31 October 2010

Reflections on the Dissolution of a Country

Bonaire Reporter

 10/10/10-  Bonaire is now an integral part of The Netherlands.
Pabien, Congrats, Gefeliciteerd. Nos ta den un Reino ku a renase. We live in a reborn Kingdom. We leven in een herboren Koninkrijk! With our will in the right direction, we will reap new fortunes…”  Message from Bonaire Governor Glenn Thodé on 10/10/10.

 10/18/2010- The October 22- Nov. 8 edition of The Bonaire Reporter

Commentary on the moment of transition: 
  -Special to The Bonaire Reporter 
 by Norwin E. Leito
     Journalist for Papiamentu language media.

" It was Saturday night. Bands were playing music. Some people were dancing. Other people were having a cold beverage. Important people were speaking on the stage. Well, it is now almost 12 o’ clock at midnight. Almost everybody was curious to know what was going to happen when the children, the islands of the Dutch Antilles, separated and Bonaire became a public entity of Holland. 

A local singer sang a very sad song in which he said goodbye to the Antilles. It was a covered song of Eva Peron. The original song is: “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina.”  The Antillean flag went down. Many people were dressed in black. Were they really aware of this or was it just a coincidence?

  In a way we could say that there was a certain feeling of funeral. It is not that there was never a fight between the islands. However, there was still a feeling of “we.” Now it feels as if the family has been torn apart. Everyone could see the beautiful fireworks in the sky. But one really could feel the nostalgia among the people.

One guy tried to congratulate two other guys who were passing by. But they really did not appreciate this and they said that according to them there was no reason at all for congratulations. They even were ready to fight. In general, during the day of Rincon or other cultural events, the faces are happy. Unfortunately, on this day many people were looking very sad. There were even some people who could not hold their tears. I am one of those people to be honest. I feel that I have lost my brothers and sisters. In other words: the other islands.

  The politicians have their reason to do what they are doing. But the most important thing that’s affecting the local people is “fear.” They are afraid because they say that they are not well informed. One can hear them talking in the local bars. Most of them do not have any idea of what this transition really means. Some think that the Dutch are taking over the place. Others think that they are about to lose their identity. Well, in general, one feels comfortable when a situation is predictable. 

Despite this we do not know what changes this transition will bring. It might bring positive things. So I guess that the best thing is to try to live in harmony with each other, give our contribution each day to Bonaire, and together we can help Bonaire to progress. If it progresses, all of us will pick the fruits. 

God bless our Flamingo Island."
WILLEMSTAD- -The Netherlands Antilles no longer exists, but the bonds between families on the various islands still do.

However, there is as yet no cooperation arrangement between the new entities that allows easy passage between neighboring Dutch islands using only a sedula (ID card). The Reporter was informed that this is recognized as a problem and is being reviewed by the appropriate authorities.

- Bonaire Reporter

29 October 2010

Military Build-up in Guam an attempt to Contain China - UK Telegraph

The US Is Building An £8 Billion Super Military Base On the Pacific Island of Guam In An Attempt to Contain China's Military Build-Up.

by Praveen Swami, Diplomatic Editor

The expansion will include a dock for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, a missile defence system, live-fire training sites and the expansion of the island's airbase. It will be the largest investment in a military base in the western Pacific since the Second World War, and the biggest spend on naval infrastructure in decades. However, Guam residents fear the build-up could hurt their ecosystem and tourism-dependent economy.

Estimates suggest that the island's population will rise by almost 50 per cent from its current 173,000 at the peak of construction. It will eventually house 19,000 Marines who will be relocated from the Japanese island of Okinawa, where the US force has become unpopular.

The US's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that this could trigger serious water shortages. The EPA said that dredging the harbour to allow an aircraft carrier to berth would damage 71 acres of pristine coral reefs. The EPA's report said the build-up would "exacerbate existing substandard environmental conditions on Guam".

Local residents' concerns, however, have been sidelined by the US-China strategic competition. China has significantly expanded its fleet during the past decade, seeking to deter the US from intervening militarily in any future conflict over Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own, and to project power across disputed territories in the gas and oil-rich South China Sea.

Beijing's naval build-up is also intended secure the sea lanes from the Middle East, from where China will import an estimated 70-80 per cent of its oil needs by 2035 supplies it fears US could choke in the event of a conflict. China has therefore invested in what are called its "string of pearls" a network of bases strung along the Indian Ocean rim, like Hambantota in Sri Lanka and Gwadar in Pakistan and in developing a navy which can operate far from home.

Experts agree China does not currently have the capability to challenge US supremacy in the Pacific and Indian Ocean. "China has a large appetite", says Carl Ungerer, an analyst at Australian Strategic Policy Institute, "but it hasn't got enough teeth".  But China clearly intends to add bite to its naval arsenal. The country has acquired several modern Russian-made submarines and destroyers. Its shipyards are building new nuclear-powered submarines, as well as an aircraft carrier. There have also been reports that China is planning to test a new type of ballistic missile, the Dong Feng 21D, which would effectively render US carriers defenceless.

"China's charm offensive is over", says Ian Storey, an expert at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, "and its given way to what you might call an adolescent foreign policy. The country's flexing its muscles, letting us know it won't be pushed around".

The US is also investing another £126 million on upgrading infrastructure at the British-owned Indian Ocean atoll of Diego Garcia, 700 miles south of Sri Lanka. Key among the upgrades at Diego Garcia, which are due for completion in 2013, will be the capability to repair a nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine which can carry up to 154 cruise missiles striking power equivalent to that of an entire US aircraft carrier battle group. Diego Garcia, which has served as a launch-pad for air strikes on Iraq and Afghanistan, is already home to one third of what the US navy calls its Afloat Prepositioned Force equipment kept on standby to support military deployment anywhere in the world.

24 October 2010

Caribbean Legal Expert Reflects on Legacy of Edward Wilmot Blyden

Blyden was born in the Danish West Indies  (presently the U.S. Virgin Islands) to free parents on 3rd  August 1832.


16 OCTOBER 2010

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

A Presentation by

Judith L. Bourne, J.D., LL.M.

I thank the St. Thomas Reformed Church and its 350thAnniversary committee, especially the indefatigable Roland Euwema for inviting me to participate in this important celebration.

We know that Edward Wilmot Blyden was a genius and that his genius manifested itself in many, often long-lasting, ways. Some of the beneficiaries of that genius, such as Marcus Garvey, John Henrik Clarke, and Kwame Nkrumah, were very much aware of their debt to Edward Wilmot Blyden. Some, such as the US Black Power advocates of the 1970s and 1980s, may not have been aware.

During most of Blyden’s lifetime (3 August 1832 – 7 February 1912), there was no movement known as Pan-Africanism. That term did not begin to become current until the first Pan-African meeting in London in 1900, which was organized by a Trinidad barrister, Henry Sylvester Williams, with the objective of "bringing into closer touch with each other the Peoples of African descent throughout the world."

However, forty years before that meeting, Blyden lectured, wrote and taught the concept of an African personality. He ascribed to the then current “scientific” belief that there were distinct and differing races. European and European-descended peoples of the USA believed that the races were ranked hierarchically, with themselves at the top and the “race” which they most exploited at that time to develop their own wealth - Africans - at the bottom. Of course, this was a highly practical arrangement for them.

Blyden countered this “common knowledge” of the time with the concept that no race was better than any other but that each race had its own personality or genius, which contributed to the completeness of humankind and that each had developed a way of life, a culture, appropriate to its circumstances. Africans, or Negroes (he used the terms interchangeably to refer to African peoples throughout the world) therefore should not attempt to copy Europeans or European-descended peoples, but should develop themselves and their race in accordance with their specific racial qualities as seen in the traditional societies of Africans living outside the influence of Europeans.

Politically, Blyden campaigned for the establishment of a modern West African state, perhaps with Liberia as the core, that was respectful of African customs and institutions and which would protect and promote the interests of African peoples everywhere. Let me give you an example of Blyden’s Pan-Africansim affecting real life.

On one of his two trips back to North America and the Caribbean, he sent messages to various islands encouraging emigration to Liberia. One of those messages went to the African Colonization Society of
Barbados, which had as its treasurer a leading merchant, London Bourne. Although he was in his 70s and too old to go himself, he helped to organize the expedition and his daughter, Sarah Ann Bourne Barclay, her husband, Anthony Barclay and their eleven children were among the 346 persons who landed in Liberia from Barbados in 1865 on the ship “Cora”. One of their children, Arthur Barclay grew up in Liberia and became Postmaster-General and later President of Liberia 1904 - 1912. As Arthur Barclay attended Liberia College, probably in the late 1870s, it is likely that he was once again influenced by Blyden during that time. Although he was not at the College at that time, he was very active in educational and political circles.

Blyden was completely a man of his time, while at the same time transcending that time. He was a Victorian man, but had the unusual ability to approach the objects of his study with an open and analytical mind and considerable intellectual curiosity. One major object of his study were the African societies located awayfrom the coast that remained uninfluenced by Europe or America and that maintained their traditional civilization, He had the opportunity to do this work when he served in Sierra Leone as Government Agent to the Interior 1871-73 when he was sent on a mission to the tribes in the interior of Sierra Leone by the British government, and as Liberia’s Minister of the Interior 1880-84.

While maintaining his strong devotion to Christianity, Blyden could separate the doctrines of that religion from the European culture with which it had become encrusted. He could therefore appreciate that the manner in which Islam was propagated amongst Africans was much more beneficial to Africans because the missionaries of Islam taught the doctrines of the religion without attempting to change the basic culture of the people - one did not have to become Arabized to become Muslim - and once there were sufficient converts who knew and understood the Koran, the missionaries withdrew and allowed the new Muslims to continue the work. However, as he set forth in his acclaimed book, “Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race” in 1887, the practice of Christian missionaries was to Europeanize the convert and to maintain direct supervision and control. This, Blyden said, caused the Christianised African to look to all things European as the good, which he as an African could, of course, never achieve, and that crushed his self-esteem or as Blyden referred to it, his manliness. Blyden pointed out the results of this in the everyday life of Liberia. These observations and analyses are the basis of the book. The book caused great consternation and dispute when it was first published in England, not just, or even mainly, because of its content, but because, due to its high quality, the Europeans refused to believe that it had been written by a “Negro”.

But Blyden also transcended his times by confronting and refuting the then current doctrines of African inferiority by going back to the works of classical Greece and Rome which indicated that Africans are the originators of civilisation and, as he saw it, the guardians of spirituality for the human race. Blyden insisted on using these classics as the basis for the curriculum in Liberia College not only because he believed in their educational value, but also because there was nothing in those classical works of Greece and Rome which denigrates Africans.

From his experience with the racism he had met in the US (which by the way, was not just what we would now refer to as discrimination because of his race, but his very realistic fear that he might be seized and sold into slavery in the South) and the attitudes of the missionary societies, Blyden became convinced that African people could never fully develop themselves in a modern industrial world except in their own country and by their own efforts. He therefore encouraged the emigration of qualified, trained and experienced Africans from North America and the Caribbean to West Africa for what we would today refer to as “nation-building”.
He saw all Africans, wherever they lived, as one race whose people needed to unite in the interest of the race as a whole.

He founded several newspapers, both in Liberia and in Sierra Leone. He named his 1870's newspaper “The Negro” and stated as its purpose “to recognize and greet the brotherhood of the race wherever found.”

In his first book (1857 - A Vindication of the African Race;...), Blyden stated “We need some African power, some great center of the race where our physical, pecuniary and intellectual strength may be collected.”

These principles, the oneness of the African race, its equality with other races, its distinctive attributes, the need for solidarity within the race, and the development of its homeland by its own members - remained the bedrock of the Pan-African movement throughout the twentieth century. W.E.B. Dubois and Marcus Garvey were directly inspired by Blyden. Garvey said of African-Americans and Afro-Caribbean peoples that if “you do not know anything of your ancestryit will do you well to read the works of Blyden, one of our historians and chroniclers, who has done so much to retrieve the lost prestige of the race”.

Kwame Nkrumah, the independence leader and first president of independent Ghana and the much-honored historian, the late John Henrik Clarke, attended meetings of an organization called the Blyden Society for the Study of African History in their formative years in Harlem in the 1940s.

Edward Wilmot Blyden’s ideas, including his explication of the social relations found in indigenous African societies, informed both the African Socialism of Julius Nyerere, the first President of Tanzania and the short-lived Union of African States, formed by Nkrumah of Ghana, Sekou Touré of Guinea and Modibo Kéita of Mali from 1958 to 1962, as well as the less immediately ambitious, but longer lasting, OAU.

The meetings and publications of anglophone and francophone Africans from Africa and from the Caribbean living in Europe in the 1940s and 1950s based their organizations on principles elaborated by Blyden, both in their separate languages, such as the Négritude movement of Léopold Sédar Senghor of Senegal, Léon Damas of French Guiana and Aime Césaire of Martinique, and especially in the several joint language endeavors, such as La Revue du Monde Noir, which had as its aims: “to create among the Negroes of the entire world, regardless of nationality, an intellectual, and moral tie, which will permit them to better know each other, to love one another, to defend more effectively their collective interests and to glorify their race.”

In the USA, the Nation of Islam, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and the myriad Black Power organisations of the1970s and 1980s that called on African-Americans to love themselves as themselves and to exercise self-reliance in their economic, educational and cultural endeavors all hark back to the seminal teachings of Edward Wilmot Blyden.

The legacy of Edward Wilmot Blyden has spread throughout the world as the sons and daughters of Africa are spread throughout the world and continues to reverberate. We now know that the only way to begin to secure true peace and cooperation among individuals is to ensure that each person maintains that strong and stable self-respect which enables one to have respect for others. What better legacy can one have than a body of work which encourages a people who were, and who continue to be, denigrated and abused to recognize that their true worth, ability and potential is equal to any and all others, an attitude which supports that healthy self-esteem which leads to self-reliance and commands general respect.

That legacy is a gift to the world.

21 October 2010

UN Decolonisation Cmt. Chair Visits Argentina on Falklands/Malvinas Issue

The decolonization process “is slow and requires patience, comprehension and cooperation” said (Donatus) Saint Aimée during his visit this weekend to the extreme south of Argentina the province of Tierra del Fuego, that under Argentine law has jurisdiction over the South Atlantic disputed territories.
The G24 chief who is Santa Lucia’s ambassador to UN, over the weekend and after meeting with Governor Fabiana Rios and other local authorities sailed along the Beagle channel next to the Chilean border and later met with veterans from the 1982 Malvinas conflict when Britain expelled the Argentine invasion that occupied the Falklands for 74 days.
Since arriving in Argentina last Thursday, on an invitation extended last May, Ambassador Saint Aimée has met with Foreign Affairs minister Hector Timerman, members of the Argentine Congress, war veterans and different Argentine personalities linked to the issue. President Cristina Kirchner also received the G24 chief in a special audience at Government House.
“The visit is important because it helps to collect the most information possible, to have an idea of the feelings and it all helps for a better understanding and action at the (UN) Committee. I can read hundreds of documents and resolutions, but nothing equals contact with reality”, underlined the diplomat.
However Saint Aimée was careful not to comment on the recent British military exercises in the Falklands, --strongly condemned by Argentina-- nor about the current round of hydrocarbons exploration or fisheries which are managed by the elected government of the Islands.
“I know what’s happened, but not enough. First of all I must collect all possible information to have a founded and well informed opinion”, pointed out the diplomat, who on Sunday flies back to the New York.
Ambassador Saint Aimée admitted that the G24 group has not exploited all its “potential” but under his presidency “we will be more active in the remaining decolonization list of cases”.
During this tour of Tierra del Fuego, Saint Aimée was accompanied by Argentina’s UN ambassador Jorge Argüello who said that all the contacts and information collected by the Santa Lucia diplomat “are very important for the Argentina cause”.
Saint Lucia is a member of the Commonwealth and recognizes Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state, represented on the island by a Governor General. Executive power, however, is in the hands of the Primer Minister and his cabinet. The PM is normally the head of the party commanding the support of the majority of the members of the Hose of Assembly, which has 17 seats. The other chamber of Parliament, the Senate, has 11 appointed members.
Saint Lucia joined the West Indies Federation (1958–62) when the colony was dissolved. In 1967, Saint Lucia became one of the six members of the West Indies Associated States, with internal self-government. In 1979 it gained full independence.
Saint Lucia is a member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market and home to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and La Francophonie.
- Merco Press South Atlantic News Agency

18 October 2010

Caribbean Community Statement to the United Nations on Contemporary Decolonisation

'We cannot afford to continue to pay the price of constant repetition without concrete results in... the decolonisation process." - Jamaican Ambassador Raymond Wolfe.


New York, 11 TH OCTOBER 2010

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the fourteen Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). We congratulate you and your colleague members of the bureau on your election to lead the work of this Committee. CARICOM offers you its full support as we deal collectively with the special political and decolonisation questions before us. CARICOM associates itself with the statement delivered by the delegation of Cuba on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

At the outset, CARICOM wishes to underscore the principle of the inalienable right of all peoples to self determination. The continued existence of colonialism in any form is an impediment to the social, cultural, and economic development of dependent peoples and militates against the United Nations ideal of universal peace. These words, adopted in landmark General Assembly resolution 1514 in December 1960, remain as poignant today as they were fifty years ago.

Mr. Chairman,

2010 is a hallmark year for the global decolonisation movement. In December we will mark fifty years since the adoption of resolution 1514 on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. This resolution laid the foundation for the independence of territories across Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The resolution allowed colonized peoples to be free of the shackles of colonialism and take responsibility for their own destinies and their own development.

It was not so long ago that each of the fourteen CARICOM Member States, and numerous other States present here today were listed as non self-governing territories. Many of us only achieved decolonisation through the active support and vigilance of the United Nations. We are not prepared to celebrate our independence without due regard for the peoples and countries that remain colonized. Six of these territories are in the Caribbean, and are full or associate members of CARICOM and its affiliated institutions. The issue, therefore, is of special importance to us as their status as non-self-governing territories continues to present an obstacle to regional integration.

As we celebrate fifty years of the adoption of resolution 1514, we should not forget that our task is not yet complete. Sixteen non-self-governing territories do not have a voice in deciding their own future, and the United Nations family has not had the privilege of experiencing their input into the multilateral process. The UN and its Member States have a responsibility to these Territories and their Peoples, a responsibility from which we cannot hide away. The fiftieth anniversary of resolution 1514 should serve to renew our commitment to the noble cause of decolonisation and once again, make it a priority goal.

Mr. Chairman,

2010 is also important because it marks the end of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. CARICOM is deeply concerned that whilst certain internal reforms have been enacted in several non-self-governing territories, little progress has been made in actual decolonization, consistent with the recognised legitimate political status options of independence, free association and integration throughout this second decade. CARICOM welcomes the designation of a Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, and we remain committed to playing our part to ensuring that there are tangible achievements in the goal to eradicate colonialism during this period.

For CARICOM however, the designation of a Third International Decade, is not cause for celebration, as it demonstrates that the work of the United Nations on the contemporary decolonisation process remains in a state of virtual inertia. Decolonisation has moved from the ‘unfinished agenda’ of the United Nations to the ‘un-attended agenda.’

Looking ahead to the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism we must take stock of activities during the previous International Decades, and identify what has prevented the UN from achieving the established targets. CARICOM has in the past, consistently highlighted a number of challenges affecting the achievement of the goal of eradication of colonialism, including the information deficit on decolonisation which is compounded by the lack of analysis on the constitutional, political and economic situation in the non-self-governing territories; and limited high-level focus to the decolonisation agenda.

The United Nations is at an historical crossroads. As Member States we consistently reaffirm support for the principles of self-determination and decolonisation in our statements, and in the annual adoption of resolutions on this issue. But these endorsements are not sufficient if the corresponding mandates are not operationalised. We must decide if we are going to remain true to the relevant provisions of the United Nations Charter governing self-determination and decolonization. This Third Decade presents us with the opportunity to correct the inertia that has plagued the decolonisation agenda over the past two decades and take concrete steps toward the eradication of colonialism. Full implementation of all relevant resolutions is therefore critical.

Mr. Chairman,

CARICOM fully recognizes that it is only the peoples of the non-self-governing territories that can determine their future. We welcome the progress that has been made in a number of non-self-governing territories. However, we note with deep regret the regressive steps that have been recently undertaken in the Caribbean territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

CARICOM remains concerned over the decision of the Administering Authority to dissolve the Government and legislature of the territory, as well as to suspend the right to trial by jury, and to replace the elected government with direct rule by the Administering power over the Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

CARICOM has taken note with great concern of the recently announced decision by the Administering Authority to postpone elections previously scheduled to be held in July 2011. In a statement issued on September 30 2010, CARICOM stated “…that this development reinforces the view of the Community that the imposition of direct rule is totally at odds with the development of good governance, including improved fiscal and administrative management in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the professed aim of the British Government. That objective cannot be met by the continued disenfranchisement of the Turks and Caicos Islanders, by the denial of their inalienable right to shape their own future nor by the artificial widening of the voter base. Good political and fiscal governance cannot be handed down. Its nature and contours must be molded by the people of Turks and Caicos. We reiterate the call for direct rule to be replaced by self rule and for a return to democracy for the people of Turks and Caicos Islands, an Associate Member of the Caribbean Community.”

Mr. Chairman,

CARICOM maintains its principled support for the right of the people of Western Sahara, as with all peoples in non-self governing territories, to self-determination. CARICOM commends the efforts being undertaken by the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General, Mr. Christopher Ross since his appointment, which has resulted in the re-establishment of mutual respect and dialogue between the main parties. We have taken note with concern of the suspension of family visits by air and urge their quick resumption, as well as the commencement of family visits by land.

We take note of the political process launched since April 2007 with its four rounds of negotiations and two informal meetings which took place in Austria and Westchester, New York. We encourage the parties to continue negotiating in a spirit of compromise and sincere commitment. We hope that the upcoming informal talks will pave the way to more substantive negotiations between all the parties with the objective of reaching a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution to this protracted conflict.

CARICOM also supports the call in Security Council resolution 1920 for the continuation of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations without preconditions and in good faith, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations.

Mr. Chairman,

In closing, let me take this opportunity to urge all Member States to work toward achieving the long outstanding goal of the eradication of colonialism. Let us extend ourselves beyond the academic exercise of receiving petitioners and adopting resolutions on the various aspects of the decolonization agenda.

It is often the case that the price of staying the same is far greater than the price of change. We cannot afford to continue to pay the price of constant repetition without concrete results in treating with the decolonisation process. Let us challenge ourselves to ensure that the third international decade for the elimination of colonialism is a successful one for the colonized countries and peoples.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

16 October 2010

Country St. Maarten is Born

By Judy H. Fitzpatrick
Daily Herald
Sint Maarten

PHILIPSBURG--The Netherlands Antilles flag was lowered in front of the Courthouse at the stroke of midnight Saturday (10th October 2010) and the St. Maarten flag was hoisted to mark symbolically the end of one era and the birth of new Country St. Maarten, rounding off a decade of lobbying, negotiations and agreements.
The folded Netherlands Antilles flag was presented to the St. Maarten Museum to preserve as a symbol of the dismantled Netherlands Antilles.

With the St. Maarten song playing in the background, roars of applause rang out from the crowd that gathered to witness the ceremony when the St. Maarten flag, designed by Roselle “Rosie” Richardson in 1985, was hoisted. This was followed by fireworks and a celebratory mood as officials embraced and congratulated each other on St. Maarten’s increased autonomy.

The national anthem of the Netherlands, the Wilhelmus, the anthem of the Netherlands Antilles, and the St. Maarten song had been played earlier in the ceremony.

Calling the occasion “momentous” and “historical,” former Acting Lt. Governor Reynold Groeneveldt, who was appointed Acting Governor on Sunday, lauded the “dignified manner” in which country status had been achieved without violence – a point echoed by Dutch Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin during the first Parliament meeting on Sunday.

“This process was always conducted in a dignified and businesslike manner. The negotiations were not easy, but never at any time was there any need for revolt, violence or war, like in some other countries, when it came to the exercise of the right to self-determination by the people of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom,” Groeneveldt told the gathering.

In attendance were local dignitaries, representatives of the United People’s Party/Democratic Party coalition government and the National Alliance, and overseas guests including Hirsch Ballin, Caribbean Community Caricom Deputy Secretary General Lolita Applewhaite, Anguilla’s Chief Minister Hubert Hughes and Minister Walcott Richardson and spouse, and Collectivité of French St. Martin President Frantz Gumbs and St. Martin Préfet Jacques Simmonet.

“Our country has become a beacon of hope for persons from many parts of the world and we must all be very proud of the Netherlands Antilles and what it has meant for us as a people. Nevertheless, the time has come for us to make new arrangements that will go into effect shortly.

“As we embark on another stage in the pursuit of full internal self-government within the Kingdom, we hope that we can continue to count on the support of all the partners in the Kingdom and we look forward to closer ties and more cooperation in mutual benefit of our respective peoples,” Groeneveldt said.

“In 1942, Her Majesty Queen Wilhelmina announced in her speech from London that at the end of World War II the Kingdom would embark on creating a new constitutional order within the Kingdom. After several years of negotiations the Statuut was adopted creating a Kingdom consisting of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname.

“Today we are 50 years later, and after much deliberation and negotiation the Kingdom again is being re-formed. During the last 50 years we can be proud of the achievements. As a Country the Netherlands Antilles, we have experienced years of mainly prosperity and growth for our people and also some years in which austerity measures had to taken.” He asked Minister Hirsch Ballin to convey St. Maarten’s “sincere appreciation” to Her Majesty Queen Beatrix and the Dutch government “for the excellent cooperation.”

He also thanked the people of St. Maarten and all those who had served the country the Netherlands Antilles, as well as members of the previous governments, who he said “have worked diligently in the preparation of the new constitutional order, and all those persons who attended the countless meetings and sat for hours and days at the negotiating tables.

“Your efforts and valuable contributions are very much appreciated. As the last [Acting] Lt. Governor performing my final official duties, permit me to say farewell to the Netherlands Antilles and entrust the care and responsibility for the people of this great island nation to the Governor and the government of Country St. Maarten.

“I pray that the people of the new island nation will experience prosperity beyond measure and that our difficult days may be but few, that this country will continue to be the most favourite place on earth for many, and that the people of this country will continue to find special favour with God and be protected from all disasters.”

The ceremony was preceded by a cocktail reception for dignitaries and invited guests at Holland House Beach Hotel. Reporters and photographers were barred from covering the reception.

About an hour before midnight, dignitaries walked from Holland House to the Courthouse, where a large tent had been set up. The Courthouse was decorated in the colours of the St. Maarten flag for the occasion.

St. Maarten Flag

The St. Maarten flag was adopted in June 1985 and was officially hoisted for the first time in front of the Government Administration Building in the same year. The colour red in the flag represents solidarity and courage; while white stands for peace and friendliness and blue represents the environment, such as the skies, beaches and seas.

The coat of arms in the flag depicts the Court House in Philipsburg; the island’s national flower the yellow sage and St. Maarten’s national bird the Brown Pelican in flight with the sun as its backdrop. It also has a silhouette of the border monument and the words "Semper pro grediens” (latin for ‘ever moving forward’) towards the bottom.

13 October 2010


Radio New Zealand International


Parliament instructed rights issue be raised

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Oct. 4, 2010) - A spokesman for Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Edward Natapei has confirmed he did not raise the issue of the status of Indonesia’s Papua last week while attending the United Nations General Assembly.

In June, Vanuatu’s parliament unanimously passed a motion, sponsored by Mr. Natapei, to raise issues around the status of Indonesian territories of New Guinea at the UN.

Under the motion, Vanuatu was to request General Assembly support for the International Court of Justice to provide an advisory opinion on the process in which the former Netherlands New Guinea was ceded to Indonesia in the 1960s.

A spokesman for Mr. Natapei said the Prime Minister feels the Papua issue is very sensitive and that it was not the right time to raise it at the UN level. He said it is thought that the issue should be raised at the Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders level first.

However, some MPs say that Mr. Natapei could be held in contempt of Parliament for failing to follow through on the motion.

12 October 2010

Mixed Emotions at very last Antillean Parliament meeting

Dismantling of Five-Island Autonomous Country Complete

by Suzanne Koelega
Daily Herald
Sint Maarten

Monday, 11 October 2010 00:03 .WILLEMSTAD--Feelings of joy and sadness blended at the last meeting of the Antillean Parliament in Willemstad on Saturday morning. Some speakers said they felt the pain of saying goodbye to Country the Netherlands Antilles, while others were happy to enter a new era with the new Countries Curaçao and St. Maarten.

In her last public speech as Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles, Emily de Jongh-Elhage spoke of five stars going their own way and five new stars being born. She and several other speakers said saying goodbye to Country the Netherlands Antilles was hard.

Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima attended the last meeting of the Antillean Parliament, as well as Aruba's Governor Fredis Refunjol and Prime Minister Mike Eman, Dutch caretaker Minister of Defence Eimert van Middelkoop, State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ank Bijleveld-Schouten, Chairpersons of the Dutch First and Second Chambers René van der Linden and Gerdi Verbeet, and Chairpersons of the Permanent Committees of Antillean and Aruban Affairs of the First and Second Chambers Marijke Linthorst and Willibrord van Beek.

"Saying farewell is not easy and we will miss each other," said De Jongh-Elhage, who added that the fact that the Netherlands Antilles would cease to exist Saturday midnight would "touch many of us deeply," as it ended an era of being together under one constitutional entity.

"The Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist and a new future will start for Curaçao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. I wish all the citizens of each of the five islands a wonderful future and I am convinced our friendship will never cease to exist and we will keep sustaining each other based on mutual understanding," De Jongh-Elhage said.

Member of Parliament (MP) Glenn Sulvaran of Curaçao's PAR party said saying goodbye was always hard, especially because the islands had been through so much together, taking decisions in the Antillean Parliament. "We wipe off a tear today. Thank you, Netherlands Antilles, for everything that you have done for us," he said. He said there was also a reason for joy with the birth of Countries Curaçao and St. Maarten.

MP Ramonsito Booi created a light moment in the solemn meeting when he gave a spin to the new constitutional status of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba as so-called "public entities" of the Netherlands. He said that actually the Netherlands was becoming part of the Dutch Caribbean, with Kralendijk as the new capital of the Netherlands.

In a more serious tone, Booi said the people of Bonaire weren't and didn't want to be "parasites" living off the good facilities of the rich Netherlands. "We want to work hard to grow and develop," he said.

Eunice Eisden of Curaçao's MAN party said saying goodbye didn't have to hurt. "Country Curaçao marks a new step in the emancipation process of our people. It is a new chance to create our future," she said, wishing the other islands also much success in their endeavours.

Helmin Wiels of Curaçao's Pueblo Soberano party referred to the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles and the launching of Country Curaçao as "closing one cycle to start another one." He said his party would continue the struggle to reach "the ultimate cycle," independence.

Long-serving MP Faroe Metry of Curaçao's PNP party said the Antillean Parliament hadn't made much use of the right of amendment, to revise draft legislation. He called on the Parliaments of the new Countries Curaçao and St. Maarten not to "rubberstamp" anything and to be critical.

Carlos Monk of Curaçao's Niun Paso Atras party passionately called for Curaçao's independence and almost shouted when he said that freedom of the people was a sacred right. Many in the audience didn't appreciate his manner and many abstained from clapping when he finished his speech.

Gerrit Schotte captured the atmosphere in Parliament well by stating that Saturday was "a day with many emotions." He said he was looking forward to the next day, when Curaçao would be a country. He said the islands were splitting up, but the solid ties remained. Schotte called for closer social and cultural ties between the three Dutch Caribbean countries Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten. He suggested establishing representatives on each other's islands in the form of a Curaçao House and St. Maarten House.

Representatives of the Windward Islands who were supposed to address the gathering, Members of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel of the National Alliance St. Maarten, Will Johnson of WIPM Saba and Reginald Zaandam, an independent MP from St. Eustatius, were absent. No reason was given for their absence.

Before officially closing the last meeting, Parliament Chairman Pedro Atacho gave a short overview of the history of the Antillean Parliament and mentioned the names of all MPs of the last Parliament. He wished all entities Godspeed, after which the Antillean anthem was played, with many in the audience softly singing along.

11 October 2010

U.N. Special Political Committee Adopts 12 Decolonisation Resolutions

Decolonisation has gone "From Unfinished Agenda to Unattended One,"  Warns CARICOM.

Sixty-fifth General Assembly
Fourth Committee
7th Meeting (AM)

Fourth Committee Sends 12 Draft Texts to General Assembly on Decolonization,

Including Request for Third International Decade, Concludes Debate on Topic

'United Nations Decolonization Effort in ‘Virtual Inertia'

The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), guided by the fundamental and universal principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter, would have the General Assembly declare the period 2011-2020 as the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, by one of 12 draft texts approved today, capping its general debate on decolonization.

That draft, which also calls upon Member States to intensify their efforts to continue to implement the plan of action for the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism and use those efforts as the basis for a plan of action for the next Decade, was approved by a recorded vote of 130 in favour and 3 against (Israel, United States, United Kingdom), with 20 abstentions.

The Committee also proposed, in a resolution on the Fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, that the Assembly urge Member States to do their utmost to promote effective measures for the full and speedy implementation of the Declaration in all Non-Self-Governing Territories to which the Declaration applied.

Also by that text, similarly approved by a recorded vote of 150 in favour and 3 against (United States, United Kingdom, Israel) and no abstentions, the Assembly would urge the administering Powers and other Member States to ensure that the activities of foreign economic and other interests in colonial Territories did not run counter to the interests of the inhabitants of those Territories and did not impede the implementation of the Declaration.

The representative of the United Kingdom, explaining his delegation’s opposition to both those texts, said the proposals for the Third International Decade and the Fiftieth anniversary of the Decolonization Declaration were “unacceptable”, as the texts failed to recognize the progress that had been made in the relationship between the United Kingdom and its territories. With regard to the text relating to the Third International decade, his delegation strongly considered the “Special Committee of 24” to be outdated, and believed that the United Nations should devote its resources to more urgent issues.

Five other drafts also required recorded votes for passage. Those texts were on economic and other activities which affect the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories; and on implementation of the (decolonisation) Declaration by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations.

Three resolutions and one draft decision on four of the 16 remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories were approved without a vote, as was a resolution on offers by Member States of study and training facilities for inhabitants of Non-Self-Governing Territories. An omnibus resolution on the questions of American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands was postponed until a later date.

Prior to consideration of the drafts, the Committee wrapped up its general debate on decolonization, begun on 4 October. Jamaica’s representative Ambassador Raymond Wolfe, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said it was not so long ago that each of the 14 States in that group had been colonies, having since been decolonized with the United Nations support. However, in recent years, the work of the United Nations remained in a state of “virtual inertia” and was devolving from an “unfinished agenda” to an unattended one.

He went on to say that the United Nations stood at a historical crossroads. While there was a reaffirmation of decolonization in statements and resolutions, this was insufficient if the corresponding mandates were not operationalized.

Zambia’s representative said that it was regrettable that the process of decolonization was still incomplete, leaving the people of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to endure suffering. He urged parties to continue engaging in dialogue in order to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution, and expressed the hope that the Organization’s efforts would accelerate the process leading up to self-determination, especially by the people of Western Sahara.

Also speaking to the conflict over Western Sahara, the representative of Algeria said the exercise of the right of self-determination was a permanent axis of his country’s foreign policy. Faithful to its commitments to Africa, he reaffirmed Algeria’s “brotherly solidarity” and pledged support to the inalienable right to self-determination, such as through Security Council resolution 1754 (2007) which aimed to re-launch negotiations to end the impasse and promote dialogue in Western Sahara.

While the differences that had undermined the first four sets of formal negotiations were widely known, Algeria’s speaker welcomed the re-launch of informal negotiations, as long as the parties ascribed to a fair, lasting and mutually acceptable solution. Participating in formal and informal talks, Algeria was fully aware of its responsibilities to the people in the region and in recognition that peace was in everyone’s self-interest. He reiterated his support for expansion of confidence-building measures, as the building of a prosperous Western Sahara was part and parcel of its historical fate.

The representative of Morocco said that prior to submitting its autonomy plan to the Security Council three years ago, Morocco had ensured the plan’s “national legitimacy” by involving representatives of the population and the entire political spectrum in its drafting. Still, he said Algeria and the Polisario persisted in their “business as usual” attitude, putting forth a whole gamut of subterfuges to undermine a fragile and difficult negotiating process.

The Maghreb needed Morocco, just as it needed Algeria, he stressed. The united Maghreb was grounded on respect for the territorial integrity of all, reconciliation, and a sincere commitment to build on a Maghreb edifice that was strong, politically supportive, and capable of taking its rightful place. “We reach out to our Algerian brothers and have made the strategic choice of negotiation to achieve this common future,” he said.

Also speaking in the debate were the representatives of Kenya, India, Libya, South Africa, Ecuador and Uganda.

During consideration of the various draft texts, the representatives Argentina, Belgium (on behalf of the European Union), Fiji, Saint Lucia, and Bolivia spoke in explanation of position.

The detailed press release can be read by clicking here.

10 October 2010

Turks & Caicos Calls for United Nations Oversight after British Rule Extended

Turks & Caicos Islands Leaders Call for UN Monitoring Team

Statement of the Turks and Caicos Forum
Presented to the United Nations Special Political and Decolonisation Committee
(Fourth Committee)

delivered by Alpha Gibbs
5th October 2010

Your Excellency Chairman Chipaziwa, Committee Members, to you we extend our greetings, I am Alpha Gibbs and I appear here today on behalf of the Turks and Caicos Forum as a follow-up to our appearance on June 22, of this year before the Committee of Twenty Four. Accompanying me at this hearing is Mr. Benjamin Roberts, who served as our designated spokesperson at the June 22 appearance.

Our continuing concern, now, as it was in June, is the blatant unchecked, unmonitored failures of our Administering Power, the United Kingdom in the discharge of its responsibilities for the Non-Self Governing Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

On August 14, 2009 The United Kingdom through an Order in Council suspended significant and critical areas of the duly adopted Constitution of the Turks and Caicos Islands. With this suspension, the following assaults on the Fundamental Human Rights of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands were unleashed.

1) The duly elected representatives of the people were removed from office.

2) The Parliament was disbanded.

3) The native born Deputy Governor was removed from office and no replacement has been hired.

4) A UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office career civil servant was appointed Governor with the responsibility to administer the governmental and administrative affairs of the Territory. This Governor is now attempting to execute the total and combined functions previously administered by a Premier and six cabinet ministers of government.

5) Alien consultants are hired into every Government Department and are not engaged in the mentoring or in the capacity building of the talent pool of the native born salaried civil servants. Instead these consultants work in isolated pools without interaction of local counterparts.

6) An alien consultant has been hired to develop recommendations for Constitutional and Electoral Reforms in the Turks and Caicos.

7) On that fateful date on August 14, 2009, the Governor arbitrarily announced that July 2011, was established as the date for the return to parliamentary democracy in Turks and Caicos.

8) One year one month and one week later on September 21, 2010, Henry Bellingham, the UK Parliamentary Secretary of State and Minister for the Overseas Territories announced that elections in Turks and Caicos will not be held until the following preconditions are met:

a) Public finances are firmly set on the path of a balanced budget within three years.

b) More work is undertaken to stabilize the economy.

c) Preparations are made for elections in light of the outcome of the constitutional and electoral
reform process.

d) The reform process is embedded.

e) Further progress is made in the criminal investigations recommended by the Commission of Inquiry.

The above preconditions are arguably quite vague and highly subjective and not sufficiently defined so as to be measurable or quantifiable in any manner. As yet there has not been a publication of `The Reforms' nor a timetable for their implementation. The criminal trials are not expected to commence until October of 2011.

Your Excellency,

We contend that the attainment of a balanced budget and progress along the pathway of a vibrant economy are noble objectives, but the achievement of either or both of these objectives are not and will never be acceptable reasons for the disenfranchisement of an entire people. The attainment of the stated random and ill defined objectives is not an acceptable reason for the suspension of constitutional democracy.

The declaration by Henry Bellingham is in direct contradiction of UN Declaration 1514 (XV) of December 1960 and constitutes a denial of the fundamental human rights of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Declaration 1514 (XV) object 3 declares that `Inadequacy of political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never serve as a pretext for delaying independence' In our case we take leave to substitute the word independence with the phrase parliamentary democracy.

Your Excellency,

We herein request, that this Fourth Committee inquire of and demand of your member State, the United Kingdom, an explanation of their assault on the human rights of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and further require of the United Kingdom, that it present to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands a timetable for the development and implementation of a meaningful and defined plan with objective benchmarks and measurable milestones for the return of parliamentary democracy to the Turks and Caicos Islands; and that the development of such plans shall incorporate the expressed and informed wishes of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Your Excellency

On November 22, 1988, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 43/47 entitled "International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism" and part of that resolution in Part II paragraph 7 reads: `The United Nations, in cooperation with the Administering Powers, should ensure that all acts of self determination are preceded by adequate and unbiased campaigns of political education.' We do declare that we have never witnessed any acts of political education executed by the Administering Power in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

We contend that during this period of direct rule by the Administering Power, therein lies an ideal opportunity during which time unbiased political education can occur. Should this unbiased political education occur, the process of electoral reform and the subsequent retention and sustainability of such reforms would be greatly enhanced and native born parliamentarians and administrators will have an opportunity to be better prepared for their eventual roles as representatives of the people.

The United Nations On December 8, 2000 declared the period 2001 through 2010 the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism and we in the Turks and Caicos Islands in the twilight of this decade are currently made to feel as if we are being re-colonized by the United Kingdom.

The native born population are experiencing a state of siege and heightened frustration and have developed the fear that their rights and their ability to control their destiny is under assault and will be further attacked by the recommendations of the alien Consultant for Constitutional and Electoral Reform. This fear has its foundation in one of the early recommendations of the consultant, which states that non-citizens of the Turks and Caicos Islands should be granted the right to vote, merely on the basis of length of residency within the Territory. This recommendation, Your Excellency, is another example of the disregard for the fundamental human rights of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Your Excellency,

 Section III paragraph 10 of the November 22, 1998 resolution goes on to state:

`Administering Powers should take the necessary measures to promote the political, economic, social cultural and educational advancement of the peoples of the Non-Self¬Governing Territories thereby facilitating their exercise of the right to self-determination and should continue to provide the United Nations with information in accordance with Article 73 (e) of the Charter of the United Nations.'

We contend that the Administering Power of the Turks and Caicos has failed in meeting this recommended action. The UK has not only failed in advancing the Territory but has also failed in its oversight responsibility.

The prior Constitution of the Turks and Caicos and the recommendations for a new Constitution gives excessive powers to the UK appointed Governor. The Governor's office has responsibility for `good governance and oversight' however the immediate past Governor failed miserably in this regard and as we know, this past Governor has not been included as a subject for inquiry, as has been the lot of the native born elected political leaders, who will likely become the subject of criminal proceedings.

We will in no way offer an excuse for any party or entity but we decry the apparent inequity in the application of judicial and administrative corrections. It is our contention that the UK should launch an Inquiry into the failures of the responsible officers of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the prior Governor as it relates to the discharge of their responsibilities for the Turks and Caicos Islands.

After four centuries of neglect and disinterest the UK seems to be taking the approach that it can in a mere twenty-four months design and gift wrap for the Turks and Caicos a perfect set of reforms and policies which will transform the Territory into a well run democracy, free of corruption and enjoying balanced budgets into perpetuity. This is all to be achieved while excluding the native born people of the Turks and Caicos. Islands from any involvement in the development and design of the reforms.

We cannot conceptualize how any reform so designed and formulated is expected to be sustainable by the existing civil service and known political leadership, if they are not intricately engaged in its design and development. The current approach by the UK leaves us to speculate that part of the `reform plan' is the displacement of the native born population from its prior position of political leadership and supplant it with non-native groups.

In 1999, The UK published a White Paper entitled Progress through Partnership for the Overseas Territories. We see no evidence of a partnership arrangement in the current approach.

We request that the United Nations through its various Organs and Committees establish a monitoring team to provide some oversight and hold the UK accountable to its obligations to the Non-Self Governing Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Without such oversight, we fear that our rights will be restricted, our people marginalized and our heritage lost.

We thank you for the opportunity to present our Petition.

08 October 2010

Virgin Islands Activist Calls for Reconciliation on Slavery

Presentation to the United Nations Special Political and Decolonisation Committee

Edward L. Browne
Global Human Rights Activist and Historian
United States Virgin Islands

Mr. Chairman,

I am again honored to be here today to discuss what I and many other Virgin Islanders consider the continued colonial relationship that exist between the United States of America and the United States Virgin Islands.

Mr. Chairman, last year for the second time, I came before this distinguish body and I told everyone in attendance that King Frederick VII of Denmark in a royal decree on August 18, 1853 sanctioned a serfdom system of slavery that existed up until March 31, 1917. I also informed the members of this body that the Danish inhabitants primarily people of black African descent were not emancipated by King Christian X of Denmark or by President of the United States Woodrow Wilson before the official transfer of the Danish West Indian Islands took place.

Mr. Chairman since that speech, I have continued to collect information to support my position. Recently, I came across a confidential letter written by former Secretary of State Robert Lansing to the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations William J. Stone dated August 22, 1916. In the letter, Secretary Lansing states that in this connection, it should be borne in mind that the Danish subjects in the islands have had no voice in the proposed transfer of the sovereignty of the islands to the United States, and that many inconveniences must necessarily result to them if they retain Danish allegiance after the transfer.

Also on March 31, 2010, during transfer day ceremonies held on the island of St. Thomas, Soren Blak, Danish consul general to St. Thomas is quoted as making the following remarks. “The pages of history have turned with the realization that history should not repeat itself.” “You don’t sell a people and a culture.” “You do not enslave humanity, but those mistakes were made a 100 years ago and don’t excuse the fact that things are not getting better today.”

Again, I would like to state that there are still individuals alive today who were born in the Danish West Indian Islands before the transfer of the islands to the United States, and this is one of the reasons why this issue is so relevant at the present moment. With that being said, I would like to thank Soren Blak for taking the first step in bringing about healing and reconciliation between the people of Denmark and the Virgin Islands, and I would urge the governments of Denmark, the United States of America, and the United States Virgin Islands to embrace what I have titled “The Five Pillars of Reconciliation ” and do whatever is needed to finally bring closure to this very painful situation.

To my friends from Guam, I would ask you to continue to channel your energies in telling the world about the atrocities that were done to your elders by both the Japanese and American governments during World War II. I would also humbly ask the Japanese government to do what is right and seek total reconciliation with the people of Guam to include discussing the issue of reparations. History should never be forgotten and saying sorry and then providing repair in my opinion is the highest form of honor.

Hopefully, if the Japanese government can finally address the issue of reparations with the people of Guam then maybe there can finally be true dialogue and reconciliation between Japan and the United States over the attack on Pearl Harbor and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The world does not need any more nuclear weapons instead what our humanity needs according to words used by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan is “courageous change towards peace”.

In closing, I would like to state that it is obvious that the United Nations is not a perfect institution, and it is confronted with many different challenges; however, the United Nations has brought hope to the hopeless, provided a voice to the voiceless and continues to inspire billions around the world to create a brighter tomorrow. I live in a nation that continues to treat me like a second class citizen, but from 2008 this committee has allowed me to tell and show the world that I am a first class human being, and for that I would like to thank this committee. One day, colonialism in all of its forms will come to an end and there will be no more non-self governing territories, and when that day comes what a better world we will all live in. Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the moment.

06 October 2010

Innovative Plan for International Decolonisation Proposed to UN

Proposal Presented to UN Special Political Committee

An innovative plan to complete the decolonisation process for the remaining small island non self-governing territories worldwide has been recommended to the United Nations. The plan of action for a new International Decade for the Completion of the Decolonisation Mandate, initially introduced to the UN Decolonisation Committee last June, was presented in a 5th October 2010 presentation to the United Nations Special Political and Decolonisation Committee (Fourth Committee) by Dr. Carlyle Corbin, international advisor on  governance and multilateral diplomacy. Corbin has served as an expert to United Nations Caribbean and Pacific regional seminars on decolonisation throughout since 1990. He is the former Minister of State for External Affairs of the US Virgin Islands Government. The full written statement follows:

Statement of Dr. Carlyle Corbin
International Advisor on Governance and Multilateral Diplomacy
to the United Nations Special Political and Decolonisation Committee
United Nations Headquarters, New York, N.Y.
5th  October 2010

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Permit me to extend my personal congratulations on your election to chair the Fourth Committee which deals with an interesting mix of political issues, not the least of which is the contemporary colonial question. The success of your country, Zimbabwe, in defeating colonialism, with wide international support, remains an important milestone in the history of the struggle for freedom and democratic governance in Africa and her diaspora.

As one of the independent experts participating in the Pacific Regional Seminar in Noumea last May, I join in expressing appreciation to President of New Caledonia, H.E. Philippe Gomes, for the excellent facilities and amenities provided for those important deliberations. I also congratulate President Gomes for his statement earlier this afternoon which provided an important perspective on the ongoing self-determination process in that territory.

Mr. Chairman,

The small island non self-governing territories in the Caribbean are, by and large, the remnants of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. These are countries of the African diaspora which have yet to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination. Contemporary colonialism is, therefore, very much alive in the Caribbean - as well as in the Pacific - even as these dependency arrangements have become increasingly complex, sophisticated and sometimes even devious.

The impact of globalisation, climate change, the global financial crisis, geo-strategic considerations, among other issues, have all served to slow the pace of decolonisation of these territories. These have often served as the basis for seeking to legitimise the dependency status through either creative interpretations of what constitutes self-government, or by simply ignoring the UN’s role in the process altogether.

But, make no mistake, the present dependency models, however sophisticated, are still in violation of the principle of self-determination, and are wholly inconsistent with democratic governance. Self-determination is a fundamental human right which has not been exercised by the people of these territories despite the UN Charter, General Assembly resolutions and human rights instruments which guarantee this right under international law. This should be borne in mind as the United Nations in 2010 observes its 50th anniversary of the Decolonisation Declaration, as Africa reflects on a half-century of independence, and as Asia and the Pacific commemorate their respective successes in the achievement of full self-government with the concerted attention of the United Nations.

Mr. Chairman,

This year marks the end of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, and provides the international community with an opportunity to take stock of how the decolonisation process has fared. To this end, I have conducted during several analyses on the implementation of the Declaration during the first and second International Decades at the request of various chairs of the Decolonisation Committee for consideration by member States.

The 2010 analysis reviewed the implementation of decolonisation resolutions, examined UN assistance to the territories, and assessed any collaboration which may have been initiated with relevant human rights bodies pursuant to the General Assembly. The analysis also examined activities of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues aimed at the self-determination of the indigenous peoples in the territories, particularly in the Pacific, and activities of civil society in trying to refocus international attention on decolonisation.

The results of these analyses were presented at the UN regional seminars, and at the regular sessions of the Special Committee on Decolonisation during the first and second International Decades. The conclusion of the 2010 review is that much remains to be done in fulfilling the decolonisation mandate. That only one territory (Timor Leste) has been decolonised since the independence of Namibia two decades ago is testament to this fact.

The 2010 analysis recommended an updated plan of action (attached) for the authorisation of a third International Decade, with primary focus on implementation of the actions called for by the Assembly. It was concluded that there is nothing wrong with the resolutions which have been finely tuned over the years. The role of member states of my own Caribbean region in devising these targeted actions is especially commended, and is a testament to the awareness of the ties which bind the people of the Caribbean irrespective of varying levels of political development Ands constitutional advancement.

But it is the implementation of these resolutions that very much remains the weak point. Clearly, the selective enforcement of UN resolutions is a consistent concern which hinders the international process, and especially works against developing countries. The non self-governing territories are similarly affected, and they have limited opportunity to express their concerns.

It was concluded that for implementation of the decolonization mandate to succeed, new methods of work, including special mechanisms such as those employed by the human rights bodies, should be introduced as a matter of urgency. The consistent adoption of the same resolutions year-after-year without implementation renders them less effective over time.

Mr. Chairman,

The 2010 analysis also concluded that self-governance indicators should be utilised in determining whether these territories have met the recognised threshold of self-government. The use of indicators was questioned at the Special Committee, but clarification was not possible under the Committee’s procedures. I will offer that clarification now.

Governance indicators are routinely used by UNDP to assess the extent of compliance with democratic governance practices. Other UN bodies also use such methods. Self-governance indicators which are being finalized by an expert group from Caribbean and Pacific territories which will serve to organise the existing decolonisation mandates, systematically, comprehensively and scientifically as a method of assessing whether the territories have met basic minimum standards of self-government long established in UN resolutions. Whilst each territory should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, there must be some standard against which such a review is made. Otherwise, the effectiveness of this approach would have limited meaning. These self-governance indictors will be made available to the relevant committees of the United Nations, as well as various regional organisations.

Mr. Chairman,

The 2010 analysis of the decolonisation process makes the following point:

“There appears to be a clear difference in perception as to what constitutes success. The adoption of resolutions (alone) and the de-listing of territories from UN review do not constitute success. The actual achievement of full self-government by the peoples of the territories is the real success. The de-listing is the afterthought. It is not, and cannot be perceived, as the goal...Unless this gap of perception is closed, and actual implementation initiated in earnest, it is questionable whether actual decolonisation could win out over the legitimisation of colonial reform that would invariably place the UN stamp of approval on contemporary colonial governance (resulting in)… a premature end to the self-determination process, without (actually) achieving self-determination. Such a development would deleteriously affect millions of people in non self-governing territories worldwide.”

Accordingly, a new International Decade can only succeed if such innovative measures as those suggested in the 2010 Analysis, and other relevant procedures are instituted. I end with the conclusion of my report to the Special Committee on Decolonisation last June:

“…It was Martin King who said that “progress does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability.” For us to make real progress to achieve decolonisation, the United Nations system needs to adapt to incorporate new ideas, while remaining absolutely true to the principles of self-determination and subsequent decolonisation of the peoples of our remaining territories. The United Nations… needs to seriously examine whether its method of work is an impediment to that progress, as many of the territories have concluded (the short allotted time of four minutes for those who have travelled half-way across the world is illustrative).

"As it has been said, the price of doing the same thing, year after year, is far greater than the price of change. This is so if the results of the “repetition of process” do not yield the desired result. Accordingly, a new decade with a revitalized plan of action is vital in this regard, with specific focus on implementation of the existing mandate through innovative means. The present method of work has not succeeded in the implementation of the mandate which remains as valid today as it has been over the twenty-year period of the two international decades for the eradication of colonialism."

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.



Proposed Plan of Action for International Decade for the Full Implementation
of the Decolonization Mandate (2011-2020)


1. The ultimate goal of the International Decade for the Full Implementation of the Decolonization Mandate should be the full implementation of the Decolonization Declaration through the exercise of the right to self-determination, including independence, consistent with Resolutions 1514 (XV) and Resolution 1541 (XV) through the exercise of the right to self-determination by the peoples of the remaining Non Self-Governing Territories in accordance with all relevant resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly, including the principles contained in the Declaration, in furtherance of the realization of democratic governance, and through a proactive approach to the full implementation of the actions called for in the present plan of action.


2. The international community, including administering Powers which administer Non Self-Governing Territories, other member States, the United Nations system of organizations, regional and other intergovernmental organizations, as well as and non-governmental organizations, should coordinate their efforts to assist the peoples of the Non Self-Governing Territories in their progress towards exercising their inalienable right to self-determination and full decolonization, and to this end, should actively participate in the implementation of the present Plan of Action.

3. The international community should ensure that its decisions in United Nations and other intergovernmental organisations are in furtherance of the actions called for in the international mandate on decolonization, including those contained in relevant United Nations resolutions, as well as those outlined in the present Plan of Action.

4. The international community should seek to enable the peoples of the Non Self-Governing Territories to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination, which is a fundamental human right, and to decide their future political status with complete knowledge and awareness of the full range of legitimate political options available to them, including independence. In that context, particular emphasis should be placed on the dissemination of information to the Non Self-Governing Territories on the functioning of contemporary models of full political equality.

5. The international community should ensure that all political exercises relating to self-determination are carried out in an atmosphere free from intimidation and external interference, and allow for the open expression of the interest and aspirations of the peoples of the remaining Non Self-Governing Territories irrespective of factors such as size, geographical location, size of population or availability of economic resources. In this connection, particular emphasis should be placed on providing the necessary assistance from the international community, as appropriate, to facilitate a successful exercise of self-determination.


6. The Member States of the United Nations, including those States which administer territories, as well as the United Nations system, should take all necessary steps to facilitate the exercise of self-determination in the Non Self-Governing Territories. In this connection, the United Nations, in consultation with the administering powers, should ensure that the peoples of the Non Self-Governing Territories are made fully aware of the political status options available to them through increased and sustained contact with the elected leaders, with educational institutions and civil society organizations in the territories, and with the peoples themselves.

7. The United Nations Department of Public Information should intensify its dissemination of information on the decolonization process, in conjunction with the political education programmes as outlined in paragraph 8, and should utilize civil society institutions, United Nations Information Centres, tertiary institutions in the territories, media outlets and government information services, as well as experts on decolonization, in the dissemination process.

8. The Electoral Affairs Division of the Department of Political Affairs in consultation with the Special Committee other relevant United Nations bodies, the territorial governments and the administering Powers, should develop adequate and unbiased political education programmes for the Territories in order to heighten the awareness among the people of the territories of their inalienable right to self-determination in conformity with the legitimate political status options consist with relevant resolutions of the United Nations. In this connection, these programmes should precede a genuine act of self-determination which should be exercised in each territory, conducted by or under observation of the United Nations, as appropriate, not later than 31 December 2020, in accordance with principles contained in the Decolonisation Declaration and all relevant resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly.

9. The relevant United Nations bodies, including its specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, should examine and review conditions in each of the Non Self-Governing Territories so as to take appropriate measures to accelerate progress in the economic, social and governance sectors, consistent with relevant United Nations resolutions. In this connection, the United Nations should formulate programmes of assistance to the remaining Non Self-Governing Territories, and facilitate the participation of the territories in relevant programmes and activities of the United Nations system, as well as through membership, associate membership or observer status, within the framework of the mandates of the organization concerned, in order to enhance the economic and administrative capacity of the Non Self-Governing Territories.

10. The Secretary-General, or his Special Representative, should visit each of the Non Self-Governing Territories as early as possible during the Decade and report thereon to the General Assembly, and the Secretary-General should expand the reports on implementation of the decolonisation mandate, called for by the Assembly, with focus on the actions taken by the United Nations system.


11. Administering Powers should take the necessary measures to promote the political, economic, social, cultural and educational advancement of the people of the Non-Self-Governing Territories thereby strengthening their capacity to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination, should provide the United Nations with comprehensive information in accordance with Article 73 (e) of the Charter; and should report annually to the General Assembly on all necessary measures taken to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions in accordance with Article 73 (b) of the Charter.

12. Administering Powers should ensure that the exercises of the right of self-determination for the peoples of the Non Self-Governing Territories is not affected by changes in the demographic composition of the Territories under their administration as a result of the displacement of the peoples of the Territories.

13. Administering Powers should implement measures aimed at ensuring the ownership and control of the natural resources of the Non Self-Governing territories, including marine and property resources, by the people of the territories, and should assist the territories in the development of mechanisms aimed at conserving those natural resources and preserving the environment of the territories.

14. Administering Powers should enact measures to assist the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories in achieving the maximum possible level of economic self-reliance, environmental protection, and social and educational development. In this connection, Administering Powers should facilitate the participation of the territories in relevant United Nations programmes in these respective spheres.

15. Administering Powers should consider, as a matter of urgency, the resumption of formal cooperation with the Special Committee through an interactive dialogue with the Member States of the Committee in formal and informal sessions, in order to provide the Special Committee with the opportunity to hear, first hand, the perspective of the Administering Powers on the self-determination process leading to the decolonisation of the Non Self-Governing Territories under their administration.

16. Administering Powers should facilitate, in accordance with all relevant resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly, and taking into account Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 and resolution 1541 (XV) of 15 December 1960, the participation of Territories under their administration in the programmes and activities of the specialized agencies and other organizations within the United Nations system, as well as in United Nations bodies on decolonization including, in particular, the Special Committee on Decolonization, as well as regional and international organizations.

17. Administering Powers should facilitate the dispatch of United Nations visiting and special missions to each of the remaining non self-governing territories, at the request of, and in cooperation with, the Special Committee on Decolonisation, and in conjunction with the relevant United Nations bodies at regular intervals.

18. Administering Powers should refrain from military activities in Non Self-Governing territories which may adversely affect the rights and interests of the people concerned, and which may create health and environmental hazards.


19. The Special Committee on Decolonization should organize regional seminars on an annual basis, alternating between the Caribbean and Pacific regions, to review the progress achieved in the implementation of the plan of action, with the participation of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, their elected and appointed representatives, the administering Powers, Member States, regional organizations, specialized agencies, non-governmental organizations and regional and international experts. In this connection, the primary focus of the regional seminars should be to hear the views of the representatives of the territorial governments and institutions, as well as the regional experts.

20. The Special Committee should continue to examine the situation with regard to political, economic and social developments in all Non Self-Governing Territories. In this connection, the Decolonization Unit should enhance the Working Papers on each Non Self-Governing Territory, for the consideration of the Special Committee, to include a broader range of information sources, and to group the working papers according to their respective regions in order to facilitate more analysis of cross-cutting and thematic decolonization issues by member States, consistent with the recommendation of the 2007 Report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services on the in-depth evaluation of political affairs.

21. The Special Committee shall establish a timetable for the dispatch of four visiting missions per year to Non Self-Governing Territories. In this connection, the Special Committee should seek, as a matter of priority, the full concurrence of the administering Powers with regard to the dispatch of the missions, and the participation and support of relevant United Nations agencies, in particular the United Nations Development Programme and the relevant United Nations regional commissions, in providing substantive support to the missions.

22. The Special Committee, with the cooperation of the administering Powers, should make every effort to facilitate and encourage the participation of representatives of Non-Self-Governing Territories in the Special Committee itself, and in other United Nations bodies which deal with self-determination and decolonization, in particular the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee), the Third Committee and the relevant human rights bodies.

23. The Special Committee should begin a constructive work programme, on a case-by-case basis, to include an examination of the political and constitutional framework of each Territory including constitutional rights and sovereignty issues, and an assessment of the socio-economic situation to inform the political education programme in advance of the act of self-determination.

24. The Special Committee should develop a formal programme of collaboration with other United Nations bodies which also address self-determination and decolonization issues, in particular the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the Human Rights Council and the Human Rights Committee, within the framework of their respective mandates with the aim of exchanging information, consistent with relevant United Nations resolutions.


25. The Independent Expert, as confirmed by the Special Committee on Decolonization, should conduct a critical analysis of the progress and extent of the achievement towards self-government in each of the Non Self-Governing Territories, and an independent assessment of the economic and social situation in the territories, with specific focus on the small island territories under review of the Special Committee.

26. The Independent Expert should finalize the Self-Governance Indicators for consideration in the assessment of the level of self-government in the remaining territories to identify where deficiencies exist in the present political arrangements, and to make appropriate recommendations for consideration of the Special Committee.

27. The Independent Expert should present an annual report to the Special Committee on Decolonization, and should engage in an interactive dialogue with member States at the beginning of the substantive session of the Special Committee each year on the self-determination and decolonisation processes in each of the remaining territories.

28. The Independent Expert should provide substantive support to the visiting missions of the Special Committee, and should conduct fact-finding missions to individual territories, as appropriate, subject to the availability of resources, including external resources.


29. The Special Committee, in consultation with the Department of Political Affairs and the Office of the Secretary-General should coordinate the plan of action of the International Decade to Implement the Decolonization Mandate.

30. The Special Committee should submit annually to the General Assembly an analytical report containing:

(a) A review and appraisal of the activities undertaken in connection with the Decade.

(b) Suggestions and recommendations.

31. The Secretary-General should submit to the General Assembly a comprehensive annual report on action taken, as well as on suggestions and trends that emerge from the implementation of the plan of action.

32. The Secretary-General should submit to the General Assembly at its 70th session a mid-term report on the implementation of the plan of action, and a final report on implementation of the International Decade at its 75th session.