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Re: [TdC] Four Centuries of Oppression

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  • Bob Conrich
    ... Each edition can be accessed four different ways from here: http://www.news.co.sh/st%20helena%20herald.htm It s posted both as a pdf file and a zipped pdf
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2, 2002
      markalastairsilverman wrote:
      > Unfortunately, I couldn't open the news attachment (I have the
      > updated Adobe) - is there anywhere else where I can read about your
      > proposals for St Helena (which could benefit Tristan), or perhaps you
      > could paste an extract into an e-mail.

      Each edition can be accessed four different ways from here:


      It's posted both as a pdf file and a zipped pdf file, and each can be
      viewed with and without ads.

      Instead of posting something that others may have already read, here's
      the presentation I made at a public meeting organized by the St. Helena
      Chamber of Commerce, and broadcast live on Radio St. Helena:


      Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,
      and all of you listening to The Nation's Station.

      I bring you greetings from the island of Anguilla, in the British Caribbean. My island shares many
      good things with yours. We share the blessings of a friendly and welcoming people. We have both
      been blessed with the leadership of the late and much beloved Alan Hoole, a true friend of all the
      people of the Overseas Territories. Our former Attorney General, Kurt De Freitas, now holds that
      same position on your island. Even the cover of your telephone directory looks like ours, because
      Hensil O'Bey told me he visited my island three years ago and copied the cover design of our

      Saints have been working for many years to regain British citizenship. You worked alone and
      persistently. Because of your efforts, all of us, both here and in most of the other Overseas
      Territories, are about to regain what was taken from us. I don't believe many of us recognize
      our debt to you, or have thanked you.

      I come both to thank you and, with the blessings of your Government, perhaps to repay you.

      In 1999 the Parliament of the European Union said the people of the Overseas Territories were
      entitled to achieve sustainable social and economic development, and that there is an imperative
      need for them to do so.

      This statement was widely ignored. Foreigners have been coming to our islands for hundreds of years
      making empty promises, right?

      Our company and others used this promise to argue in London and Brussels that the Saints, among
      others, are entitled to achieve a standard of living comparable to that enjoyed in Britain.

      My island, blessed with many miles of white sand beaches, is doing a little better than yours.
      Anguillian men no longer have to go to other islands to cut cane to support their families.
      Why should your children have to have to push brooms in the Falkland Islands so they can one
      day own their own homes? This is wrong.

      As a result of our efforts and those of many others, on November 27 the Council of the European
      Union enacted a new 10-year agreement between the EU and the Overseas Territories. It is long.
      Downloading it from the Internet, using fine print, it's 77 pages. I want to talk to you this
      evening about Article 36.

      Article 36 allows St. Helena to be made a duty port of entry for goods travelling from other countries
      to the EU. It allows your Government to collect and keep the duty on these goods, and to send the
      goods on to the EU with a certificate that will allow these goods to be entered duty-free in Europe.

      We are prepared to make St. Helena the world's second largest exporter of Japanese cars. If
      our proposal is accepted and London and Brussels approved the level of trade we recommend --
      one ship a month -- your government will earn some 34 million Pounds per year after all
      expenses. And this will continue for the ten years of the new EU Agreement. 340 million Pounds.

      Ships would come here, pay duty on their cargo, conform to your customs formalities, submit other
      documentation, and go on their way. No one will come ashore and no cargo will be landed or be
      sold here.

      We are prepared to take all the risks and pay all the expenses, which are enormous. Your
      Government's only expenses will be to provide a boarding party when a ship arrives, and to
      employ a vast bureaucracy to spend the money we work to bring you.

      >From our commission, our company will pay all expenses occasioned by the transhipment.

      These include compensation to the ship owner for the cost of diverting the ship all the
      way around Africa,

      payment to the EU importer for the loss of use of his goods caused
      by the diversion,

      the cost of insuring the goods for this additional time and distance,

      a very large fee to recompense the importer for the time and trouble of calling at
      St. Helena instead of using the far shorter route through the Suez Canal and having to
      deal with a new, unfamiliar and more complex procedure than is normally the case,

      my company's fees and expenses,

      and the cost of maintaining a resident agent on your island.

      Nearly everyone I talk to asks the same questions:

      1. "Is this legal?" Ask the Honourable Attorney General if he invited our company to come here and
      do something illegal.

      2. Why St. Helena? The world has almost forgotten that your island was first settled because
      of its location on the trade route to the Indies. Except for the 200 yachts a year that stop
      here on their way from Cape Town to the Americas, this has been of little importance to anyone
      for over a century. Now, for perhaps the first time since the passing of the days of sail and
      the opening of the Suez Canal, St. Helena can flourish once again from a maritime trade.

      3. "This sounds too good to be true." It does indeed. We want to make St. Helena
      the world leader in Article 36 transhipment. This is an entirely new concept in taxation
      and foreign aid. Instead of taxing people and sending the money to St. Helena, they are allowing
      the Saints to draw funds from the revenue side of their budget. This is a direct transfer of duty
      from one country to another. It is a gift. This is a new day in foreign aid. The Parliament of
      the European Union wants your government to use this money to create a sustainable social and
      economic development for you and your children.

      And I don't want your daughters to have to be servants in the Falklands.


      > I have been reading Peter Munch's Crisis in Utopia which is now 30+
      > yrs old. I am curious to find out how today's young (18-30) on both
      > TdC and St Helena view the future from where they live and -
      > notwithstanding their ability to find work - whether they are happy
      > to remain where they are and build their futures there. I know TdC
      > prides itself on its self-sufficiency, but are the Island's youth
      > happy to commit themselves to life in the South Atlantic...or do they
      > see a wider world out there waiting to be experienced. A question
      > that has probably been asked 1000s of times before, but it is
      > something which interests me (being in that age group). Perhaps you
      > or anyone else in the group knows a little of the answer.

      In another life, I have written strong words about the legacy of
      colonialism, the extraction of wealth from the overseas territories
      that continues to this very day by companies such as Cable & Wireless,
      an education system that supports a neo-plantation economy, government
      systems that encourage the duty-free importation of picks and sledges
      but taxes computers, foreign aid policies which encourage the foreign
      ownership of the productive economic sector, anglo-centric education
      that ignores the villages and environment that surround students and
      teaches that only the affairs of foreigners are worthy of study, the
      kind of human zoo tourism like that planned on Pitcairn, and the
      aspirations of the young.

      But that's a whole 'nother can of worms and I have come to St. Helena
      to do a job. If we succeed -- and our proposal has been received with
      much interest here -- the money we work to bring here can provide a
      sustainable economy for future generations both here and on Tristan.

      The result of four centuries of relentless racial and colonial
      oppression will not disappear overnight because an island achieves
      sustainable development.

      I am approaching dangerous ground here. I think my partners would
      prefer that I shut up for now and say "our company has no opinions
      about internal matters in these islands."

      And so, as has happened so often in human history, necessity*
      triumphs over principle.

      *Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
      It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.
      --William Pitt, House of Commons, 1783

      Consulate Hotel
      St. Helena

      Bob Conrich bob@...
      St. Helena Transhipment Services Ltd.
      Box 666
      British West Indies Tel: 264 497 2505
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