28 July 2017

FRANCE CONTINUES TO DEFY U.N. DECOLONIZATION DECISIONS

 Slow Tahiti decolonisation process regretted

Dateline Pacific  

French Polynesia's pro-independence party regrets that France keeps shunning the UN decolonisation process.
Four years after the UN relisted the territory, its C24 committee meetings take place without input by Paris.
Richard Tuheiava of the Tavini Huiraatira Party told Walter Zweifel that although things move slowly, advances are being made.
Richard Tuheiava in 2008
Richard Tuheiava Photo: AFP

24 July 2017

BONAIRE HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER CALLS ON U.N. INTERVENTION


To the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, R.H.A. Plasterk,
President of the 1st Chamber, Mrs. Broekrs- Knol and members
President of the Second Chamber Mrs. Khadija Arib and members
Turfmarkt 147
2500 EA Den Haag
Netherlands.


Bonaire, July 20, 2017

Subject: your letter reference: 
2017-0000318708 Appeal Sint Eustatius on the United Nations Charter


Dear Minister Plasterk, Mrs. Broekrs-Knol, Mrs Khadija Arib and members of the 1st and 2nd chamber,

We request your attention to the following regarding your aforementioned letter to Sint Eustatius and our previous letters directed to your Minister, 1st Chamber and 2nd Chamber regarding violation of the peoples of Sint Eustatius and Bonaire Self-Determination and Human Rights:

First of all we would like to make clear to Mr Plasterk and his administration and colleagues who are cooperating with Mr Plasterk inhumane views and policies that above-mentioned rights are inalienable, indivisible and pertains exclusively to the people of Sint Eustatius and Bonaire and not to the consent or discussion of the colonizer and the administering power.

Mr Plasterk answers that he does not respect the United Nations Charter as accorded and co-signed by the Netherlands in 1945 and will resort to his own  interpretation hereof and further that his non-respect and own interpretation should not be a surprise.  We feel as it may seems hypocritical that Mr Plasterk does not understand the main objective the United Nations was founded after the WWII , was because of the annexation and occupation of Holland by Hitler, Germany. At 10-10-10, Holland has done the same to annex and occupy the innocent, humble peoples of Sint Eusatius and Bonaire showing no remorse and respect to humanity. These inhuman actions are now putting light back on the hidden dark Dutch colonial history, where we were ahead and making progress in the healing and reconciliation process and now Mr Plasterk and colleagues are reincarnating this taboo, where the Dutch were the world cruelest colonizers. We invite Mr Plasterk and colleagues to view a short summary of “what every Dutch should know” and most important for Mr Plasterk that has to have a exemplary and honorable position as Minister representing the Dutch peoples. 

As a start please view this short video and then please read the book of Vanvught : “Roofstaat”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?=olncX67VKtk

We are only hoping after Mr Plasterk and his colleagues understanding of our common history and past will realize that they have been miseducated as human beings and the people of Sint Eustatius and Bonaire also are equally human beings same as them, and to our salvation and to avoid another humanitarian crisis, Mr Plasterk and colleagues will interpret the Charter of the United Nations in the correct human context and not continue in the same inhuman path as their forefathers.

We totally disagree with Mr Plasterk which states that now Sint Eustatius (same as Bonaire) has the status as public body within the Netherlands and that in discussions with the United Nations it has been confirmed that relations within the Kingdom are an internal affair and these discussions can be done without the intervention of the United Nations. At this point Mr Plasterk is confirming all above that the Dutch government does not respect United Nations Charter and does not respect democracy, and is confusing himself as island council members elections is not same as a self-determination referendum choice of political equality, because only the people can decide on a change of status as the case of 10-10-10. Not the possibly bribed, corrupted, extorted local and Dutch politicians, decides on the self-determination and human rights of the peoples.  The peoples of Sint Eustatius and Bonaire never opted for this imposed illegal status and all illegal democratic attempts by the Dutch to legitimize this illegal status has failed up to now.

Last March 2017 Dutch elections over 80% of the peoples of Statia and Bonaire rejected Mr Plasterk and the Dutch second chamber politicians as their representatives. In their respective 2014 and 2015 referendum the same rejection, which constituted of  a legitimate refutation of this illegal public body status.  For sure the United Nations naturally will tell the visiting Dutch colonizer officials that they should adhere to the set Charters and resolutions of the United Nations that are a clear mandate and that there is an official translation of the Charter of the UN in Dutch language to avoid any kind of misinterpretation. And of course that this is an internal exercise as the whole world has adhere to and the Dutch government duty is very simple as to respect, protect and comply.

What the United Nations never would have thought was that these Dutch officials, as Mr Plasterk is stating, would have their own interpretation of the United Nations Charter contrary to these clear set human values and rights. To refresh Mr Plasterk and colleagues memory that it is a shame that it came to our understanding that the Dutch delegates helped by the Antillean elite(bribed, extorted?)  in 1955 misinformed and manipulated the United Nations General Assembly, resolution 945, in a controversial and disputed vote, to discharge the Netherlands of its reporting obligations under the condition that we, as colonized Antillean islands, will remain under the protection of article 73. And this discharge can be revoked at any time in the future, as this was a safeguard for us , the colonized Antillean islands to come back and knock at the door of the United Nations if the need arise. 

This exercise of the United Nations was because the majority did not trust the Dutch government which duty was to comply with political equality in accordance with self-governance standards. Instead the Netherlands did set the Antilles in a direction of self-destruction which became in effect on 10-10-10 with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles and Holland re-captured, annexed and occupied the smaller in-defensive islands of Sint Eustatius, Bonaire and Saba and started a new era of recolonization in the Caribbean region. 

To finalize we would like to remind Mr Plasterk and colleagues that recently in United Nations, General Assembly, Special Committee on Decolonization C24 seminar reported that the Netherlands holds colonies again in the Caribbean (BES-islands) and that the United Nations has ruled that colonialism is a crime against humanity and that the peoples of a colonized territory has the right to use all measures which they desire to get out of colonialism and this is in accordance with United Nations and international law.

Yours sincerely,
 James Finies 
Foundation Nos Kier Boneiru Bek
______________________________________________________________

 PAPIAMENTU

 Boneiru , 20 Juli 2017

Topiko: karta referensia: 
2017-0000318708 apelashon Sint Eustatius riba Karta di Nashonan Uni


Apresiabel Minister Plasterk, Sra Broekers-Knol, Sra Khadija Arib I miembronan di 1ste I 2de kamer,

Nos ta pidi boso atenshon pa lo siguiente enkonekshon ku boso karta ariba menshona na Sint Eustatius I nos kartanan previo dirigi na boso Minister, 1ste kamer I 2de kamer enkonekshon ku violashon di derechonan di outo-determinashon I derechonan humano di pueblonan di Sint Eustatius I Boneiru:

Na prome luga nos ke pone kla na Sr Plasterk I su administrashon I koleganan ku ta koperando ku Sr Plasterk su vishon I maneho inhumano, ku e derechonan ariba menshona ta sagrado I absoluto I ta pertenese esklusivo na e pueblonan di Sint Eustatius I Bonaire I no ta na konsentimentu ni deskushon di e kolonisado o poder administrado.

Sr Plasterk su kontestanan ta ku e no ta respeta e tratado di Nashonan Uni manera akorda I co-firma pa Hulanda na 1945 I ku e tin su propio interpretashon I mas alew ku su non-respet I su mes interpretashon lo no mester ta un sorpresa. Nos ta sinti ku esaki ta parse hipokresia pasobra Sr Plasterk no ta komprende e prinsipal obhetivo ku Nashonan Uni a wordu funda despues di Segunda Guerra mundial tabata pa motibu di aneksashon I okupashon di Hulanda dor di Hitler, Alemania. Na 10-10-10 Hulanda a hasi meskos di aneksa I okupa e inosente I humilde pueblonan di Sint Eustatius I Boneiru demonstrando ku nan no tin ni respet ni remordimiento pa humanidat. E akshonan inhumano aki awor ta pone luz bek riba e historia skur kolonial Hulandes, ja kaminda nos tabata hopi adelanta den e proseso di rekonsiliashon I kurashon pero awor Sr Plasterk I koleganan ta reinkarnashon di e taboo, kaminda ku e Hulandesnan tabata e kolonisadonan di mas kruel di mundu. Nos ta invita Sr Plasterk I koleganan pa mira un resumen kortiku di”loke kada Hulandes mester sa” I mas importante  Sr Plasterk ku mester ta un ehempel ku e posishon honorabel di minister di e pueblo Hulandes. Komo un komienso por fabor wak e video kortiku aki I despues lesa e buki di Vanvught: “Roofstaat” https://www.youtube.com/watch?=olncX67VKtk. Nos ta spera despues ku Sr Plasterk I koleganan komprende nos historia I pasado komun lo realiza ku nan a wordu maleduka komo sernan humano I ku e pueblonan di Sint Eustatius I Boneiru tambe ta igual ku nan, I ta mes un sernan humano ku nan mes. I esaki por ta nos salbashon I pa evita un otro krisis humanitario, Sr Plasterk I koleganan por interpreta e tratadonan di Nashonan Uni den e konteksto humano korekto i no kontinua den e mesun kaminda inhumano manera nan antepasadonan.

Nos ta kompletamente di desakuerdo ku Sr Plasterk ku ta bisa ku awor Sint Eustatius (meskos ku Boneiru) tin e status komo entidat publiko den Hulanda I ku den deskushonan ku Nashonan Uni a wordu konfirma ku relashonan den reino ta asuntunan interno I e diskushonan aki por wordu hasi sin intervenshon di Nashonan Uni. Na e punto aki Sr Plasterk ta konfirma tur lokual ariba menshona, ku gobiernu Hulandes no ta respeta tratadonan di Nashonan Uni I no ta respeta demokrasia I ta konfundi su mes ku elekshon pa miembro di konseho insular no ta meskos ku referendum di outo-determinashon, eskoho pa igualdat politiko, pasobra ta solamente e pueblo por disidi riba un kambio di status manera tabate kaso na 10-10-10.  No e posibel korupto, soborna I ekstorshona politkonan lokal I Hulandes, nan no ta disidi riba e derechonan di outo-dterminashon I derechonan humano di e pueblonan. E pueblonan di Sint Eustatius I Boneiru nunka a opta pa e status ilegal impone aki I tur intento ilegal demokratiko di Hulanda pa legalisa e status ilegal aki a frakasa te awor.

Mart 2017 ultimo elekshon Hulandes mas ku 80% di e pueblonan di Sint Eustatius I Boneiru a bolbe rechaza Sr Plasterk I 2de kamer su poltikonan komo nan representantenan. Den nan respektivamente  na 2014 I 2015 referenduman tabata mesun rechazo, kual a konstitui un refutashon legitimo di e status ilegal aki komo entidat publiko. Ta sigur ku Nashonan Uni naturalmente lo a bisa e bishitantenan I ofisialnan Hulandes kolonisado ku nan tin ku tene nan mes na e tratadonan I resolushonan di Nashonan Uni ku ta un mandato kla I ku tambe tin un traduskhon ofisial di e karta di Nashonan Uni na idioma Hulandes pa evita kualke malinterpretashon. I por supuesto ku esaki ta un asuntu interno manera mundo kompleto a tene nan mes na dje ta ku e gobiernu Hulandes su deber ta masha simpel di ta respeta, protega I kumpli ku esaki.
Loke ku Nashonan Uni nunka por a pensa ta ku e ofisialnan Hulandes aki, manera Sr Plasterk ta menshona, lo por duna nan mes interpretashon na e karta di Nashonan Uni kontrario na e klaramente delinja balornan I derechonan humano.  Pa refreska Sr Plasterk su memoria ta un berguensa pa nos hanja na komprende awor ku e delegashon Hulandes juda pa e elite Antiano (soborna I ekstorshona?) na 1955 a malinforma I manipula e Asamblea General di Nashonan Uni, resolushon 945, den un kontraversial I disputa voto, pa deskarga Hulanda di su obligashonan di raporta bao di e kondishon, ku nos, komo islanan kolonisa Antiano, lo keda bao di protekshon di artikulo 73. I ku e deskargo aki por wordu revoka na kualke momento den futuro, I ku esaki tabata un garantia pa nos, e islanan Antiano kolonisa  pa por bin bek bati na porta di Nashonan Uni si mester.                  E ehersisio aki di Nashonan Uni tabata pasobra ku mayoria no a konfia e gobiernu Hulandes ku su deber tabata pa kumpli ku igualdat politiko di akuerdo ku standardnan di propio-gobernashon. Na luga di esaki Hulanda a dirigi Antias den direkshon di outo-destrukshon ku a sosede na 10-10-10 ku desmantelashon di Antia Hulandes I Hulanda a re-kaptura , aneksa I okupa e islanan mas chikitu I indefenso di Sint Eustatius, Boneiru I Saba i a start un era nobo di rekolonisashon den region di Karibe.

Pa finalisa nos kier rekorda Sr Plasterk I koleganan ku resientemente den un seminario di Komite Spesial di Dekolonisashon C24 di Asamblea General di Nashonan Uni a wordu raporta ku Hulanda ta posee atrobe kolonianan den Karibe( islanan BES) I ku Nashonan Uni a determina ku kolonialismo ta krimen kontra humanidat I ku e pueblo, e suidadanonan di e teritorio kolonisa tin derecho di usa tur medio ku nan ta desea pa sali for di bao di kolonialismo I esaki ta di akuerdo ku Nashonan Uni I ley internashonal.

Sinceramente,

James Finies, Fundashon Nos Kier Boneiru Bek


21 July 2017

‘Secret Code’: A Book Of Virgin Islands Triumph And Struggles

Press Release


A book that offers an exclusive glimpse into the Virgin Islands’ triumph, struggles, resilience and exploration (was) launched on June 20.


The book, titled ‘Secret Code’: British Virgin Islands’ is penned by Mrs. Mitsy J. Ellis-Simpson and will be launched through the collaborative efforts of the author and the Department of Culture.

Director of the Department of Culture, Mrs. Luce Hodge-Smith said that the department continues to promote literary arts in the Virgin Islands and that the novel contains comprehensive up-to-date facts on the economic history and current affairs of the British Virgin Islands.

Mrs. Hodge-Smith added, “We, at the Department of Culture, are always pleased to learn of authors writing and finding ways to document Virgin Islands culture and heritage. We are especially pleased to learn of the book, ‘Secret Code: British Virgin Islands’ and would like to congratulate Mrs. Ellis-Simpson and wish her success on all her future endeavours.”

Author, Mitsy J. Ellis-Simpson said her book goes far beyond navigating the World's Sailing Capital, and is packed with exclusive content.

She added that it is the first publication that beautifully illustrates the political, economic and social environment of the British Virgin Islands.

Mrs. Ellis-Simpson said, “The book presents a thrilling experience of struggles, triumph and resilience like none other. Whether you are an investor, a citizen, a tourist, a student, a financial professional or just a passerby, Secret Code: British Virgin Islands is a book for everyone which amplifies our vision of “Nature’s Little Secrets”, the British Virgin Islands.”
.....

For more information on the latest addition in literary collections, persons can visit the Government of the Virgin Islands YouTube channel or use the following link to view the interview with author, Mrs. Mitsy Ellis-Simpson and Director of Culture, Mrs. Luce Hodge-Smith at https://www.youtube.com/BVIGovernment
Author

20 July 2017

Decolonisation could be taught in Guam schools


RNZ


Guam's Department of Education is formulating a plan to incorporate teaching about the self-determination vote and decolonisation in the local school curriculum.




Amanda Blas. 
Photo: Guam Governor's office


The department is currently working with the Commission on Decolonisation on the framework.

The executive director of the commission Amanda Blas said the aim was for the amended curriculum to start in kindergarten and be taught right through to high school.

Ms Blas said the new material would be added to existing subjects such as history and social studies, but she said the plan was still a work in progress.

"In the next couple of days the working session will happen, where we can discuss the curriculum framework more. Right now the commission is also looking at the possibility of strictly targeting high school students who will be able to vote for the plebiscite when the self-determination vote does happen," she said.

"Nothing has been finalised, but we have some great ideas and a bunch of the commission members and of course Guam's Department of Education are working together to really help see this through."

19 July 2017

Puerto Rico Fiscal Fiasco: Congressional Abdication of Territorial Clause Power


by Howard Hills

Legal counsel in the National Security Council for territorial status issues in the Reagan Administration; and author of the recent book on Puerto Rico




In 1961, President Kennedy signed an administrative order that limited federal oversight in Puerto Rico, creating conditions for the fiscal “perfect storm” now engulfing the island. The federal control board included in the House recovery bill for Puerto Rico appears to be the most direct and practical way to correct the mistake Congress made by going along with JFK’s intrusion into its territorial clause powers. Those in Puerto Rico who oppose the control board have offered no viable alternative, and want federal assistance without accountability.

But accountability at the federal level is the topic of a recent commentary published by Puerto Rico Report that examines President Kennedy’s 1961 directive drastically limiting federal management of Puerto Rico policy affairs by the U.S. Department of the Interior. With the stroke of a pen Kennedy exempted the “commonwealth” regime of territorial government from coordinated federal oversight that had been provided by territorial policy staff at DOI for decades, and continues to this day for all territories except Puerto Rico.

Just as Congress has accepted for more than a century the federal court decisions that say that the U.S. Constitution applies to Puerto Rico by analogy to the states rather than directly, for more than half a century Congress allowed Puerto Rico to take on debt using the illusion of federal backing. The local political party favoring the current status quo even invented the myth that “fiscal autonomy” was a “pillar of commonwealth, ” at the same time the illusion of federal backing was being used to debt finance expansion of local government programs and services.

The local party propounding “autonomy” opposes statehood or true nationhood, the only two status options that would mean real autonomy for Puerto Rico. Indeed, a former Governor from the autonomist party favoring the current status boasted recently that he had helped kill a 1998 bill that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives but died in the U.S. Senate. That bill would have allowed a federally sponsored vote in Puerto Rico between statehood, nationhood and the current status as defined by federal law, but the autonomist party lobbyists — including the same former Governor — joined forces with those who denied democratic self-determination to 3.5 million U.S. citizens in the last large U.S. territory.

Yet, only statehood or nationhood would end the current territory status in which a federal control board is within the power Congress exercises over the island. That is why 54% of voters rejected the status quo in a 2012 referendum, and 61% chose statehood, leading Congress in 2014 to authorize and fund a federally recognized vote to confirm the 2012 results.

The current fiscal meltdown has been used as an excuse by the anti-statehood autonomist party to delay that vote. Instead of recognizing that the non-sovereign status is the problem and statehood or nationhood is the solution, Republicans and Democrats in Congress are in denial that the “commonwealth” regime that abused its credit authority is a creation of Congress.

It is Congress that allowed the federal entity for administration of local civil affairs it instituted under a local constitution in 1952 to incur $70 billion in unfunded debt obligations. Yet, beguiled by wily Wall Street lobbyists, whose clients are scrambling for priority in any federal debt workout program for Puerto Rico, most in Congress have been chanting a “No bailout” and “Blame it on Puerto Rico” mantra.

As Congress evaded and avoided its historical and constitutional role in guiding territories to a permanent status, the local government emulated its “parent” government in Washington by making promises it could not keep without borrowing more money than it could afford to repay. Those who argue that is not Congress’ problem need to think again.

Congress retains full, unrestrained, plenary powers of sovereignty over Puerto Rico. The “commonwealth” regime of territorial government exists at the pleasure of Congress, and its delegated powers of “internal sovereignty” are limited to purely local matters not otherwise governed by federal law. So if we are talking about blame, let’s begin with the advent of the so-called “commonwealth” model of in Puerto Rico since 1952.


READ THE FULL ANALYSIS HERE .

18 July 2017

‘Formal apologies for slavery only if it doesn’t cost anything’



Caribbean Network

NEDERLAND   


Pieter Hofmann

AMSTERDAM – As the annual commemoration of the abolition of slavery is observed, the discussion on dealing with this highly sensitive subject continues. At the United Nations Summit in 2001, the Dutch government expressed regret for the actions of the colony in the past.

According to activist Leroy Lucas the Netherlands must extend formal apologizes. Expressing regret and a formal apology are two different things, says writer and jurist Kenneth Manusama. “The difference is that with the Netherlands only expressing regret it cannot be penalized.”

Formal apologies are an upside to legal liability. This can trigger a flow of litigation. Lucas finds this a good step. “As a civilized country this is not unusual.”

However, the legal path to recovery payments is complex. The crime should’ve been punishable during the time it was committed. Manusama: “The abolition of slavery happened in 1870. So for a long time it was unclear whether the slave trade and slavery was legal or not.”

Grey area

Manusama speaks of a legal grey area. In the second half of the 19th century slavery was abolished through legislation in various countries. It was not until 1890 that a treaty prohibited slavery under international law.

However, according to Lucas the trans-Atlantic Slavery was recognized as a crime against humanity at the United Nations Summit in 2001. “The UN states: at that time it was immoral and punishable.”

The Dutch government is afraid of claims for damages and prefers to remain silent. An ordinary money issue? Manusama: “Yes. They try to avoid legal risk. As soon as the Netherlands with all its legal experts, believe that there is no legal implications for a claim for damages, they offer formal apologies. Because then it cost them nothing.”

Limit on recovery payments

The various calculations for recovery payments for the trans-Atlantic slavery vary widely. The material part of a claim for damages is usually easy to convey in amounts. Lucas mentions the 122-year repayment by Haiti as a price for independence from colonizer France. Manusama: “But in the case of intangible damage it becomes difficult. You have the chance that the judge decides on a symbolic amount and says: the state is responsible, but what consequences were related is too difficult to determine.”

Allocation of a mega sum seems unlikely Manusama thinks. According to him this is why it is better to invest in education, for example offer lessons on the colonial past in the curriculum and establish a slavery museum. “If you bet on things other than money, you may get progress.”

Not a priority
Historian Frank Dragtenstein mainly detects unwillingness and disinterest from the Dutch government. “I do not have the idea that it’s a priority, let alone compensation payments. I think, at first, that the African-Antillean-Surinamese community has to ensure the transfer of that history to their younger generations.” Lucas: “It’s not, or-or, but, and-and. Institutions such as a slavery museum must be created. But really too much mistakes were made in attempts for repayments.”

17 July 2017

Bevacqua: Independence group (Guam) educates community



Michael Lujan Bevacqua
for


Michael Lujan Bevacqua is an author, artist, activist 
and assistant professor of Chamorro Studies at the University of Guam.


I am fortunate to be a co-chair for the community group Independent Guåhan, whose mission is to educate the island about the importance of Guam’s decolonization and the possibilities should Guam become an independent country. Our group is part of the Independence for Guam Task Force, which is in turn part of the Commission on Decolonization. My co-chair is Victoria Leon Guerrero.


It is a common, albeit unfounded criticism of our outreach that we are simply offering flowery, philosophical ideas but no real information or concrete facts. This is hardly the case. Each month, our group organizes a number of different types of educational meetings, sometimes for groups as large as 40, others aimed at an audience of four. For each event, members and volunteers for Independent Guåhan conduct research and prepare educational materials.

At the end of each of our monthly general assemblies, we break into small groups and collect feedback and questions that we later incorporate into what we research and present in the future.

READ MORE:



Part of the reason our efforts are sometimes criticized is simply the nature of the task. Speaking about independence or any other political status change is largely notional, because it is about what lies ahead, following the holding of a decolonization plebiscite and subsequent negotiations with the U.S. government. Providing concrete projections or plans is possible, but it’s akin to attempting to describe in detail what your life will be like 10, 20 or 30 years from now. You can have a sense of what might happen, you can hope your life will unfold according to plan, but it relies on a great many assumptions.

This doesn’t mean education around decolonization is useless or empty. On the contrary, what is important at this stage is looking at potential models Guam can emulate, or at least learn from, in terms of conceiving its own development. Missing the decolonization boat that shook the world in the first few decades following World War II was unfortunate in one sense, but in another it gives us the chance to see the paths others have taken.

Last month we held a general assembly in the village of Malesso’, with more than 50 people in attendance. The focus was on looking at government models around the world that could help an independent Guåhan increase accountability to its constituents, while decreasing possibilities for corruption and malfeasance. Ray Lujan, an intern for the group, discussed the Nordic model used with great effectiveness by Scandinavian countries, the “Pura Vida” approach that has led to great prosperity in Costa Rica, as well as reforms enacted by Singapore and New Zealand.

There are elements of these models that can be implemented now, but we must always keep an eye on the horizon and not forget the ultimate goal must be to end this era of colonization and bring the island to an era of true self-government.

If you are interested in attending the next general assembly, it will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. June 29 at the Toto Community Center. The focus will be on the impacts of U.S. military dumping on Guam and creative ways of dealing with crime and vandalism in Guam’s villages.



13 July 2017

Ghana launches its first satellite into space


The development team behind the satellite

Ghana has successfully launched its first satellite into space.

GhanaSat-1, which was developed by students at All Nations University in Koforidua, was sent into orbit from the International Space Centre.

Cheers erupted as 400 people, including the engineers, gathered in the southern Ghanaian city to watch live pictures of the launch. The first signal was received shortly afterwards.

It is the culmination of a two-year project, costing $50,000 (£40,000).

It received support from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The satellite will be used to monitor Ghana's coastline for mapping purposes, and to build capacity in space science and technology.

Project coordinator Dr Richard Damoah said it marked a new beginning for the country.

"It has opened the door for us to do a lot of activities from space," he told the BBC.

He said it would "also help us train the upcoming generation on how to apply satellites in different activities around our region.

"For instance, [monitoring] illegal mining is one of the things we are looking to accomplish."


Requête de la Polynésie française pour la compensation des essais nucléaires



L'association 193 demande un référendum sur les essais nucléaires pour provoquer un débat sur la question.
L'association 193 demande un référendum sur les essais nucléaires pour provoquer un débat sur la question.
PAPEETE, le 3 juillet 2017. L'association 193 a annoncé qu'elle comptait 53 053 signatures à sa pétition pour demander un référendum local. 

A l'occasion de la commémoration des 51 ans du 1er essai nucléaire en Polynésie française le 2 juillet 1966, l'association 193 a organisé une marche pacifique à la presqu'île. Jeudi, les membres de l'association étaient à Tautira. Vendredi, ils se sont rendus à Taravao avant de prendre la direction de Teahupo'o samedi. Dimanche matin, une messe à l'intention des "malades et défunts liés aux essais nucléaires à la paroisse Christ-Roi de Pamatai Faa'a" était organisée.

Dimanche soir, l'association 193 a assisté à la commémoration des 51 ans du 1er essai nucléaire en Polynésie française. A cette occasion, elle a souligné qu'elle comptait 53 053 signatures à sa pétition pour demander un référendum local.
Le 2 juillet 1966, la Polynésie entrait dans l’ère nucléaire avec le premier essai Aldébaran tiré depuis Moruroa. Cinquante ans après, l'association 193 demande un référendum sur les essais nucléaires pour provoquer un débat sur la question.

Pour rappel, fin janvier, l’association 193 a créé une Cellule d’accompagnement et de réparation des victimes liées aux essais nucléaires (Carven) chargée de faciliter, à travers la Polynésie, la constitution de dossiers de demandes d'indemnisation sous l'égide de la loi Morin.

L'association 193 a été créée fin 2014. Elle tient son nom du nombre d'essais nucléaires (atmosphériques, de sécurité et souterrains) réalisés sur les atolls de Moruroa et Fangataufa entre 1966 et 1996. 

L'association 193 a organisé une marche pacifique la semaine dernière.
L'association 193 a organisé une marche pacifique la semaine dernière.

09 July 2017

Finance Minister: Bermuda Under Threat From European Union

Royal Gazette

Bermuda’s international standing as a business destination is again under attack by the European Union, according to finance minister Bob Richards.

Mr Richards said that this month the Bermuda Government received a questionnaire from the EU’s Code of Conduct Group which he said was intended to harm the island’s position in international business.

Mr Richards said: “The questionnaire is designed to lead to a predetermined conclusion that Bermuda is a tax haven that is harmful to the global economy, and the EU in particular, and therefore should be placed on an economic blacklist.

“This, despite the fact that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Financial Action Task Force to combat money laundering have concluded that Bermuda is not ‘harmful’ in its conduct or the application of its laws in the global economy. The first attempt by the Code of Conduct Group to blacklist Bermuda in 2015 was thoroughly repudiated by the OECD and was dropped, but this latest attempt has been more cleverly constructed and poses a much greater threat.

“We believe it constitutes a clear and present danger to our international business sector.”

Mr Richards said that the questionnaire was received by e-mail on June 9, and if the Government fails to respond by July 7, the island will be deemed non-compliant by the organisation.

Richards said that he believed the questionnaire had been sent to multiple jurisdictions, not just Bermuda, and that the Government would be willing to release the questionnaire — and government’s response — publicly.

Mr Richards defended the island’s reputation saying Bermuda had spent a great deal of time and money to stay ahead of the curve for international taxation and information sharing, saying that the island is being used as a political scapegoat.

“Bermuda does not hide beneficial ownership from tax, regulatory or law enforcement agencies,” he said. “Bermuda does not create structures designed to obscure where income is earned. Bermuda is not the jurisdiction of choice for hundreds of thousands of multinationals seeking to create shell corporations. Other jurisdictions are.

“Scapegoating Bermuda plays well in some European countries for political reasons. It also assumes that Bermuda is weak and defenseless.

“But we are not. We will fight. We will fight this unjust attack on the livelihoods of thousands of Bermudians employed in the financial services business or those who depend indirectly on that sector for support. We will fight to preserve our sovereign right to determine tax policy for Bermudian companies.”

While he said that Brexit had reduced the UK’s influence on the EU, he said Bermuda still had “private sector partners and overseas-based friends” who will work with the island as it defends its reputation.

“Our first priority is to answer the questionnaire clearly and logically,” he said. “If there are any biases in the questions, we will point them out and propose alternatives that demonstrate our role in co-operation, transparency and reporting.

“With the questionnaire submitted by the deadline date, we will follow with a campaign enlisting the support of our contacts within the EU and elsewhere that we have built up in recent years.

“I am confident we will prevail. We have worked long and hard to establish our reputation as a jurisdiction with integrity and the highest standards of transparency and best practice.

“We will fight to protect our reputation and the livelihoods of thousands of Bermudians who rely on that reputation for their livelihoods.”

06 July 2017

BERMUDA RACIAL JUSTICE PLATFORM 2017








Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda has released its 2017 Racial Justice Platform, urging political candidates to take action which will bring about “greater racial justice and economic   equity” in Bermuda.

In a statement released this afternoon, Curb outlined the importance of racial justice and asked political parties, their candidates and all independents, to respond to their 27-point platform.

“In November 2012 Curb released its first ever Racial Justice Platform prior to the December 17, 2012 election,” said the statement. “We knew that race would come up in the 2012 election, as it continues to do in the 2017 election, and Curb was seeking to direct the discussion in a more constructive and proactive way.

“We hoped that the concrete actions outlined in the 2012 Platform would allow political parties and their candidates the ability to consider, comment and endorse the 15-point plan and more importantly take actions on the 2012 recommendations and move the discussion forward to create greater equity and justice.

“Unfortunately only one recommendation was fully achieved, the decriminalisation of marijuana. In May 2017 legislation was finally passed with bipartisan support.

“A few other recommendations have been driven by community-led initiatives such as support for a reconciliation process. Failing any concrete political action, Curb moved to a community process and began the Truth and Reconciliation Community Conversations in January 2017.”

The statement continues: “Movement towards a greater use of restorative practices in our criminal justice system has occurred with support from Chief Justice Ian Kawaley and Senior Magistrate Juan Wolffe, as well as restorative justice processes in the Corrections Department. However, the choice of a methodology, process and timeline has yet to be publicly put in place for the entire criminal justice system.

“We hope the introduction of equality impact assessments might become a reality and receive bipartisan support as there has been a commitment by the Progressive Labour Party to introduce legislation.

“Many of the other 2012 recommendations were critically important to bringing about racial justice and equity, i.e. a Workforce Equity Bill; scholarships for Bermudian students to study overseas after completing Bermuda College; mandatory reporting of wealth; a capital gains tax; repeal of Section 315F of the Criminal Code stop and search legislation; and a racial equity index to ensure progress is occurring.

“Curb believes that if more of the 2012 recommendations had been implemented it would have gone some way to staunch the exodus of so many Bermudians, and mitigate the distrust, economic disparity and social unrest that has been increasing in our community over the last several years. If Bermuda is to become truly united, there must be healing, equal opportunity, educational advancement, economic equity and the ability to measure progress.
“We urge the politicians and candidates to study and consider the 2017 recommendations and we encourage the people of Bermuda to ask the candidates questions about their commitment to racial justice and equity in our society.

“We hope that both political parties and the candidates will study the 2017 Racial Justice Platform and publicly provide comment and support so that Bermudians understand their position on these matters that are of great importance to anyone who cares for equality and the future stability of our society.”

05 July 2017

PERPETUAL FINANCIAL CONTROL INTEGRAL TO NETHERLANDS COLONIAL PLAN TO GOVERN ITS CARIBBEAN DEPENDENCIES

"Under this thinking, the European Dutch must be allowed to tell the people of  the Dutch Caribbean dependencies how to spend their own money. Such arrogance! So, according to them we don't have the mental capacity to handle our own financial management, and will need them - forever.  The wisdom of former President of Tanzania Julius Nyerere has never been more appropriate: 'It is better to govern, or mis-govern yourself, than to be governed by anybody else.' At what point will the wider region come to the realization that such Dutch colonial maneuvering is not at all in the Caribbean's interest?" -  a Caribbean economist
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Permanent Supervision Of Finances Of The Former Antilles Islands



Age Bakker (2)
THE HAGUE - The former Netherlands Antilles must continue to be under financial supervision in the future. This is according to Age Bakker, who departs after six years as chairman of the temporary Committee for Financial Supervision (CFT).

According to the economist, the supervision increases the attractiveness of investing and reduces the risk that the Netherlands has to step in for financial mismanagement.
“The carrot and stick approach applies here,” says Bakker. “The carrot is that the islands can borrow cheap money abroad via the Netherlands.” For example, the island states of Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Aruba and the three overseas municipalities of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, can take advantage of the good reputation of the Netherlands on the International capital markets. “The stick is that independent financial supervision also has control by giving directions.”

Carrot and stick? Apparently he is serious... 


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The Daily Herald


Bosman Seeks Clarity On Permanent Supervision

andrebosmanTHE HAGUE - Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party wants to know if the Dutch Government agrees with the statement that financial supervision in the Dutch Caribbean should become permanent.
Bosman sent a series of questions to caretaker Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk on Wednesday following a media statement of departing Committee for Financial Supervision CFT Chairman Age Bakker who said he was in favour of maintaining the current financial supervision in a more permanent format.
The Member of Parliament (MP) asked the Minister whether he agreed with the permanent instituting of financial supervision on the six Dutch Caribbean islands. When the current supervision was instituted in 2010, it was agreed that the supervision, in principle, would be of a temporary nature and that the measure aimed at securing sound Government finances would be regularly evaluated.
Bosman also wanted to know to what extent a permanent version of financial supervision in the Dutch Caribbean would limit the financial risk for the Netherlands and to what degree the Netherlands would have to take the rap for “financial mismanagement” of the Caribbean countries of the Kingdom.
“Do you agree with the statement of Mr. Bakker that permanent financial supervision for the islands would reduce the risk that the Netherlands would have to cover for financial mismanagement?” Bosman asked the Minister.
The MP inquired whether the Minister would incorporate the advice of the departing CFT Chairman in next year’s evaluation of the current agreement between the Netherlands and the Dutch Caribbean islands. He asked whether the Second Chamber would be involved in this evaluation and when the results of this evaluation would be sent to Parliament.
In a separate series of questions, Bosman sought clarity on the most recent advice of the Aruba Committee for Financial Supervision CAFT to implement a general commitment and vacancy stop for the Aruba Government.
Having analysed the first progress report of 2017 of the Country Aruba, CAFT concluded that the deficit in the collective sector in the first quarter amounted to 1.1 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which was higher than the 0.5 per cent GDP deficit standard for the full year.
The financial results over the first quarter were at such level that the CAFT advised to implement a vacancy stop and a commitment stop. At the beginning of this year more people have entered public service, which is not in line with Government’s intention to save five per cent on Government staff annually.
Bosman asked Minister Plasterk whether he agreed with the CAFT advice to implement a general commitment and vacancy stop, and whether he found it desirable that the Aruba Government didn’t agree with this advice.
“Why has the civil servants corps increased with 18 full-time employees? What should be the consequences of Aruba’s refusal to cooperate with the CAFT advices,” the MP wanted to know.
Tuesday’s arrest of two employees of Curaçao’s Admittance Organisation, formerly the Immigration Department, on corruption charges was reason for Bosman to inquire about that case. He asked Minister Plasterk for clarification on this specific case that involved the department head.
The MP wanted to know in what way the suspects committed fraud with applications for residency permits and the issuing of these permits. He asked about the consequences of this fraud on the issuing of Dutch passports to “persons who didn’t have a right” to acquiring a passport, and whether the Netherlands would be involved in the handling of this case.


04 July 2017

Fourth of July Like You’ve Never Seen It Before!


by Mike Ferner

"Slaves weren’t included in 'We the People,' they were only the property of their owners."


A historically critical article about the American Revolution would typically discuss how the democratic promises of the Declaration were left hanging at war’s end, followed by a decidedly undemocratic constitution six years later.Examples of that would include abandoning ideals stated in the Declaration like: “all men (sic) are created equal” and have unassailable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It could cite that: 

Slaves weren’t included in “We the People,” they were only the property of their owners. Because this human property, unlike a bale of cotton, could plan to run away, particular attention was paid to securing it. “A person (the indelicate word “slave” never appeared) held to service or labor in one state…escaping to another…shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.” (Art. IV, sec. 2 [1])

To appease Southerners interested in gaining the maximum number of seats in the new House of Representatives, the Fathers of Our Country declared, in writing, that these “other persons” would each count as three-fifths of a human. (Art. I, sec. 2 [1])
Women did not have the right to vote, nor did Catholics and Jews in some states. White, Protestant, men had to own qualifying amounts of property. Thus, only about 6% [2] of the new nation’s population was eligible to vote in the first presidential election and only 1.3%, or 38,818 [3] people actually did. 

Even those so privileged didn’t actually vote for a presidential candidate. They voted for “electors” pledged to vote for certain candidates and even then, four of the state legislatures picked [3] those electors, not voting citizens.
State legislatures, not citizens, chose U.S. Senators until the Constitution was amended in 1913 [4].

Clearly, there are reasons to ask what the Founders of Our Country were up to and what our fireworks every Fourth of July about.

But this year, let’s investigate further: was war the only or even the best way to achieve what we now see was more limited than what we were taught?

Who better to proffer that question than the people’s historian, Howard Zinn?

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE

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