30 July 2012

Self-Determination after partial integration: Sint Eustatius

The future self-determination of Sint Eustatius was the subject of a constitutional forum organized by the civil society organization Brighter Path Foundation. The keynote speaker of the forum was International Governance Expert Dr. Carlyle Corbin whose presentation was entitled “The Application of self-determination after 10-10-10.”

   International Governance Expert Meets with St. Eustatius Island Council

The date 10th October 2010 was when the erstwhile five-island ‘autonomous country’ of the Netherlands Antilles was dismantled. This resulted in two separate ‘autonomous’ countries of Curacao and Sint Marten, respectively. At that time, also, the three remaining islands of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius (Statia) became “public entities,” of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Corbin’s presentation focused on issues relevant to the self-determination process beginning with the political and constitutional composition of the non-independent Caribbean. He explained some of the various dependency, integrated and autonomous models presently in place across the globe, and assessed them against the internationally recognized standards. 

He explained the international legal mandate for self-determination beginning with the League of Nations almost a century ago, and subsequently with the Charter of the United Nations. International human rights instruments establishing the right to self-determination were also discussed, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICCPR)

Other international instruments were also discussed in the presentation including the Helsinki Final Act, the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. References were also made to the work in self-determination of other international bodies such as the International Court of Justice, Human Rights Council, and the Human Rights Committee

The presentation also examined the relevant United Nations resolutions including the text of the original list of non self-governing territories adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1946, and subsequent resolutions through to present day on defining genuine self-government with absolute political equality. In this regard, the presentation made specific reference to the Decolonization Declaration of 1960 which established the self-determination process leading to decolonization, and which stressed the importance of the transfer of powers in advance of a genuine act of self-determination. 

A highlight of the presentation was the reference to UN Resolution 1541 (XV) of 1960 which defined independence, free association and integration as the three legitimate models of political equality recognized under international principles. In this connection, the presentation went on to define the minimum standards for the three options, and to indicate where political changes have occurred over time in the Caribbean consistent with these standards. 

Corbin provided a thorough explanation on self-governance indicators which had been derived from the extensive mandates of the United Nations from its inception, and which are being used as a measure to determine whether the present governance models meet international standards of full self-government. For integration, he identified the indicators according to the degree of political equality including equal status and rights of citizenship; degree of fundamental rights and freedoms without distinction; and the extent of political participation and representation in the metropole. 

Regarding autonomous free association, Corbin referred to the extent of mutual consent and level of unilateral authority of the cosmopole over the associated country. He indicated that a determination should be made as to whether there exists the unilateral application of laws and treaties of the cosmopole to the autonomous country. He further noted that the extent of ownership and control of natural resources including marine resources is an important consideration. Freedom of the autonomous country to modify the political status and to determine its internal constitution without external interference was also identified as an important indicator. The degree of economic dependence on the metropole, and the nature of any military activities in the autonomous country were also cited. 

Corbin proceeded to present current models of integration in place in island countries including the French department model of integrated department in the French West Indies, and the U.S. integrated model in place in Hawai’i in the Pacific. He compared these models to the present partial integration arrangement in Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius which do not meet the minimum standards of integration with full political and economic rights. He noted that a full assessment of these models would be useful. 

Regarding the autonomous models, Corbin provided information on the French, New Zealand and US models in the Pacific including Ma’ohi Nui/Fr. Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna, the Cook Islands and Niue, and Marshall Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau and Micronesia, respectively. The models of the former West Indies Associated States with the United Kingdom, and Puerto Rico with the US, were also examined. He also examined the Dutch models of Aruba, Sint Maarten and Curacao, along with the emerging French collectivity models in St. Barts and French St. Martin. Of particular note was the explanation of the autonomous model of Greenland vis a vis the Kingdom of Denmark. 

Corbin ended his presentation with a number of observations including the view that “any interest in a change of status suggests moving forward to a status of full political, economic and social equality.” 

“These can be achieved,” he said “via independence, full autonomy or full integration.” 

He emphasized that "full political integration, or an autonomous association, are acceptable models as long as the elements form a political arrangement of absolute political equality.” In the specific case of autonomy, he emphasized that it should be “on the basis of mutual consent between two equal partners without unilateral power of one party over the other.” 

“Political, cultural and economic implications of these options of political equality differ depending on the choice,” Corbin said, and “the elements of each option should be studied closely so the people could make an informed decision.” 

Call for Statia referendum at constitutional seminar

ST. EUSTATIUS–The Community Centre was filled to capacity as Statians came out in numbers to discuss the pros and cons of the island’s current constitutional status. 
(from Daily Herald) ST. EUSTATIUS–The Community Centre was filled to capacity as Statians came out in numbers to discuss the pros and cons of the island’s current constitutional status. The...
Call for referendum at constitutional seminar
(from Daily Herald) ST. EUSTATIUS–The Community Centre was filled to capacity as Statians came out in numbers to discuss the pros and cons of the island’s current constitutional status.
The recently held constitutional seminar (July 9) organised by Brighter Path Foundation featured Carlyle Corbin, former minister of state for External Affairs of the US Virgin Islands, and an expert on decolonisation and people’s right to selfdetermination. He has two decades of experience as a United Nations’ expert on these subjects. He was joined on the seminar’s panel by Commissioner Koos Sneek and Island Council members Millicent Lijfrock-Marsdin and Reginald Zaandam of Statia; Benito Dirksz and Jeffrey Levenstone from Bonaire and Ishmael Levenstone of Saba; also, Director of the St. Eustatius and Saba Chamber of Commerce and Industry Carlyle Tearr and legal experts Anthony Nicolaas from Bonaire and Denicio Brison from St. Maarten. Moderators were Brighter Path founding members Xiomara Balentina and Lynette Anson. Island Governor Gerald Berkel, Commissioner Glenville Schmidt and Island Council members Franklin Brown, Reuben Merkman and Adelka Spanner were in the audience.

Many Statians are concerned about the island’s current status as “special entity” of The Netherlands. Not only is its present status not what the population voted for in the 2005 referendum, but many people also feel that it has turned out very different from what they expected. In addition, the Dutch government wants to go ahead with changing the Constitution according to these lines.

Brighter Path Foundation organised this seminar to increase public awareness of the constitutional changes as they relate to Statia. Since Bonaire and Saba are in the same situation, the foundation believed discussions would benefit from the input from these islands as well. 

Corbin explained the UN’s views on the implementation of the right to self-determination. The three recognised models are full independence, self-governance (including free association with another state) and full integration into the (formerly) controlling country. As a UN member state, The Netherlands has legally committed itself to developing self-governance in all territories under its control including Statia. This means that the island’s population has to be able to freely determine its political status. However, Corbin stated the UN had already taken the former Netherlands Antilles off the list of territories awaiting self- determination as they were considered to have obtained autonomy since the implementation of Statute of 1954.

Many Statians feel they did not have any say in the island’s current constitutional status, and the issue of a new referendum came up frequently during the discussion. It was repeatedly suggested that a signature drive could convince the Island Council to organise a referendum. Questioned about this Council Members Lijfrock- Marsdin and Zaandam said they were both in favour of a new referendum. 

Corbin said that for a new referendum to carry any weight, a clear definition of the options had to be presented to voters, including what integration would mean. “Would it be full integration (as in the French model) or partial integration (as in the current model),” Corbin explained. 

Dirksz said it seemed that the Dutch government only had two options on offer: autonomy or becoming a Dutch municipality. Commissioner Sneek said there was no alternative to Statia’s current status. “This is what we have to work with,” he said. However, when someone in the audience asked the room during the lively and animated discussion if they were happy with the existing status, the answer was a resounding “no.”

Balentina said that followup events and activities are being developed “to ensure that the population of Statia can make an informed decision about their constitutional future.”

27 July 2012

Curacao to seek apology and reparation from Dutch slavery


WILLEMSTAD — With the commemoration of 150 years abolition of slavery next year, Curaçao will demand an apology and recovery money for the evils of slavery. Minister Carlos Monk of Administration, Planning and Service, and currently interim Minister of Culture (PS) said this...during the unveiling of the commemoration stone for 29 slaves who had to pay for their liberation fight in 1795 with their life.The pain caused by the colonial past hasn’t been acknowledged for ages, according to Monk. In the picture, Monk and the Young Watch unveil the commemoration stone for the 29 slaves who died during the slave rebellion in 1795.

The ceremony was held on the Queen’s Birthday for a mere handful of invitees at the National Archives. In his speech, Monk emphasized the self-sacrificing ability of these 29 slaves who influenced the course of the Curaçao history. “They were the forerunners, showing us how to fight for our freedom now. Their execution is the reflection of the colonial cruelty to rule over our people; through the years, this colonial oppression adopted other forms but the aim of the colonial power is unchanged: namely to rule over our people. However, their execution made them immortal, martyrs and heroes, and simultaneously their executioners are condemned for all eternity.”

According to Monk, if we don’t commemorate the sacrifice of these heroes, there’ll be no rousing or motivating the fighting spirit amid the people to fight against this injustice or whatever form of exploitation. “That’s why this tribute and recognition are necessary; there’re instruments to build a real foundation for our people; the basis of our fatherland. How can we say we’re a nation if we don’t recognize our own heroes? The deeds of these men, under inhumane circumstances, with empty hands, practically unarmed, must always serve as inspiration – to believe in our ability, strength, and capacity to battle, and destination.”

According to the Minister, the island has been fighting for its freedom for 217 years and is prepared to engage battle with more intensity. “Just like many of our forefathers, many of us present here and the next generations are prepared to give their life for our freedom. 217 years ago, we (Curaçao citizens) were born at the moment of self-sacrifice of the heroes we honor today.”

The Minister also elaborated on the present-day powers that should be eliminated. “Nowadays, we mustn’t only fight against the colonial power but also develop the critical awareness so we can combat bad habits and egoism that enslave us. Nowadays, we have to fight against the individualism that divides us and weakens the power of unity and the society, the system that enhances consumerism instead of a sense of public responsibility.” The same supposedly applies for the media that bends the truth to one’s will and supports the neocolonial system and other forms of human exploitation. According to the Minister, the battle is therefore a battle for an independent and sovereign people.

26 July 2012

John Dramani Mahama sworn in as new President of Ghana following passing of late President John Atta Mills

Ghana News Agency

Accra - Mr John Dramani Mahama was on Tuesday night sworn into office as the President of the Republic of Ghana and the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces.

He takes over from the late President Evans Atta Mills, who died at the 37 Military Hospital on Tuesday afternoon after a short illness.

As stipulated by Article 60(6) of the 1992 Constitution, Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood administered the Oath of Allegiance and the Presidential Oath to the former Vice President, whom, overwhelmed with emotion and grief, solemnly took the Oath, pledging to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of Ghana.

The event was after the Speaker of Parliament, Joyce Bamford-Addo had summoned the house for an emergency sitting, informing the MP's of the death of the President.

She asked the House to observe a minute's silence in honour of the departed President, after which she called on the members to receive the Vice President into the Chamber amidst the sounds of the Police band that played the national anthem.

President Mahama after taking and signing the oaths, paid tribute to the late President, expressing deep sorrow and describing the incidence as an "unprecedented tragedy".

He said: "For the first time in the history of Ghana, we have lost a sitting president who worked tirelessly for his people".

President Mahama said he never imagined that he would address the nation "in such a difficult circumstance" adding "the event is a tragic one that should maintain the unity and stability of the nation".

He eulogised President Mills, referring to him as his mentor, father, friend and teacher, who dedicated himself to better the life of Ghanaians saying "he brought a distinctive insight into Ghanaian politics".

"He was a good leader and the best tribute to him is to maintain the unity and stability of the nation" and thus there was the need for all flags fly at half mast for the next one week.

The Majority leader, Cletus Avoka, said the House would at the appropriate time pay a befitting tribute to the late President adding "we are lost for words" and moved for adjournment of the House.

Minority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, in seconding the motion, said the suddenness of the event was a tragic one that had "rendered solemn the spirit of the nation" saying "let the event serve as a fulcrum to unite the nation".

Isaac Osei, MP for Subin, told the GNA tha t the late President was one of the most successful politician that Ghana has ever had because he served twice as Vice President and subsequently became president.

Hassan Ayariga, Flagbearer of the People's National Convention, described the late President Atta Mills as hero even though he was being mourned, saying, "Atta Mills was a man who wanted peace and unity for his people".

People from all sections of the society including diplomats, representatives of political parties, and top government functionaries filled the public and press gallery and the environs of the Parliament to watch the swearing in ceremony of President Mahama.

Both majority and minority members were in mourning clothes, with majority of them spotting red arm and neck bands to express their grief at the loss of the President.

25 July 2012


The Decolonisation Papers
Occassional papers on the self-determination/decolonisation process.



Presented to


June 20, 2012


Alpha Gibbs on behalf of Turks and Caicos Forum

Your Excellency Chairman Morejon-Pazmino, Committee Members,

 Thank for allowing us the opportunity to petition your Committee. 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 24, 2011 before this Committee and our appearance before the Fourth Committee on October 5, 2011. 

The issue which summons our presence today is the continuing violation of human rights of the native born citizens of the Turks and Caicos Islands at the hands of the Administering Power, the United Kingdom as well as the lack of transparency in the governance process of the interim administration and the inequitable application of the law. We are extremely concerned that the despite the UK’s membership within the UN its failures as an Administering Power seem to go unnoticed and without adverse consequences. 

We acknowledge the UN Resolution on the Third International Decade to Eradicate Colonialism. However we note that if this Third Decade is expected to experience greater progress toward decolonization than the past two decades then the circumstance in the Turks and Caicos Islands demands greatly improved performance from the Administering Power, the United Kingdom, in the discharge of their responsibilities under UN Charter Article 73. The circumstance demands greater capacity building within the Non-Self Governing Territory of Turks and Caicos and more effective monitoring by the UN, to assure that the elements and objectives of Resolution 1514; 43/47 and subsequent Resolutions are met and responsibilities are discharged as agreed and covenants are adhered to and our human rights in the Turks and Caicos Islands are not violated. 

The conditions within the Turks and Caicos cries out for an impartial and neutral assessment. The need for an objective and impartial assessment is necessary, greatly in part because the Administering Power, in decreeing direct rule from London, seems intent on obscuring and covering its failures with respect to oversight and responsibility for good governance while concentrating its efforts on investigations of locally elected members of the Turks and Caicos Parliament. 

The administration of justice appears inequitable in the pursuit of correcting wrongs against the people of the Turks and Caicos. Alleged wrong doers of local origin are in some instances being dealth with, according to the letter of the law while favoured expatriate perpetrators of UK origin are given preferred treatment. For example the former UK appointed governor who presided over cabinet during the era of high corruption has not been sought for questioning nor has he been charged with any crime nor has the UK appointed attorney general of the same era. We find this circumstance rather challenging as many of the corrupting events originated with cabinet decisions. Bothe the Governor and Attorney General were defacto members of cabinet. Further a member of the British house of Lords is known to have significant financial interest in companies which facilitated some of the corrupting activities and again we hear of no investigative action in this direction. 

Another example of questionable application of justice is an instance where the UK led interim administration has permitted the mortgagee of fraudulently conveyed crown land to be made whole through the sale of a part of the subject parcel while local beneficiaries of fraudulently conveyed crown land are experiencing confiscation of similarly conveyed parcels. In our estimation such inequitable actions do not speak to good governance or transparency in government.

The removal from office of all parliamentarians in the Turks and Caicos on August 14, 2009 is not consistent with the action taken in the UK against its own Parliament in matters of malfeasance by British Parliamentarians. We are well aware of the fact that during a similar time frame at least five British Parliamentarians have been tried and convicted of fraud while in office, two peers from the House of Lords and three Parliamentarians from the House of Commons. It is noteworthy that neither the indictments nor the convictions resulted in a suspension of parliamentary democracy in Britain. However as a result of suspicion of guilt on the part of a few Parliamentarians in the Turks and Caicos the entire parliament was dissolved and, an interim dictatorship, established presided over by a UK appointed governor and other British civil servants. 

This extreme action taken by the Administering Power against the Turks and Caicos is evidence of the failures of the Administering Power in the discharge of its obligations under UN Charter 73. It is evidence of the failures of the Administering Power to exercise its reserve powers for oversight and good governance as enshrined in the Turks and Caicos Constitution. It is evidence of the violation of the human rights of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The UK contends that its Order in Council of August 14, 2009, and the resulting direct rule by a British appointed Governor implemented good governance in the Turks and Caicos, however the evidence on the ground points to the contrary. Continuing lack of good governance exists in part for the following observations:

1) Citizens of Turks and Caicos do not have access to any avenue of redress for grievances against the interim administration; dictatorship by the Governor persists.

2) The position of the Complaints Commissioner was vacated with the Order in Council of August 14, 2009 and has not been filled.

3) The propaganda promulgated is that ‘in practice the Governor works under an interim constitutional arrangement with an Advisory Council to formulate policy and a Consultative Forum to allow the people’s voice to be heard’ (see paragraph 14 of the UN February 28, 2011, Working Paper). The truth is, the peoples voices are never heard on matters of national significance nor are the voices of dissent heard within the afore-mentioned bodies.

4) Inquires for information of National importance by members of the Consultative Forum are routinely ignored and or rebuffed by senior members of the Governor’s team.

5) The public is unaware of the substance of the debates if any which transpire within the Advisory Council and the Consultative Forum. Transcripts of such deliberations, if they exist, are not available to the public nor are they available to the members of either body. Furthermore there is no dialogue between the two bodies.

6) Processes for the allocation of government resources and benefits are no more transparent now than they were three years ago. To many of us the processes seem as questionable now as they were prior to the August 14, 2009 suspension of parliamentary democracy in Turks and Caicos. The appointment of the attorney general as the sole decision maker in the allocation of crown land will not improve transparency of the process, in fact it removes transparency. 

7) Accountability levels of the public service and UK consultants to the interim administration are no more evident than they were three years ago. We have witnessed no attempts at capacity building within the civil service. The recently announced three day visit by civil servants to the county seat of Norfolk in the UK cannot suffice for capacity building.

8) Fiscal management within the public sector is as questionable now as it was three years ago and in some instances it is possibly worse. The British appointed CFO is recklessly pursuing the introduction of a Value Added Tax regime, much to the distress of the citizenry even though superior alternatives are known to exist. 

9) Turks and Caicos Citizens residing abroad continue to be denied the franchise because of an onerous residency requirement of twelve out of twenty four months in the aggregate, which the UK does not apply to its own citizens residing abroad. UK citizens residing abroad are allowed the privilege of absentee balloting, as do many countries around the world. Further the UK only requires of its citizens living abroad the obligation to register once every 15 years. However the UK is about to authorize a new Constitution in the Turks and Caicos Islands which is more onerous that the currently suspended Constitution, in that, the Constitutions now allows members of the British Armed Forces to vote in the Turks and Caicos while not being subjected to the residency requirement. It is a widely held belief within the Turks and Caicos Islands that there are not any native born Turks and Caicos Islanders who are members of the British Armed Forces, hence we find this provision in the Constitution to be particularly suspect especially when juxtaposed against the disenfranchisement of native born citizens living abroad. 

10) Article 21 clause 1; of the International Human Rights Law states that ‘everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives’. The United Kingdom has blatantly violated this law with the disbandment of Parliament within the Turks and Caicos on August 14, 2009 and the removal of the duly elected representatives of the people from their elected offices. The United Kingdom continues to violate this law with the debarment and disenfranchisement of a significant segment of native born citizens from the electoral process. The United Kingdom has violated this law and the human rights of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands with the imposition of a dictator in the form of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office appointed Governor who functions as the sole authority on the affairs of the Territory.

11)Article 21 clause 3; of the International Human Rights Law states ‘ the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures’. The UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs announced recently that general elections will be held in the Turks and Caicos Islands on November 9, 2012. This feeble attempt at correcting an egregious wrong is grossly flawed, as the voter registration process administered by the non-elected Interim Government has instituted barriers to the registration process which has made compliance extremely difficult. One such difficulty is the cost and extremely slow process of securing basic identification documents from the appropriate offices of the Interim Administration. There are reports of citizens being unable to pay the required fee for a birth certificate and thus being denied the ability to register as a voter. Another difficulty is the narrow window for compliance with the registration requirements. The registration window opened April 9th and closes June 30, 2012. Furthermore announcements to, or facilities for registration, has not been made available to Turks and Caicos citizens residing outside of the Turks and Caicos Islands. It goes without saying that any election held within the Turks and Caicos under the currently designed processes cannot be considered to be genuine and as such will be a violation of the human rights of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. 

Your Excellency, we herein request, that this Special Committee of 24 inquire of and demand of your member State, the United Kingdom, an improved explanation of their assault on the human rights and denial of access to parliamentary democracy of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and their retardation of the progress of the Turks and Caicos toward self determination. We further request that this Committee persuades the United Kingdom, to restore to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands their lost economic value during this period of maladministration both during the prior government and during this interim administration. 

As on prior appearances, we request that the United Nations through its various Organs and Committees establish a monitoring team to investigate issues human rights violations in the Turks and Caicos Islands and provide some oversight of the activities of the interim administration and hold the UK accountable for its obligations to the Non-Self Governing Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands. We also request the formulation and execution of a C-24 Visiting Mission to the Turks and Caicos Islands within the immediate future. Without such oversight, we have witnessed that, a UK appointed governor will ignore our best interest, our human rights are violated and our people further marginalized in the land of our birth lost. 

We thank you for the opportunity to present our Petition.

 The changing landscape of TCI government

TCI News Now
by David Forbes

Dear Sir:

Permit me some space on your website to enlighten the people of the TCI to what is taking place under the interim administration. I also want to sensitize members of the Advisory Council and the Consultative Forum. 

When the PDM administration left office in 2003, all key positions in the government were localized, this continued under the PNP. Concerted efforts were made to train local people and build capacity among our people to ensure they are capable of doing their jobs. 

This development has been drastically reversed by the British over the past three years. Frankly speaking the actions of the British Government is tantamount to naked modern day racism.

The above strong statement is supported by the following analysis from TCIG press releases and other well-placed sources.

The results of these decisions are far reaching for any elected government and for the long term sustainable development of the TCI. This trend will also undermine any efforts towards independence. Both PNP and PDM are now talking about nation building. The PNP for certain is pledging to take the TCI independent. None of these proposals are feasible with the brain drain of TCI natives, the removal of local capacity and depriving the islands of an inner ability “to run its own affairs”. 

What will happen to all of these replacements after elections are completed and there is a localized Turks and Caicos government? Can this be considered a long-term trend of replacing career civil servants with these replacements? Mind you some of the persons going home were lazy and dysfunctional and probably should never have held such positions of responsibility in the first place. They in some limited cases almost justify these incorrect steps being taken by the interim government. 

By and large in all cases where bad apples are weeded out and the good ones going home, there are locals, natives, persons with huge experiences in government and education, who can replace the outgoing persons. Mr Governor, CEO, CFO, the Public Service Commission, which is supposedly “local” and has the final say, must know that these decisions cannot be justified on any level. In 60% of the cases here, you are all being totally racist. 

Finally, one must ask the British government a serious question: “Did you come to wipe out corruption of the former government or did you come to install a latter day apartheid system?”

U.N. releases proposed strategic framework for decolonisation

United Nations General Assembly                                                               

A/67/6 (Prog. 2)
Distr.: General
7 March 2012
Original: English
Sixty-seventh session
Item 131 of the preliminary list*
Programme planning

Proposed strategic framework for the period 2014-2015

Part two: biennial programme plan
Programme 2
Political affairs

                   Subprogramme 4

Objective of the Organization: To promote the decolonization process in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and relevant resolutions of the General Assembly for the 16 remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories so as to bring about the complete eradication of colonialism
accomplishment of the 
Indicator of 
The Special Committee and the General Assembly will be able to carry out their decolonization mandates and make progress in the decolonization process of the 16 remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories
(i) Timely submission of parliamentary documents
(ii) Sustained level of support to the work of the Special Committee in facilitating communication with the administering Powers


2.12    Responsibility for subprogramme 4 lies with the Decolonization Unit, which will provide support to the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, as well as to the General Assembly. The issues related to decolonization are guided by the Charter of the United Nations, as well as by the principles of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples contained in Assembly resolutions 1514 (XV) and 1541 (XV) and other relevant Assembly resolutions.

2.13    The Special Committee and the General Assembly will continue to examine the situation with regard to political, economic and social developments in all territories that have not yet exercised their right to self-determination or that have not been decolonized according to their specific conditions and to seek suitable means to implement the Declaration in accordance with the Charter and relevant resolutions of the Assembly. 

The Committee will continue to improve cooperation with the administering Powers at all stages of the decolonization process. It will examine the views of the representatives of the Non-Self-Governing Territories. It will also organize its regional annual seminars in the Caribbean and the Pacific, as well as visiting missions to the Non-Self-Governing Territories. Moreover, the Committee will continue to enlist worldwide support for decolonization and formulate proposals with respect to the issues on its agenda and report thereon to the Assembly.

2.14    In support of the above-mentioned legislative bodies, especially the Special Committee, advice and substantive assistance will be provided to the Committee, including in its deliberations on the situation in the remaining 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories at the annual sessions; during the preparation and conduct of its seminars held alternately in the Caribbean and the Pacific regions; during visiting missions; and in any other activity carried out to implement the mandated programme of work of the Committee. Assistance will also be provided in improving the Committee’s cooperation with the administering Powers, maintaining contacts with the representatives of the Non-Self-Governing Territories and developing relations with the organizations and agencies of the United Nations system aimed at achieving further progress in decolonization and bringing a complete end to colonialism. Supportive actions will include closely following the developments in the Non-Self-Governing Territories, conducting research and preparing working papers, reports and analytical and briefing materials. 

In addition, in cooperation with the Department of Public Information, information material, including publications and audio and visual programmes related to decolonization, will be prepared and disseminated to a wide audience, with a view to increasing the awareness of the international community with regard to the decolonization issues as well as in mobilizing international support for the achievement of the complete eradication of colonialism.

23 July 2012

Order to Bring UK and Territories under Mutual Assistance Act Tabled In Senate

By Alecia Smith-Edwards

 Jamaica Information Service

Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, commenting on the Order in the Upper House In the background is Senator Lambert Brown Minister of Justice.
Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, on June 22, 2012 tabled in the Senate, an Order to bring the United Kingdom (UK) and British Overseas Territories under the ambit of the Mutual Assistance (Criminal Matters) Act.   

The Senator explained that the Act facilitates important forms of legal assistance between Jamaica and other countries with which Jamaica has entered into treaties providing for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.  

The British Overseas Territories include: Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Bermuda, Montserrat, and Anguilla. The Minister noted that Cabinet had approved a submission for the making of an Order designating the UK and the specified British Overseas Territories as Commonwealth states for the purposes of the Act.  

He said the Order resulted from a letter he had received from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) in late March this year, bringing his attention to a request the Office had received from the relevant authorities of one of the British Overseas Territories, pointing out that the request could not be granted because this country had not been brought within the ambit of the Act.

“It was pointed out by the ODPP that failure to bring this and the other British Overseas Territories in the region under the Act was adversely affecting Jamaica’s co-operation arrangements in criminal matters with the law enforcement authorities of those countries, as many requests for legal assistance had been coming to Jamaica from those countries and Jamaica was not able to respond favorably,” he said.

Senator Golding noted that this, in turn, was affecting how favourably those countries respond to mutual requests for legal assistance from Jamaica. “The ODPP requested me to rectify this situation by making an Order bringing these countries within the ambit of the Act,” he explained.

The Senator said the designation of these (countries) under the Act is critical to the nation’s war on transnational crime, as it will be an important tool to help combat the high levels of organized crime, and corruption being experienced by the country and the Caribbean as a whole.

“Several of these countries are offshore banking centres and tax havens, and well known jurisdictions for the holding of funds and other assets, and Jamaicans have significant investment and commercial links with these jurisdictions. It is clearly in the public interest to facilitate mutual legal assistance between the law enforcement agencies of Jamaica and these countries,” Senator Golding argued.

The forms of legal assistance available under the Act include matters, such as the location, examination and taking the testimony of witnesses, the production of documents and other records, the carrying out of search and seizure, and tracing, seizure and forfeiture of property.

“These facilities for legal assistance provided by the Act apply to those countries which have been designated by an Order for this purpose made by the Minister of Justice,” Senator Golding explained.

He further pointed out that the Order is subject to affirmative resolution and it is anticipated that the resolution will be taken and passed at the next sitting of the Senate.

16 July 2012

América Latina Los retos de la descolonización en el Caribe


Al igual que Puerto Rico, sus asuntos son reclamados como “asuntos domésticos” con los cuales no puede intervenir la ONU porque estaría infringiendo la soberanía de un estado miembro, el poder colonizador.

Perfil de Autor
       Publicado: martes, 10 de julio de 2012

Una de las tareas más difíciles que nos enfrentamos en el trabajo de descolonización es el muro que nos encontramos en las mentes no sólo de las personas que viven bajo el colonialismo, sino de las personas encargadas de trabajar con temas de descolonización. La primera barrera que nos encontramos es el lenguaje que usan las instituciones dedicadas al trabajo de descolonización: la Organización de Naciones Unidas (ONU).

La ONU fue creada por y bajo el control de los países considerados como los “liberadores” del mundo del flagelo del fascismo: los llamados “aliados”, la URSS, EEUU y el Reino Unido de Gran Bretaña e Irlanda del Norte. Sin embargo, la repartición del mundo que se hicieron las grandes potencias bajo la teoría de la “esfera de influencias”, traía consigo el germen de la contradicción. Mientras por un lado en el Tratado del Atlántico se hablaba del derecho a la libre determinación, por el otro se despojaba a los palestinos de sus tierras, se quedaban incólumes las posesiones europeas y estadounidenses coloniales en el Asia, África y América Latina, y se mantenía la hegemonía soviética en los de Europa Oriental y Asia.

Así, desde su creación la ONU trajo consigo la gran contradicción entre lo que decían los documentos y los discursos y lo que se hacía en la práctica con impunidad. Hoy en día esa contradicción no sólo sigue existiendo sino que se ha acentuado en las acciones tomadas por el organismo con relación a Irak, Libia y actualmente en Siria.

El trabajo y los documentos sobre descolonización son un ejemplo dramático de las contradicciones señaladas. Al día de hoy todavía se refieren a los países que tienen pueblos y naciones sometidas bajo situación colonial como “potencias administradoras” y a los territorios bajo colonialismo como “territorios no autónomos” o en “fideicomiso”. Todo un juego de lenguaje impuesto por los países colonizadores que después de todo son los que redactaron los documentos, con excepción de la Resolución 1514(XV) cuyo proyecto aprobado fue el redactado por los países de Asia y África. Pero, aun con el lenguaje claro de la 1514(XV) que habla sobre “países y pueblos coloniales”, los colonizadores se las arreglaron para que se siguiera arrastrando el lenguaje de la Carta de la ONU del artículo 73e que se refiere a “territorios no autónomos”.

Pero el peor de los legados que tenemos es que aun cuando la Resolución 1514(XV) tiene como objetivo principal la abolición del colonialismo, al mandatar el traspaso de poderes de forma inmediata y sin que medien como excusa tamaño o desarrollo económico y político del territorio para no traspasarle los poderes, la ONU y los países colonizadores han hecho caso omiso de dicho mandato abolicionista. ¿Por qué? Porque el resultado lógico de dicho mandato es dejar sin efecto la titularidad que alegan tener sobre los territorios los países colonizadores aun cuando el colonialismo fue declarado como un crimen contra la humanidad y una violación flagrante de los derechos humanos. De la misma forma que al declararse ilegal la esclavitud ningún “amo” podía oponerse a la libertad de su esclavo alegando “titularidad” anterior a la abolición de la esclavitud, ningún país colonizador puede alegar que tiene título válido anterior a la aprobación de la 1514(XV). Menos aún, cuando la obtención de dichos títulos fueron el producto de la invasión y ocupación de territorios con habitantes o con soberanía claramente establecida como en el caso de Las Malvinas, o por “cesiones” y “tratados” entre imperios delincuentes.

A pesar de la aprobación de la Carta Magna de la Descolonización (Res. 1514(XV), hoy el Comité de Descolonización sigue trabajando el tema de la descolonización dentro del marco legal anterior a la aprobación dela Resolución 1514(XV) y con el lenguaje y las nomenclaturas que impusieron los países colonizadores al aprobar la Carta de la ONU. Por eso estamos en la Tercera Década de la Descolonización sin que se haya resuelto el problema del colonialismo en el mundo. Esto no desmerece ni ignora las decenas de países africanos y asiáticos que alcanzaron su independencia en la década de los sesenta, aunque habrá que estudiar con profundidad cuán involucrada estuvo y cuánto aportó la ONU a esos logros. Lo que sí es innegable es que aunque alcanzaron independencia política, el neocolonialismo se instaló cómodamente para continuar el saqueo y expolio de esas regiones del mundo.

La región a la que pertenecemos, el Caribe, contiene la mayoría de los pueblos del mundo bajo colonialismo. El Caribe tiene tres tipos de colonialismos: los reconocidos por la ONU como “territorios no autónomos” y que aparecen en la lista levantada al amparo del Artículo 73e de la Carta de la ONU, las seis dependencias de Reino Unido -las Bermudas, las Islas Turcas y Caicos, Islas Caimán, Anguila, Islas Vírgenes Británicas y Montserrat- y la de Estados Unidos (EE.UU.) -las Islas Vírgenes-, que fueron clasificadas por la ONU en 1946 como territorios no autónomos y los territorios semiautónomos Holandeses; y los territorios “integrados” a la llamada “metrópolis” como las islas bajo dominio francés de Guadalupe, Martinica y la Guyana Francesa.

Las islas que han sido “integradas a la metrópoli” no figuran ante la atención del Comité de Descolonización y fueron sacadas de la lista de “territorios no autónomos” porque supuestamente ejercieron su derecho a la libre determinación. Al igual que Puerto Rico, sus asuntos son reclamados como “asuntos domésticos” con los cuales no puede intervenir la ONU porque estaría infringiendo la soberanía de un estado miembro, el poder colonizador.


En 1999 las islas bajo dominio de Gran Bretaña cambiaron el nombre “dependencia” por el de “territorio de ultramar” (OT), y el título del Jefe de Gobierno electo cambió de “chief minister” (ministro jefe o principal) a la de “Premier” (primer ministro). Sin embargo, el poder unilateral de la metrópoli se mantuvo. Los OT para todos lo efectos están bajo “direct rule”, con gobernadores con “poderes reservados”, nombrados por la reina, que pueden anular legislación adoptada por el gobierno electo del territorio. El gobernador británico también puede emitir decretos para promulgar leyes, de manera unilateral, sin el consentimiento y en contra de la voluntad del gobierno electo. El gobierno de su majestad puede dejar sin efecto la constitución, (constituciones redactadas en Inglaterra aunque ésta no tiene una constitución), como lo hicieron en la Islas de Turcos y Caicos con la excusa de sacar una administración corrupta del gobierno local.


Comenta el experto en descolonización, Carlyle Corbin, que tanto en las dependencias de Reino Unido y de EE.UU en el Caribe, nunca se ha emprendido ningún acto legítimo de autodeterminación, puesto que todas las iniciativas políticas y constitucionales se han llevado a cabo bajo la jurisdicción de las leyes de la metrópoli, y no bajo el derecho internacional. Carlyle Corbin, Colonialismo contemporáneo en el Caribe, Revista ALAI (abril, 2012)

Ambas metrópolis sostienen que los habitantes de “sus” territorios han consentido a la relación de subordinación política porque celebran “elecciones libres”. El pecado original de este “consentimiento” es que el pueblo ha tenido que someter “su” constitución para aprobación por el Congreso de EEUU, como lo fue en el caso de Puerto Rico, lo cual es contrario al derecho a libre determinación. Las Islas Vírgenes de EEU han pasado por cinco convenciones constituyentes para aprobar una constitución, las cuales nunca han sido refrendadas por el Congreso de EEUU, y sin que la ONU haya denunciado la ilegalidad de dicho comportamiento de la llamada “potencia administradora”.


Robert Sae explica que aunque “Martinica abarca apenas 1100 km2 y cuenta con sólo 400.000 habitantes, sin embargo, es una base esencial sobre la cual se apoya la política de los imperialistas europeos en la región, que utilizan este “Departamento Francés de América (DFA)” como un verdadero caballo de Troya para su intervención.” Martinica es una base de apoyo para la vigilancia, la inteligencia y las intervenciones militares en la región. Al igual que sucedió con la Isla de Vieques en Puerto Rico, junto con Guadalupe, Martinica sirvió como escala durante la Guerra de las Malvinas y la invasión de Granada y allí Francia y EE.UU. organizan regularmente maniobras militares conjuntas.

En 1946 Martinica fue “integrada” a Francia al convertirse en un Departamento de Ultramar. Francia proclamó la “descolonización” del país y el carácter “doméstico” del territorio. Sae describe la realidad de dicha “descolonización”: “supervisión de todos los actos administrativos casi únicamente en manos de oriundos de la “metrópoli”, economía extrovertida al servicio de la metrópoli, despliegue de las fuerzas armadas en los conflictos sociales, justicia a dos velocidades, permanencia del racismo, etc.”

En el plano social y económico los paralelismos con Puerto Rico son escalofriantes: un 32% de la población activa está desempleada (62% para los menores de 25 años); y un 20% vive por debajo del umbral de la pobreza.

Martinica al igual que Puerto Rico ha luchado por mantener su identidad propia. Pero distinto a Puerto Rico, los independentistas han logrado avances electorales obteniendo mayoría en el Consejo Regional de 2006 a 2010. En la actualidad la mayoría es autonomista. Este auge de los sectores independentistas y autonomistas obligó al gobierno de Francia a celebrar referendos. Sae denuncia que “todas las consultas organizadas en el país se llevaron a cabo en un contexto de desinformación masiva y de chantaje respecto a la supresión de las conquistas sociales. Además, excluyeron a la tercera parte de la población de Martinica, emigrada en Francia, pero dieron el voto a los franceses de paso en el país, incluidos los miembros de las Fuerzas Armadas y de las fuerzas del orden”. El resultado del referéndum fue de 68,30% a favor del “Sí” con una participación de un 35,81% de los votantes registrados, Sae concluye que “ningún poder político significativo se ha concedido a las autoridades locales. La tutela sobre Martinica se mantiene intacta, desde todo punto de vista.” Robert Sae; Martinica: una apuesta estratégica, Revista ALAI (abril, 2012)


La Guayana Francesa, un país ubicado entre la República Federativa de Brasil y la República de Surinam, está habitado por pueblos indígenas y poblaciones migrantes, similares a las de Brasil, Surinam, Guyana, Venezuela, Bolivia, Perú, Belice.

Newton, Servais, Carpentier y Charlotte nos describen cómo Francia lo ha convertido en un corredor militar francés y europeo. “Con la llegada de Galileo (el satélite militar), Francia cuenta con 40.000 hombres, barbouzes (agentes no oficiales), jubilados en actividad bajo el comando del Estado Mayor de las Fuerzas Armadas y los servicios de inteligencia destacados en Guayana, en capacidad de intervenir contra independentistas guayaneses, y los pueblos o gobiernos solidarios en lucha contra todas las formas del imperialismo en el continente. El Presidente de Francia tiene el poder de decisión para utilizar esta arma temible. La colaboración de gestión neocolonial Francia-EE.UU. (presencia militar estadounidense en Colombia) debilita los movimientos contestatarios en ese país abocados a la búsqueda de la paz. Por ejemplo, debido a la disputa entre Venezuela y EE.UU., Francia se encarga de las investigaciones en suelo venezolano.” Marie-Claire Newton, Alphonsine Servais, Pierre Carpentier, Raymond Charlotte: Guayana en América Latina Revista ALAI (abril 2012)

El 18 de septiembre de 2009, se remitió una solicitud dirigida al Presidente del Comité Especial de Descolonización de las Naciones Unidas, para registrar la Guayana Francesa en la lista de países por descolonizar. Se desconoce si ha habido respuesta a la misma. Francia hará lo mismo que EEUU hace con Puerto Rico: alegará que es un “asunto doméstico” sobre el cual la ONU no tiene jurisdicción porque intervenir sería atentar contra la soberanía de Francia.

El 10 y 24 de enero de 2010 se celebraron referendos con una tasa de abstención cercana al 72% de los votantes registrados. El “Sí” a la creación de una “Colectividad” ganó con un 57,48%, con una participación del 27,44% de los votantes registrados.


En los países semiautónomos holandeses, explica Corbin, las disposiciones de la Carta de 1954 del Reino de los Países Bajos, para asegurar la “buena gobernanza” en los países semiautónomos del Caribe, han dado lugar a una expresión similar, si bien menos explícita, de poder unilateral de la metrópoli. En el 2010 se “desmantelaron” las Antillas Holandesas, compuestas por cinco islas, emergiendo dos países semiautónomos: Curazao y Sint Maarten (isla de San Martín), imponiéndose un modelo que desplazó el proceso presupuestario y otras competencias funcionales del gobierno electo a la metrópoli y redujo aún más el nivel de autogobierno. Las otras tres islas fueron convertidas en “entidades públicas” parcialmente integradas a los Países Bajos: Saba, San Eustaquio y Bonaire.

Esta “reorganización” de los territorios holandeses, la reforma constitucional y el estatuto autonómico que han obtenido las Antillas Holandesas y Aruba, tiene la ganancia colateral para Holanda de tener el control de 8,300 km. cuadrados de aguas territoriales, incluyendo Curazao, Bonaire, San Eustacio y Saba y sus respectivas zonas de exclusividad de zona marítima y zona económica, estableciendo tres nuevas fronteras de la Unión Europea en el Caribe, con implicaciones para la pesca, recursos naturales, la seguridad y la integración regional. (Corbin)


Como se desprende del anterior resumen de la situación política de las relaciones de las islas del Caribe y Guayana con sus respectivas “metrópolis”, los países colonizadores siguen tomando decisiones a espalda del derecho internacional, utilizando los territorios para la protección de sus intereses económicos a través del control hegemónico de la región, e imponiendo “su” orden legal y visión del mundo con total impunidad. El despertar de la conciencia de los pueblos sometidos al colonialismo, requiere de una tarea diaria de educación y denuncia y, sobre todo, de llamar a las cosas por su nombre.