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with U.S. troops. He sought to rally the public behind an invasion based on lies by having a host of photographers snap pictures of him carrying a glazed turkey to eager soldiers. Three hours later, Bush flew home, and TV brought his act of solidarity and generosity to millions of U.S. living rooms. But the turkey the President carried to Baghdad was never eaten. It was cardboard, a stage prop.

Thus, as an example of hypocrisy and insincerity, Thanksgiving 2003 had a lot in common with the first Thanksgiving Day celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621. A year earlier, 149 English Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower landed at Plymouth and survived their first New England winter when Wampanoug people brought the newcomers corn, meat and other gifts, and taught the Pilgrims survival skills.

In 1621, Governor William Bradford of Plymouth proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving – not for his Wampanoug saviors but in honor of his brave Pilgrims. Through resourcefulness and devotion to God, his Christians had defeated hunger.

Bradford claimed that Native Americans were invited to the dinner. A seat at the table? Really? Since Pilgrims classified their nonwhite saviors as “infidels” and inferiors — if invited at all, they were asked to provide and serve, not share the food.

To this day, we are asked to see Thanksgiving essentially through the eyes of Governor Bradford (albeit with a nod to the help provided by the Native Americans). Bradford’s fable about stalwart Pilgrims overcoming daunting challenges through God’s blessings was an early example of “Euro think” which cast the European conquest of the Americas as mostly heroic and even noble.

Having survived those first difficult winters, Pilgrim armies soon pushed westward. In 1637, Governor Bradford sent his troops to raid a Pequot village, viewing the clash as mortal combat between devout Christians and godless heathens. Pilgrim soldiers systematically destroyed a village of sleeping men, women and children.

Bradford was overjoyed: “It was a fearful sight to see them frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same and horrible was the stink and stench thereof. But the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice and they [the Pilgrim militia] gave praise thereof to God.”

Years later, Pilgrim Reverend Increase Mather asked his congregation to celebrate the “victory” and thank God “that on this day we have sent six hundred heathen souls to hell.”

School books and scholarly texts still honor Bradford, ignoring his callous brutality. The 1993 edition of the Columbia Encyclopedia [p. 351] states of Bradford, “He maintained friendly relations with the Native Americans.” The scholarly Dictionary of American History [p. 77] said, “He was a firm, determined man and an excellent leader; kept relations with the Indians on friendly terms; tolerant toward newcomers and new religions….”

The Mayflower, renamed the Meijbloom (Dutch for Mayflower), continued to carve its place in history. It became a slave ship carrying enslaved Africans to the Americas.

The Earliest Freedom-Fighters

Thanksgiving Day in the United States celebrates not justice and equality but aggression and enslavement. It affirms the genocidal beliefs in racial and religious superiority that justified the destruction of millions of Native American people and their cultures, extermination campaigns that began soon after the Pilgrim landing in 1620 and continued through the U.S. Army’s punitive campaigns in the West during the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries.

Still, Americans proudly count themselves among the earliest to fight for freedom of the individual and independence from tyranny. In that sense, on Thanksgiving Day, Americans might think to honor the first freedom-fighters of the Americas – those who resisted the foreign invasion of these lands – but those freedom-fighters were not European and their resistance started long before 1776.

Even before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620, thousands of enslaved Africans and Native Americans had united to fight the European invaders and slavers. In the early Sixteenth Century during the age of Columbus and the Spanish invasion, these brave freedom-fighters were led by Taino leaders on the island of Hispaniola. One, a woman poet named Anacoana was captured at age 29. Another, a man named Hatuey, led his 400 followers from Hispaniola to Cuba in 1511 to warn the people about the dangers from the foreigners.

The following year, Hatuey was captured, too, and, the next year in behavior fitting with the civilization represented by the European invaders, Anacoana and Hatuey were burned at the stake.

Resistance to the invaders and their reliance on slavery continued to erupt in other parts of the Americas. In 1605, 15 years before the Mayflower reached Plymouth, thousands of runaway Africans, known as “maroons,” united with Indians in northeast Brazil to form the Republic of Palmares, defended by a three-walled fortress. From there, Genga Zumba and his 10,000 people repeatedly threw back Dutch and Portuguese armies. The Republic of Palmares survived until 1694, almost a hundred years, before finally being suppressed.

These early nonwhite freedom-fighters kept no written records, but some of their ideas about freedom, justice and equality found their way into the sacred parchment that Americans celebrate each July Fourth, declaring that all people are created equal and endowed with fundamental rights.

So, the fairest way to celebrate freedom-fighters in what the Europeans called the New World would be to start with the stories of Anacoana and Hatuey resisting the depredations of Columbus and his men and then move to the “maroon” resistance at Palmares.

Looking at the injustice that the victors often meted out to indigenous people and imported slaves, there is little reason to feel grateful for the later arrival of — and encroachments by — the ungrateful Pilgrims.

William Loren Katz is the author of Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage [Atheneum] and 40 other books. His website is: williamlkatz.com. This essay is adapted from the 2012 edition of Black Indians.

25 November 2014

Resisting U.S. Bases in Okinawa - Foreign Policy in Focus

Despite intense crackdowns, activists on the Japanese island of Okinawa continue to resist the construction of new U.S. military bases.

(Photo: Ojo de Cineasta / Flickr)

They come in kayaks and canoes to protect the bay, maintain a tent city on the beach, and hold candlelight vigils. From posters to marches, songs, and a petition expressing international solidarity, Okinawan residents have left no question about their fierce opposition to construction of a new military base for the U.S. Marines on their island.

Overriding these emphatic voices, the Japanese and United States governments have begun work on a new facility at the Nago City site of Henoko—initiating offshore drilling, tearing down buildings, and bringing in construction supplies.

The building of this base has broad ramifications: it will destroy local marine life, pollute natural resources, and put residents in danger. Even more disturbingly, it reflects the long-term violation of Okinawans’ democratic rights—namely, their ability to set the policies that affect their lives. And more globally, it signifies Japan’s slippery slope toward further militarization, and solidifies Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s support of U.S. military activity in Asia.

Nonetheless, despite intense crackdowns to suppress resistance, Okinawan activists remain determined to continue their opposition to this base. 

“Reducing the Burden”

It all began with a violent incident: In 1995, three U.S. servicemen abducted and raped a 12-year-old Okinawan girl. This episode rekindled a fierce opposition movement among Okinawans who had long objected to U.S. bases in their midst.

Facing an angry and mobilized population, in 1996 the United States and Japan set up theSpecial Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO), ostensibly to “reduce the burden on the people of Okinawa and thereby strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance.” Under SACO, 20 percent of military-occupied land was to be returned to Okinawan control. This included the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in the city of Ginowan.


United Nations adopts programme for people of African descent

18 NOVEMBER 2014

Sixty-ninth session
55th Meeting (AM)

Recognizing the devastating impact of racism on people of African descent, the General Assembly today adopted, without a vote, a draft resolution on the programme of activities to implement the newly launched International Decade for People of African Descent, thus providing focus and synergy needed to address the matter globally.

Sam Kutesa (Uganda), President of the General Assembly, introducing the draft text, said that after decades of slavery, one could only be humbled by how far people of African descent had come. However, discrimination persisted. Many of African descent had limited access to good quality education, employment, housing, healthcare, fair justice systems, and safe living environments. By adopting “recognition, justice and development” as the resolution’s theme, the Assembly could take a bold step towards ensuring the respect, protection and human rights for those people, he said.

The representative of Brazil, noting that his country had the largest population of people of African descent outside of Africa, pointed out that those Brazilians accounted for over a hundred million people in his country. Promoting racial equality translated into rescuing half the national population from the consequences of centuries of slavery to which they had been subjected.



The General Assembly had before it a draft resolution submitted by the President of the General Assembly entitled “Programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent” (document A/69/L.3), as well as a report by the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) on programme budget implications for that text (document A/69/563). By the terms of the text, the General Assembly would adopt the programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent annexed to the resolution, and officially launch the International Decade for People of African Descent, among other measures.


Action on Draft Resolution

SAM KUTESA (Uganda), President of the General Assembly, stating that the Organization was about to embark on an historic moment, introduced the draft resolution on the Programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent (document A/69/L.3). Emerging from slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, one could not but be humbled about how far people of African descent had come.

“But we need to go much further”, he said, adding that discrimination against people of African descent continued, manifested in limited access to good quality education, employment, housing and healthcare. They were frequently the most marginalized members of society, often inhabiting the poorest districts, with the most precarious infrastructure. Vulnerable to crime and violence, they often faced discrimination in access to justice, as well.

In 2001, he continued, the Assembly had adopted the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action at the World Conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. By adopting the theme of the International Decade, “Recognition, Justice, and Development”, the international community was providing an opportunity to have a global conversation about the burdens and accomplishments of people of African descent. Those contributions were irrefutable. The International Decade would raise awareness and ensure the respect, protection and human rights of people of African descent. By adopting the draft resolution, the Assembly would take a bold step towards that objective.

The General Assembly adopted the resolution without a vote.

In explanation of position after the action, the representative of Italy, speaking for the European Union, said the Union was a firm believer in the international fight against racism, xenophobia and intolerance. It was only through ownership and engagement that objectives could be achieved on the local, national, and international levels. However, she voiced concern regarding the budgeting of Programme activities, requesting that such implementation be done carefully.

The representative of Israel said he recognized that the resolution contained important elements. However, he disassociated Israel from certain references in several paragraphs of the resolution. Ten years ago, the majority of countries remained silent while the Durban Conference became a racist expression against the State of Israel. The Jewish people had fought racism throughout their history.

The representative of Canada said that the Durban Conference had degenerated into a politicized forum that did not combat racism. The Durban process remained politicized and unable to distance itself from its past. He said that although he disapproved of the reference to that process, his Government would continue to work in practical ways with Member States in addressing racism and in recognizing and promoting the rights of people of African descent.


GUILHERME DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil), noting that his country had the largest population of people of African descent outside of Africa, pointed out that those Brazilians accounted for over a hundred million people in his country. Promoting racial equality translated into rescuing half the national population from the consequences of the centuries of slavery to which they had been subjected. His Government had implemented affirmative programmes and national policies such as cash transfers and minimum wage legislation, which had contributed to the reduction of inequalities among different racial groups. The 2001 Durban Conference and its review conferences was a landmark in the implementation of national and international laws so as to forbid racism, xenophobia, and related intolerance.

24 November 2014

U.N. General Assembly Presidents join growing global call for implementation of international decolonisation mandate

Special to Overseas Territories Review

The Council of Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly (CPGA-UN) has called for the introduction of special mechanisms to implement the self-determination process for the remaining dependent territories presently under annual review by the United Nations General Assembly.

This was one of a series of recommendations adopted by the CPGA-UN during its Fall 2014 Annual Session at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The recommendation was included in the Final Communique adopted at the conclusion of the of the Council meeting. 

Secretary-General Meets Former Assembly Presidents
U.N. Secretary-General  Ban Ki-moon (2nd left) meets with the Council of Presidents of the U.N. General Assembly (CPGA-UN)and its Executive Secretary during the Council's 2014 Session at U.N. Headquarters in New York.  UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

Excerpts from the 2014 Communique

"The Council of Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly, 

Welcomes the adoption by the General Assembly of Resolution 68/97 of 11 December 2013 on the Implementation of the (Decolonization) Declaration, and related resolutions on the question,

Urges the Special Committee on Decolonization to rationalize its method of work so as to speed up the implementation of the Declaration,

Laments that the number of non self-governing territories, rather than decreasing in numbers, has increased by one to include French Polynesia by General Assembly Resolution 67/265 of 17 May 2013, and

Supports the implementation of the 2006 Plan of Implementation for the Decolonization Mandate including, inter alia, the appointment of an independent expert to undertake an assessment of the progress and extent of self-determination in the remaining territories."

Chairman of the Council of Presidents of the U.N. General Assembly (CPGA) and President of the 58th Session of the U.N. General Assembly Sir Julian R. Hunte (2nd right) convenes CPGA meeting with senior U.N. officials during the 2014 Session of the CPGA. From right, President of the 57th Session and CPGA vice chair H.E. Mr. Jan Kavan; Chairman Hunte; President of the 69th Session of the General Assembly H.E. Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa; Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson; St. Lucia Ambassador to the United Nations H.E. Menissa Rambally, and Dr. Carlyle Corbin, Executive Secretary of the CPGA-UN.  

Council of Presidents of the U.N. General Assembly (CPGA-UN) pose with Director of U.N. Counter Terrorism of the Department of Political Affairs Dr. Jehangir Khan (left) at the close of the CPGA  2014 Council Session. (Left to right) Dr. Khan, H.E. Mr. Amara Essy, President, Forty-Ninth Session;  H.E. Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa, President of the 69th session; H.E. Sir Julian R. Hunte, President of the 58th Session; H.E. Dr. Han Seung-soo, President, Fifty-Sixth Session; H.E. Dr. Srgjan Kerim, President, Sixty-Second Session; Dr, Carlyle Corbin, CPGA executive Secretary; and H.E. Jan Kavan, President, Fifty-Seventh Session.   

The 2014 recommendations on international self-determination and decolonisation process followed earlier conclusions adopted by the Council in its 2013 communique:


                 Excerpts from the 2013 Communique

"The Council of Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly,

Recognises the historic role of the General Assembly in the self-determination process of dependent territories, and that the successful decolonization of over eighty territories since World War II was in large measure as a result of the political, material and other support provided by the United Nations;

Expresses concern that only two territories have successfully been decolonized since the 1990s, and that the that the countries which administer the majority of the remaining territories have withdrawn their cooperation from the Special
Committee on Decolonization resulting in little progress being made in the implementation of the United Nations decolonization mandate contained in the Charter, General Assembly resolutions and human rights instruments;

Takes note that the number of non self-governing territories has been increased by one for a total number of seventeen on the United Nations official list under Chapter XI of the Charter pursuant to the adoption by the General Assembly of
resolution 67/265 of 17 May 2013 on the "Self-determination of French Polynesia", and notes the adoption by the Special Committee on Decolonization last June of its first resolution ever on "The Question of French Polynesia."

Welcomes the participation of H.E. Oscar Temaru, five-time president of French Polynesia, his extensive briefing on the challenges to the decolonization process in his country, his request to the United Nations for assistance in the public education campaign of the territory in order to heighten the awareness of the people of their valid political status options in conformity with the principle of full and absolute political equality, and issues related to the effects of atomic radiation on the people as a result of 30 years of nuclear testing during the Cold War;

Calls for the use of innovative means to give effect to the United Nations decolonization mandate including the use of special mechanisms such as an Independent Expert/Special Rapporteur, expert groups or other relevant modalities to examine in depth the political situation in each of the remaining territories, and to advise the President of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General of suitable means to implement the decolonization mandate in these territories."

23 November 2014

Incumbent Northern Mariana Islands Governor wins re-election

IT Wins
Four more years

RIDING on a wave of good economic news, the Republican tandem of Gov. Eloy S. Inos and Senate President Ralph D.L.G. Torres coasted to an easy victory in the runoff election on Friday against the Independent team of former Speaker Heinz S. Hofschneider and former Sen. Ray N. Yumul.

IT won in 10 of the CNMI’s 13 election precincts while also besting HY in the absentee and early voting results.

Based on the Commonwealth Election Commission’s unofficial results late Friday night, IT garnered a total of 6,547 votes or 57 percent of the total votes cast while HY got 4,948 or 43 percent.

Compared to the general elections, the turnout for the runoff was lower: 13,798 cast their ballots in the four-way race on Nov. 4 while the total votes cast for the Nov. 21 runoff was 11,495, but this figure does not include all the absentee votes.

At the multi-purpose center in Susupe, the first results were announced by Election Commission Executive Director Robert Guerrero just after 8 p.m.: early voting on Saipan, Precinct 2 and Precinct 3A, giving IT the lead, 2,802 - 1,830.

The votes were counted manually, but there were only two gubernatorial teams on the ballot and the tabulation process was a lot smoother this time around. Soon, Team IT expanded its lead, losing only to HY in Precincts 3A and 3B, where Hofschneider and Yumul reside, and in Precinct 4B.

Guerrero said some 2,385 absentee ballots were mailed of which 444 were counted on Friday night. IT garnered 323; HY, 121. Commission Chairwoman Frances Sablan in an interview said they had not yet received 1,941 absentee ballots, but IT leads by 1,599 votes and the chances of HY overtaking the GOP tandem by getting most of the remaining absentee votes — which will be tabulated on Dec. 5 — are slim. In the four-way race on Nov. 4, IT received 52 percent of the absentee votes.

Guerrero said he’s “relieved that it’s finally over.”

He said the tabulation would have been quicker “if we used modern technology but there were issues with the machine during the general elections, and hopefully this won’t happen again in the future. We walked and stumbled but we managed to correct every mistake so everything is still good.”

Guerrero said the official results will be certified on Dec. 5.

On Friday, the polls opened at 7 a.m. and closed at 7 p.m. The election commission board started sorting the ballots from the early voting at around 7 and started counting them at 8 p.m. The counting was over at around 11:30 p.m.


21 November 2014

Recent developments in French Polynesia/Ma'ohi Nui - Nic Maclellan


As French president Francois Hollande visits the region for the G20 summit, Nic Maclellan looks at recent developments in French Polynesia.

Gaston Flosse, one of the Pacific’s longest serving politicians, has been removed from office as President of French Polynesia, after exhausting all avenues of appeal against his conviction for misappropriation of public funds.

But while Flosse is out of office, he’s not out of power. Today, Flosse’s Tahoeraa Huiraatira party still maintains significant control at all levels of government in French Polynesia. This ongoing influence means that French Polynesia is finding it difficult to develop new development paradigms to address long-standing economic challenges.

While defeated in 2013 elections for French Polynesia’s local Assembly, independence leader Oscar Manutahi Temaru has been successful in mobilising greater involvement by international organisations to monitor developments in French Polynesia. The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation, the Pacific Islands Forum and Pacific governments have all joined the debate over French Polynesia’s future political status.


20 November 2014

Independent gubernatorial team defeats Democratic Party team in US Virgin Islands elections

St. Thomas Source

Unofficial Results Show Mapp 

is New Governor

19 November 2014

St. Croix freedom fighter, agriculturalist Kendall 'Seigo' Petersen joins the ancestors

Proponent of agriculture/aquaculture as the key 
to territory's economic development;

Elected Member of Fifth Constitutional Convention
of the U.S. Virgin Islands 

photo by: stthomassource.com

Youngest son of Clarissa Messer-Petersen and Frank "Frankie-Pete" Petersen 

Born in Frederiksted on February 10th, 1962

For more than 20 years, represented the people of St. Croix in numerous areas of public, private, and community service

Activist and a community leader, educator, agriculturalist and farmer. Father and a grandfather. Youth mentor

Culture-bearer and native Virgin Islander 

Chair of Committee on Citizenship, Virgin Islands Rights, Historical and Environmental Preservation, Fifth Constitutional Convention

Vice-President of St. Croix Farmers in Action

Vice President of Ethiopian World Federation

Vice President African-Caribbean Reparations and Resettlement Alliance (ACRRA)

18 November 2014

Scientists question potential new dependence on natural gas for Caribbean electricity generation

4 Reasons Natural Gas Is a Bridge to Nowhere in the Caribbean

Caribbean island residents pay some of the highest retail electricity prices in the world. Most islands generate 90 – 100 percent of their electricity by burning expensive imported diesel or heavy fuel oil in large generators. Thus Caribbean electricity users pay between $0.20 and $0.50/kWh (kilowatt hour). By comparison, the average for mainland U.S. residential customers is $0.13/kWh; in Hawaii, where they burn oil for much of their electricity, the average is $0.39/kWh.
Naturally, Caribbean islands are in the market for more affordable alternatives. Some islands are seriously pursuing renewables—witness Jamaica’s 20-MW-and-growing wind farm and the Dominican Republic installing one of the largest solar arrays in the Caribbean. Some other islands such as the U.S. Virgin Islands are experimenting with different fossil fuels that don’t require major capital investments, like propane.
But another option looms on the horizon: natural gas. A recent U.S. Energy Information Administration article and a soon-to-be-released International Development Bank study noteliquefied natural gas (LNG) is increasingly being touted as a cost-effective solution for the Caribbean.
This is more than unfortunate. Switching from one imported fossil fuel (diesel/oil) to another (LNG)—the latter of which is currently slightly less expensive but much more price-volatile—overlooks the Caribbean’s abundant, domestic supply of cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy.
One Colombian island in the western Caribbean, San Andres, is grappling now with the future of its electricity generation, including the relative merits of LNG compared to efficiency and renewables. It becomes quickly clear that there are at least four important reasons LNG is the wrong choice for the Caribbean’s electricity.