Re: [TdC] Four Centuries of Oppression
- markalastairsilverman wrote:
>Each edition can be accessed four different ways from here:
> 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.
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
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+In another life, I have written strong words about the legacy of
> 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.
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
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
Bob Conrich bob@...
St. Helena Transhipment Services Ltd.
British West Indies Tel: 264 497 2505