25 February 2019


21 FEBRUARY 2019
as Special Committee Begins Annual Session

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ opening remarks at the organizational meeting of the 2019 session of the Special Committee on Decolonization, in New York (21st Feb. 2019):

Decolonization helped to transform the United Nations membership, propelling the Organization’s growth from 51 original members to 193 today.

Decolonization is one of the most significant chapters of the Organization’s history. But, this story is still being written, as 17 Non‑Self‑Governing Territories remain.

Each deserves attention. Each still waits to attain self-government, in accordance with Chapter [XI] of the United Nations Charter, the 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and relevant United Nations resolutions.

In recent months, there has been notable movement on the question of New Caledonia. Last November, in a referendum, New Caledonians expressed their will on their future and on the status of the Territory. This was an important step forward in the decolonization process.

The cooperation of France, the administering Power, throughout the referendum process, in accordance with the 1998 Nouméa Accord, was commendable.

This Committee, for its part, assisted New Caledonia in the period leading up to the conduct of the referendum, dispatching two visiting missions to the Territory.

To achieve decolonization, the voices of the peoples of the Territories should be heard, as it was the case [in New Caledonia]. The cooperation of all concerned, including the administering Powers, is likewise vital.

It is also paramount that the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories understand the options regarding their political status and the right to choose their future freely.

I applaud the Special Committee’s tireless efforts to uphold its mandate and to support the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to achieve self‑government.

I also commend the Special Committee for maintaining dialogue and productive cooperation with the administering Powers and all concerned.

The United Nations decolonization successes across the decades can inspire us today. Let us uphold our duty to assist all the peoples of the Non‑Self‑Governing Territories in bringing their decolonization process to a successful conclusion, according to their choice.

The Special Committee has accompanied many Territories in their journey since the beginning of the 1960s. As you begin working in the 2019 session, I wish you every success. The Secretariat will do all we can to support your very important work.

20 February 2019


New Zealand's diplomat to the United States, Ambassador H.E. Rosemary Banks visited American Samoa’s congressional office recently for a discussion of the Pacific region at the start of the 116th Congress. It was a pleasure to welcome the Ambassador on behalf of my constituents in American Samoa. Both of us represent beautiful places in the Pacific! I appreciate Ambassador Banks’ experience and the insight she shared from her extensive service representing her country to the United Nations, France, Portugal and more. Our nations share a lasting friendship and many of the same priorities, including economic ties. The new Hawaiki cable is another direct link between the U.S., New Zealand and American Samoa.

15 February 2019


"The U.S. Treasury Department (STATEMENT) scolded the European Union for including (four of the five- OTR)  U.S. territories on a list of dirty money hotspots around the world, telling American banks to ignore EU directives in an unusual technocratic spat that highlights continued friction between Washington and Brussels. " FOREIGN POLICY


European Commission

European Commission adopts new list of third countries with weak anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regimes

Strasbourg, 13 February 2019

Today, the Commission has adopted its new list of 23 third countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks.

The aim of this list is to protect the EU financial system by better preventing money laundering and terrorist financing risks. As a result of the listing, banks and other entities covered by EU anti-money laundering rules will be required to apply increased checks (due diligence) on financial operations involving customers and financial institutions from these high-risk third countries to better identify any suspicious money flows. On the basis of a new methodology, which reflects the stricter criteria of the 5th anti-money laundering directive in force since July 2018, the list has been established following an in-depth analysis.

Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “We have established the strongest anti-money laundering standards in the world, but we have to make sure that dirty money from other countries does not find its way to our financial system. Dirty money is the lifeblood of organised crime and terrorism. I invite the countries listed to remedy their deficiencies swiftly. The Commission stands ready to work closely with them to address these issues in our mutual interest. "

The Commission is mandated to carry out an autonomous assessment and identify the high-risk third countries under the Fourth and Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directives.

The list has been established on the basis of an analysis of 54 priority jurisdictions, which was prepared by the Commission in consultation with the Member States and made public on 13 November 2018. The countries assessed meet at least one of the following criteria:

*   they have systemic impact on the integrity of the EU financial system;

*  they are reviewed by the International Monetary Fund as international offshore financial centres;

; they have economic relevance and strong economic ties with the EU.

For each country, the Commission assessed the level of existing threat, the legal framework and controls put in place to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing risks and their effective implementation. The Commission also took into account the work of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the international standard-setter in this field.

The Commission concluded that 23 countries have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering/ counter terrorist financing regimes. This includes 12 countries listed by the Financial Action Task Force and 11 additional jurisdictions. Some of the countries listed today are already on the current EU list, which includes 16 countries.

Next steps

The Commission adopted the list in the form of a Delegated Regulation. It will now be submitted to the European Parliament and Council for approval within one month (with a possible one-month extension). Once approved, the Delegated Regulation will be published in the Official Journal and will enter into force 20 days after its publication.

The Commission will continue its engagement with the countries identified as having strategic deficiencies in the present Delegated Regulation and will further engage especially on the delisting criteria. This list enables the countries concerned to better identify the areas for improvement in order to pave the way for a possible delisting once strategic deficiencies are addressed.

The Commission will follow up on progress made by listed countries, continue monitoring those reviewed and start assessing additional countries, in line with its published methodology. The Commission will update this list accordingly. It will also reflect on further strengthening its methodology where needed in light of experience gained, with a view to ensuring effective identification of high-risk third countries and the necessary follow-up.


The fight against money laundering and terrorist financing is a priority for the Juncker Commission. The adoption of the Fourth – in force since June 2015- and the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directives – in force since 9 July 2018 - has considerably strengthened the EU regulatory framework.

Following the entry into force of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive in 2015, the Commission published a first EU list of high-risk third countries based on the assessment of the Financial Action Task Force. The Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive broadened the criteria for the identification of high-risk third countries, including notably the availability of information on the beneficial owners of companies and legal arrangements. This will help better address risks stemming from the setting up of shell companies and opaque structures which may be used by criminals and terrorists to hide the real beneficiaries of a transaction (including for tax evasion purposes). 

The Commission developed its own methodology to identify high-risk countries, which relies on information from the Financial Action Task Force, complemented by its own expertise and other sources such as Europol. The result is a more ambitious approach for identifying countries with deficiencies posing risks to the EU financial system. The decision to list any previously unlisted country reflects the current assessment of the risks in accordance with the new methodology. It does not mean the situation has deteriorated since the list was last updated.

The new list published today replaces the one currently in place since July 2018.

The 23 jurisdictions are:
(1)            Afghanistan,
(2)            American Samoa,
(3)            The Bahamas,
(4)            Botswana,
(5)            Democratic People's Republic of Korea,
(6)            Ethiopia,
(7)            Ghana,
(8)            Guam,
(9)            Iran,
(10)          Iraq,
(11)          Libya,
(12)          Nigeria,
(13)          Pakistan,
(14)          Panama,
(15)          Puerto Rico,
(16)          Samoa,
(17)          Saudi Arabia,
(18)          Sri Lanka,
(19)          Syria,
(20)          Trinidad and Tobago,
(21)          Tunisia,
(22)          US Virgin Islands,
(23)          Yemen.

06 February 2019


"These major developments are contributing to re-establishing colonial regiments back in the Caribbean and these re-colonized territories are misused as this Venezuela case and crisis is unfolding to destabilize the region and vision towards a united and integrated Caribbean."
- James Finies, Foundation We Want Bonaire Back.



James Finies, President Foundation We Want Bonaire Back

H.E. Ambassador Mr. Irwin La Rocque
Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Community
Caricom Secretariaat
Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown

Bonaire, February 6th, 2019

Subject:  Urgent appeal from the people of the Dutch Caribbean islands to the CARICOM and Latin America.


I would like to congratulate your excellency and the secretariat on attending the upcoming meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay. In reference to the escalating Venezuela crisis and our previous letters of June 11, 2018 urging the CARICOM and the Caribbean region to intervene and object to prevent an armed conflict in the Caribbean and recent letter dated January 29th, 2019, as the crisis and conflict is deepening we herewith would like to request your urgent attention and call to action on behalf of the peoples of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Curacao and Aruba.

By now it is very clear and obvious that the provocation and escalation is initiated and led by mayor world powers headed by the UK, France and the Netherlands and backed by the US as we witnessing a continuing military build up in Curacao, the ABC islands. We the people of the ABC islands highly object to be dragged into this conflict.

As the discussion is fundamentally based on the issue of democracy and human rights, the so-called ultimatum headed by these colonizing powers is directed towards a new election to re-elect a democratic president and government for the peoples of Venezuela we would like to illustrate herewith the hypocritical position taken by the government of the Netherlands (member of the UN Security Council) a front-runner in this provocation and escalation of this crisis.

The autonomous democratic Caribbean islands forming the country Netherlands Antilles in the Dutch Kingdom was dissolved and disintegrated on October 10, 2010. The Netherlands which maintained ultimate unilateral legislative and judiciary powers in the Dutch Kingdom abused these powers to continue with colonialism in the Caribbean region.

The more dense populated islands Aruba, Sint Maarten and Curacao, something what is not so obvious to outside world, they were all stripped from their autonomy and are back under Dutch control and rule. The Dutch which controls and decides on the budget (and judiciary) of the Curacao government, headed by the Secretary of State Mr. Knops, a ex-military and ex-lieutenant active in the Iraq war,  forced the prime minister of Curacao, Mr Rhuggenaath which is subordinated to the Hague powers to escalation of the crisis. 

Curacao Prime Minister Rhugenaath publicly sided with the ultimatum for a new election causing a direct interference in the sovereign neighboring country Venezuela internal affairs. Curacao which as Aruba, the closest Caribbean islands to Venezuela, are equipped with a full US military forward base and with international harbors and airports of military standards  are at the moment converted in the most strategic war-campaign-bases. War planes are already landing and troops are deployed from the Netherlands towards the ABC islands under guidance of Dutch brigade-general Peter Jan de Vin which was deployed to Curacao to overseer this military operation along with State Secretary Mr Knops.

Dutch troops patrol in Kralendijk, capital of Bonaire (December 2018) 
The less populated in-defensive islands of Saba, Sint Eustatius and Bonaire were annexed, integrated and incorporated in the Dutch constitution without equal rights, with all administrating, democratic, judiciary, powers unilaterally re-positioned  under the Dutch parliament in the Hague and at the moment are being governed in a colonial status against the free will of the peoples and not of their choosing.

As the Dutch government is preaching or claiming to support democracy and human rights in Venezuela meanwhile Bonaire is in a heavy humanitarian crisis by neutralizing and erasing their democratic and human rights. Imposing unilaterally laws for a systematic institutionalized ethnic cleansing of the local population, explosion of the crude death rate over 60% and massive immigration over 400%  increase of non-Bonerians. At the moment in a short period the local Bonerians became a minority on their own island and there is no stopping to this displacement and extermination process.

On Sint Eustatius the democratically elected local government were un-democratically removed from power, with claims of corruption without proof or formal investigation by the Dutch government with abusive use of legislative , military and police powers. The Dutch appointed a non-democratic ruler to govern and erased the peoples democratic rights by stopping elections on the island till further notice. Note that the government of Sint Eustatius is the only Dutch Caribbean island which stood up against the Dutch government because illegal annexation on October 10, 2010 and presently are in court-proceedings against the Dutch  government.

These major developments are contributing to re-establishing colonial regiments back in the Caribbean and these re-colonized territories are misused as this Venezuela case and crisis is unfolding to destabilize the region and vision towards a united and integrated Caribbean.

Our urgent call to attention and action is towards the Caricom countries and our Caribbean and Latin American brothers and sisters for supporting our islands of Bonaire and Sint Eustatius in our quest to get re-inscribed back on the list of the Non-Self-Governing-Territories of the United Nations and fall back under the scrutiny of the international community on our way back to regain and restore our fundamental human and democratic rights.

Yours sincerely,
James Finies, President 
Foundation We Want Bonaire Back