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UN Cries Freedom to Contented Colonies

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  • Bob Conrich
    From Scotland on Sunday, the Sunday edition of The Scotsman, Edinburgh Sun 23 May 2004 UN CRIES FREEDOM TO CONTENTED COLONIES IAN MATHER, Diplomatic
    Message 1 of 11 , May 23, 2004
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      From Scotland on Sunday, the Sunday edition of The Scotsman, Edinburgh
      Sun 23 May 2004

      UN CRIES FREEDOM TO CONTENTED COLONIES

      IAN MATHER, Diplomatic Correspondent
      imather@...

      AS IF its role in Iraq were not onerous enough, the United Nations is seeking to impose "regime change" on a tiny speck of
      land in the Pacific Ocean.

      The territory of Tokelau lies halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, and consists of three atolls with a total area of seven
      square miles. Its resident population of 1,500 travel to the outside world by an occasional visiting ship.

      Yet it is on the UN’s list of the world’s 16 remaining colonies, and the UN has sworn to make it independent whether its
      inhabitants like it or not.*

      This week the UN launches a week of "Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-governing Territories" in a drive to "liberate"
      them.

      Five are in the Pacific, where last week the UN held a conference to draw attention to their plight, with Tokelau at the top
      of the agenda.

      However, the Tokelauans, a Polynesian people, are reluctant over any change in status which would create the world’s ultimate
      microstate. It has no capital or airport, and more of its population live outside its borders than on its territory, since
      thousands of Tokelauans live in New Zealand, which controls Tokelau.

      Last week, the leader of Tokelau challenged plans by the UN and New Zealand to make the territory hold a referendum on
      self-determination.

      "For Tokelau, the most important thing in the decolonisation process is that the people of Tokelau, the elders, the
      fishermen, the weavers, the young children, know what it means," Patuki Isa’ako told the meeting in Mandang, Papua New
      Guinea. "Otherwise, we’re just wasting our time.

      "Why would we want to declare to the international community we have self-determination? While we may work on intangibles
      such as pride of the people, pride of being self-determined, we’ve always asked the question, what’s it for? Is it going to
      feed our mouths? Is it going to feed our children? What good is it for future generations?"

      However, the UN is undeterred in its drive to get Tokelau to hold a vote. Describing colonialism as "an anachronism in the
      21st century" UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told the conference: "Decolonisation is a UN success story but it is a story
      that is not yet finished. We must see the process through to its end."

      Critics claim that New Zealand, which strongly lobbied for French decolonisation in the Pacific, is embarrassed to be on the
      UN’s list of states that administer colonies.

      "They want to make Tokelau independent because to some diplomats it is embarrassing to have the UN going there now and again
      and inspecting the place," said one insider, who did not want to be named.

      More than 80 nations formerly under colonial rule have become independent since the UN was formed in 1945.

      "The decolonisation efforts of the United Nations derive from the principle of equal rights and self-determination of
      peoples," the UN says.

      But the problem for UN purists is that most of the colonies are either too small to be viable, or are populated by people who
      do not want to be independent.

      The 16 remaining colonies are mostly in the Caribbean or the Pacific. In addition to Tokelau the UN list includes the US
      territories of the Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa; the British territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin
      Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Island, St Helena and the Turks and Caicos
      Islands; the French territory of New Caledonia; and Morocco’s Western Sahara.

      Most could not function without hefty subsidies from the administering countries.

      Three British dependent territories, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar and Bermuda are exceptional in that they are
      economically sound.

      The Falkland Islanders have become wealthy through fish, and the Gibraltarians through finance and tourism, while the
      65,000-strong population of Bermuda enjoys one of the highest living standards in the world.

      Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands have the right to self-determination enshrined in their constitutions. But, unlike the UN,
      both argue that the right to self-determination should include the right to protection from other nations with claims on the
      territory.

      In two referendums the people of Gibraltar have rejected the transfer of sovereignty to Spain and the sharing of sovereignty
      between Britain and Spain.

      The Falkland Islanders are unanimously opposed to being taken over by Argentina.

      In Bermuda there is disagreement among the parties over independence. Earlier this year prime minister Alex Scott backed the
      UN’s call for decolonisation. He said that the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) had long favoured independence "and that
      position has not changed".

      But opposition leader Grant Gibbons said that the UN had no business "telling the people of Bermuda what’s good for us. We
      are a sophisticated and mature people and it’s a matter for Bermudians to decide when and how we wish to move to independence".


      This article: http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=585982004

      *This is inaccurate. The UN is open to three alternatives: free association, full integration or independence. These,
      however, are not binding on the administering powers, and thus the UK offers only two choices: independence or remaining a
      colony. Bob Conrich, Anguilla, British West Indies
    • Island Vulnerability
      Thank you for a fascinating article. I am curious about the accuracy of some aspects of the UN s stance. ... So does Solidarity with the Peoples of
      Message 2 of 11 , May 23, 2004
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        Thank you for a fascinating article. I am curious
        about the accuracy of some aspects of the UN's stance.
        In particular:

        > the United Nations is seeking to impose "regime
        > change"
        >
        > the UN has sworn to make it independent whether its
        > inhabitants like it or not.

        Bob has already indicated:

        > The UN is open to three
        > alternatives: free association, full integration or
        > independence. These, however, are not binding on
        > the administering powers.

        So does "Solidarity with the Peoples of
        Non-Self-governing Territories" and the drive to
        "liberate" them mean (a) force independence on them or
        (b) ensure that the people understand their options
        and make a free decision?

        The UN press releases at
        http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2001/gasm250.doc.htm
        and
        http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2002/sgsm8234.doc.htm
        give mixed messages. An end to colonialism is desired
        yet each territory must decide what it wants for
        itself. The contradiction does not exist if an end to
        enforced colonialism is sought or if "colonialism"
        means only administered by a country without the right
        to declare independence unilaterally.

        For example, my understanding is that New Zealand's
        self-governing territories are Niue and the Cook
        Islands and they have the right to declare unilateral
        independence whenever they choose. They are not on
        the UN's list, presumably for that reason. Tokelau,
        in contrast, is an administered territory without the
        right to declare unilateral independence.

        It seems, therefore, that the UN is only trying to
        push a referendum on (a) free association, (b) full
        integration or (c) independence. This stance is
        reasonable and is in line with international
        principles and rights to freedom and self-governance.

        Concerns will arise, however, if a territory wants a
        fourth option--the status quo. But is there much
        difference between "administration" and "free
        association"? Are there any differences between Niue
        and Tokelau other than the right to declare unilateral
        independence? How are Anguilla and St. Helena
        governed differently from South Georgia and Aruba?
        How are New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, and Saint
        Pierre and Miquelon governed differently?

        Similarly, if an administering power refuses to
        consider one of the choices--as with the UK--then it
        would be fair for the UN to pressure that country into
        having all three choices on the referendum.

        Surely the key is to let the territories know that
        they have choices, to inform the people of these
        choices, and to make certain that the people have the
        choice they would freely choose. A referendum, of
        course, does not necessarily yield that outcome, but
        it could be one useful step towards the goal.

        Any errors in my discussion or any other thoughts on
        this issue? In particular, what do people living on
        the territories (like Bob) think?

        Ilan
        http://www.islandvulnerability.org





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      • Ian Turner
        Dear Ilan and All, Thanks for your post. This part sounds as though you are talking about a specific case of the U.K. refusing to consider one of the choices.
        Message 3 of 11 , May 23, 2004
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          Dear Ilan and All,

          Thanks for your post. This part sounds as though you are talking about a specific case of the U.K. refusing to consider one of the choices. Could you please give us more details? Thanks.

          > Similarly, if an administering power refuses to
          > consider one of the choices--as with the UK--then it
          > would be fair for the UN to pressure that country into
          > having all three choices on the referendum.

          On a separate note, how does the U.N. decide how far away something must be before it counts as a territory? Or is it based on whether they vote in national elections? Cases I am thinking of are why Spain's two North African enclaves do not count. Ditto the Canaries and Madeira, or Hawai'i. Thinking about it, I suppose it is the voting thing. (French Polynesia and French Guiana were also not on the list, were they? They are overseas departments, right?) That seems sensible in a way, but odd in another. What if one of those places did not want to vote in the colonial power's elections, and wanted elections instead? It seems rather arbitrary to exclude them? And was the B.I.O.T. on the list. (I don't remember it there but could be wrong.) Does that not count because it is a military base?

          In the case of Tokelau, perhaps the governmental reticence is based on the fact that if the people chose independence, the current government members would still be the ones who had to cope with running the country, without any back-up. What if a people vote for independence but no-one wants to be responsible for a tiny and very unstable economy?

          Ian
        • Bob Conrich
          ... I believe this resulted from a reporter whose desire for accuracy was exceeded by his desire to demonstrate his literary cleverness in comparing peaceful
          Message 4 of 11 , May 23, 2004
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            Island Vulnerability wrote:

            > Thank you for a fascinating article. I am curious
            > about the accuracy of some aspects of the UN's stance.
            > In particular:
            >
            >>the United Nations is seeking to impose "regime
            >>change"

            I believe this resulted from a reporter whose desire
            for accuracy was exceeded by his desire to demonstrate
            his literary cleverness in comparing peaceful Tokelau
            with Iraq.

            >>the UN has sworn to make it independent whether its
            >>inhabitants like it or not.

            This adds drama to the story, but is simply untrue.

            > So does "Solidarity with the Peoples of
            > Non-Self-governing Territories" and the drive to
            > "liberate" them mean (a) force independence on them or
            > (b) ensure that the people understand their options
            > and make a free decision?

            The question presupposes that the United Nations has a
            collective consciousness and all members have come to
            some agreement on the issue. But the reality is each
            nation has its own agenda. The pro-whaling nations,
            Hugo Chavez, the Saudi Royal Family, Fidel Castro,
            South Korea, etc. all see colonies through a different
            colour glass. So it's a nice slogan and, like Saran
            Wrap, each of us can use it to cover whatever political
            issue we're flogging this month.

            > The UN press releases at
            > http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2001/gasm250.doc.htm
            > and
            > http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2002/sgsm8234.doc.htm
            > give mixed messages. An end to colonialism is desired
            > yet each territory must decide what it wants for
            > itself. The contradiction does not exist if an end to
            > enforced colonialism is sought or if "colonialism"
            > means only administered by a country without the right
            > to declare independence unilaterally.
            >
            > For example, my understanding is that New Zealand's
            > self-governing territories are Niue and the Cook
            > Islands and they have the right to declare unilateral
            > independence whenever they choose. They are not on
            > the UN's list, presumably for that reason. Tokelau,
            > in contrast, is an administered territory without the
            > right to declare unilateral independence.

            I've heard no rumblings from Tokelau about being enslaved
            by the oppressive imperialist New Zealanders, but if the
            1400 Tokelauans suddenly decide next week they want to be
            an independent nation so they could join the International
            Whaling Commission and...uh...show their solidarity with the
            good people of Japan, I really doubt that the New Zealand
            would invade their three atolls, arrest the pro-independence
            ringleaders and force the hapless people back to their knees,
            while the entire UN Security Council was calling the Kiwis
            bad names.

            > It seems, therefore, that the UN is only trying to
            > push a referendum on (a) free association, (b) full
            > integration or (c) independence. This stance is
            > reasonable and is in line with international
            > principles and rights to freedom and self-governance.

            I'm not aware of the UN trying to push these options on
            the UK. All the UN Committee of 24 has said is that
            these options would be acceptable. HMG, however, has
            made it abundantly clear that the only option is
            independence and the others are "not on offer."

            > Concerns will arise, however, if a territory wants a
            > fourth option--the status quo. But is there much
            > difference between "administration" and "free
            > association"?

            Yes, there are enormous differences between, for example,
            Jersey and Guernsey, and the British Overseas Territories.

            > How are Anguilla and St. Helena
            > governed differently from South Georgia and Aruba?

            In terms of relative self-government, the differences
            between Anguilla and St. Helena are so dramatic that it's
            hard to believe they are both coordinated by the same
            Overseas Territories Department of the same Foreign and
            Commonwealth Office. Comparing systems of governance in
            the British and Dutch islands is a complex matter that
            would, I think, put most people to sleep, change nothing
            and produce no useful result.

            > Similarly, if an administering power refuses to
            > consider one of the choices--as with the UK--then it
            > would be fair for the UN to pressure that country into
            > having all three choices on the referendum.

            Colonies, or whatever they're called this year, are an
            expensive luxury for HMG and they would be pleased to
            see the back side of the bothersome people on these
            islands. To encourage the end of HMG's contingent
            liability for whatever foolishness we colonists get
            ourselves into, they have limited our options to the
            status quo and independence. Although development aid
            is about to end for most of us, the economies of
            Montserrat and St. Helena are such that these two
            islands will continue to need it for many years.

            In my opinion, independence is a matter of economics to
            HMG and primarily a matter of pride in the British
            Overseas Territories. And to BOT politicians who dream
            of becoming international statesmen, it's often a
            question of power.

            In 1967 Anguilla opted out of the forthcoming independent
            state of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, declared itself
            independent and appealed to both HMG and the UN to make
            it a new British colony. HMG said sorry, we're not taking
            new colonies anymore and only after 13 years of bungling,
            incompetence and an armed invasion that was an international
            embarrassment did the Queen bless our island as her newest,
            and certainly her last, crown colony. Embarrassment is a
            more effective diplomatic tool than international "pressure."
            And even then, it took 13 years!

            When it became clear in London that colonialism was becoming
            a bad word, they changed the name to "Dependent Territories"
            and then when being "dependent" became objectionable they
            change it to "Overseas Territories." Nothing changed except
            the name. Perhaps they could fix the present problem by
            another name change.

            And what of the 300 people on Tristan da Cunha, or the 45 or
            so on Pitcairn? Are they really victims, or are we trying
            to solve a problem that doesn't exist?


            Bob


            ------------------------------------------------------------
            Robert S. Conrich Managing Director
            St. Helena Transhipment Services Ltd.
            Box 666
            Anguilla bob@...
            British West Indies Tel: 264 497 2505
            ------------------------------------------------------------
          • Ian Turner
            The Pitcairn situation is the biggest can of worms, I would say. Many of them claim they want independence, but it is a mystery to me how it could possibly
            Message 5 of 11 , May 23, 2004
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              The Pitcairn situation is the biggest can of worms, I would say. Many of them claim they want independence, but it is a mystery to me how it could possibly function. They recently claimed that they in fact *were* independent in order to avoid a forthcoming trial. For more info, see the FRIENDSofPITCAIRN Yahoo! group.

              Ian

              > And what of the 300 people on Tristan da Cunha, or the 45 or<BR>
              > so on Pitcairn?� Are they really victims, or are we trying<BR>
              > to solve a problem that doesn't exist?
            • muskox444
              Dear Bob - thank you for sharing a most interesting and thought provoking article. We will be cruising to Pitcairn Island in a few months so I was especially
              Message 6 of 11 , May 23, 2004
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                Dear Bob - thank you for sharing a most interesting and thought
                provoking article. We will be cruising to Pitcairn Island in a few
                months so I was especially interested in reading about that remote
                community. Will have to check out the Pitcairn Yahoo Group, too.
                Cheers,
                Dee Miner
              • Bob Conrich
                ... based on whether they vote in national elections? Distance isn t a consideration, nor is what it s called. Overseas territory is a completely different
                Message 7 of 11 , May 23, 2004
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                  Ian Turner wrote:

                  > On a separate note, how does the U.N. decide how far away something must be before it counts as a territory? Or is it
                  based on whether they vote in national elections?

                  Distance isn't a consideration, nor is what it's called.
                  "Overseas territory" is a completely different meaning in
                  London and Paris. I'll comment on those I know about:

                  > Cases I am thinking of are...Hawai'i.

                  Hawaii, and Alaska for that matter, are U.S. States. The
                  only difference in the rights of the people and system of
                  government is distance. These are examples of former
                  US Territories becoming, in the words of the UN, "fully
                  integrated."

                  > Thinking about it, I suppose it is the voting thing.

                  It's a lot more complex than that, and includes more
                  rights than just voting. There isn't a simple one-question
                  test.

                  > (French Polynesia and French Guiana were also not on the list, were they? They are overseas departments, right?)

                  Well, the French call them départements d'Outre-Mer, a
                  département being roughly equivalent to an American State.
                  Outre-mer means "overseas", but French Polynesia and French
                  Guiana, or Guyane, are integrated overseas States of France,
                  in the same sense that Hawaii is to America.

                  There is a lot of French territory in the Western Hemisphere,
                  but the only part that's a "colony" is St. Pierre et Miquelon,
                  located off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.

                  And was the B.I.O.T. on the list. (I don't remember it there but could be wrong.) Does that not count because it is a
                  military base?

                  No, it doesn't count because all of the Chagossians were
                  forcibly removed by the British military from their rightful
                  homeland and literally dumped in Mauritius and the Seychelles,
                  where they live today in poverty and you really, really don't
                  want to get me started on the plight of these people whose
                  homeland was stolen from them by HMG in exchange for a few
                  Polaris missiles from Uncle Sam. (BIOT stands for British
                  Indian Ocean Territory, which is what the UK call the Chagos
                  Islands minus the hapless Chagossians.)

                  And no, only Diego Garcia is an American military base. The
                  rest of the Chagos islands, the nearest of which is 130 miles
                  from Diego Garcia, sit empty today because allowing the people
                  and their canoes to return would represent a "security risk"
                  (I don't make this stuff up) to the American's weapon-filled
                  military base.

                  > In the case of Tokelau, perhaps the governmental reticence is based on the fact that if the people chose independence, the
                  current government members would still be the ones who had to cope with running the country, without any back-up. What if a
                  people vote for independence but no-one wants to be responsible for a tiny and very unstable economy?

                  Never in the history of man has there not been someone eager
                  to fill a power vacuum. Doing so responsibly is another
                  question, but not one restricted to small island governments.


                  Bob


                  ------------------------------------------------------------
                  Robert S. Conrich Managing Director
                  St. Helena Transhipment Services Ltd.
                  Box 666
                  Anguilla bob@...
                  British West Indies Tel: 264 497 2505
                  ------------------------------------------------------------
                • Ian Turner
                  Dear Bob and All, Yes, I know about all of this. They are called the Ilios. Britain decided to lease Diego Garcia to America for 50 years just to get a few
                  Message 8 of 11 , May 24, 2004
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                    Dear Bob and All,

                    Yes, I know about all of this. They are called the Ilios. Britain decided to lease Diego Garcia to America for 50 years just to get a few million reduction off a nuclear submarine. They then thought "Oh dear, what about those people up there?" So they passed a law saying that it ws illegal to live there without a permit. And they didn't issue any permits. The people were dumped on Mauritius with no homes or jobs. However, it is no longer the case that they are not allowed to return. Tam Dalyell(sp.?), M.P. campaigned for decades about them and eventually a couple of years ago the ban was lifted. However, they have still not been able to return because their settlements there are in ruins and because of the costs involved. People do live there, though. For a long time there has been an irregular community of yachts - basically maritime drifters.

                    The Ilios also raise an interesting point about indigenous status. They had in fact only lived there for about 150 years, but I don't think anyone had lived there before.

                    Ian

                    > No, it doesn't count because all of the Chagossians were<BR>
                    > forcibly removed by the British military from their rightful<BR>
                    > homeland and literally dumped in Mauritius and the Seychelles,<BR>
                    > where they live today in poverty and you really, really don't<BR>
                    > want to get me started on the plight of these people whose<BR>
                    > homeland was stolen from them by HMG in exchange for a few<BR>
                    > Polaris missiles from Uncle Sam.� (BIOT stands for British<BR>
                    > Indian Ocean Territory, which is what the UK call the Chagos<BR>
                    > Islands minus the hapless Chagossians.)<BR>
                    > <BR>
                    > And no, only Diego Garcia is an American military base.� The<BR>
                    > rest of the Chagos islands, the nearest of which is 130 miles<BR>
                    > from Diego Garcia, sit empty today because allowing the people<BR>
                    > and their canoes to return would represent a "security risk"<BR>
                    > (I don't make this stuff up) to the American's weapon-filled<BR>
                    > military base.
                  • Island Vulnerability
                    Dear Bob, Ian, and others who have replied on this issue: Many thanks for your detailed responses and discussion. Fascinating material and clearly intense
                    Message 9 of 11 , May 25, 2004
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                      Dear Bob, Ian, and others who have replied on this
                      issue:

                      Many thanks for your detailed responses and
                      discussion. Fascinating material and clearly intense
                      complications in any governance issues to do with
                      overseas territories of any country.

                      Presmably it is simply a leftover from the colonial
                      days, now fuelled by increasing indifference from the
                      colonial power and increasing interference from the UN
                      and other geopolitical excuses (e.g. whaling for the
                      Caribbean, Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts for BIOT). Pity
                      that it is the people of the territories who suffer
                      from these shenanigans.

                      As with so many island issues, isolation and smallness
                      mean that the people who affect the territories the
                      most often tend to care the least. Not always, of
                      course--many individuals deserve commendation--but it
                      is a pity to see the general, historical pattern being
                      repeated of small islands as political objects to be
                      used rather than as homes for their people.

                      Ian: I hope that Bob's response on the UK answered
                      your question?

                      Would it be too much to ask for some good references
                      on the governance of overseas territories,
                      particularly material which might compare different
                      countries' approaches? Comparative, historical
                      background might be useful too, for example looking at
                      the differences between Anguilla and Aruba in actively
                      opposing independence. Or would this be a prime area
                      for further research? Perhaps "Contemporary political
                      vulnerabilities of overseas territories and the
                      history which created them"?

                      Thank you again for your responses and the continuing
                      information,
                      Ilan
                      http://www.islandvulnerability.org




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                    • Bob Conrich
                      ... I ve noticed similar titles in the catalogues of Ian Randall and other publishers of Caribbean academic works. Those who are academically inclined might
                      Message 10 of 11 , May 25, 2004
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                        Island Vulnerability wrote:


                        > Would it be too much to ask for some good references
                        > on the governance of overseas territories,
                        > particularly material which might compare different
                        > countries' approaches? Comparative, historical
                        > background might be useful too, for example looking at
                        > the differences between Anguilla and Aruba in actively
                        > opposing independence. Or would this be a prime area
                        > for further research? Perhaps "Contemporary political
                        > vulnerabilities of overseas territories and the
                        > history which created them"?


                        I've noticed similar titles in the catalogues of Ian Randall
                        and other publishers of Caribbean academic works. Those who
                        are academically inclined might best benefit from such
                        sources.

                        Some 25 years ago someone told me if I did whatever silly
                        thing that interested me, and did it well enough, someone
                        would come along and pay me not to stop doing it. I've done
                        exactly that, and from my limited observation, he seems to
                        have been correct.

                        I read the news from obscure places. I ask questions of
                        those who seem to have answers. My company has developed an
                        interesting and valuable network of friends in far places.
                        We share information. We trust each other with our
                        confidences. Sometimes we make money, yes, but far more
                        often this is about democracy, good governance, doing what's
                        right for those who come after us.

                        Today I learned that the largest foreign investor in Columbia
                        in the first quarter of 2003 was from Anguilla, population
                        12,000 if you count all the tourists who were here on census
                        day. Is that because some Anguillian thought the best place
                        in the world to invest his US$130 million was Columbia, or is
                        that how drug money flows back to the source? What do I know,
                        a simple island boy?

                        When I was younger I had clear rules for things, and life was
                        less complicated. But the more I learn, the more difficult
                        it becomes. Today, a small community sells some penguins.
                        That sounds, as the old people on my island say, "devilish,"
                        right? But I have to ask how many they had, how many they
                        sold, how much they got for them, what their alternatives
                        were and what they were going to do with the money. And
                        then I have to get down off my penguin rights pedestal and
                        try to imagine looking back at us from the year 2104 and
                        judging right from wrong in the days when George Bush led
                        the free world and Michael Jackson and his sister's right
                        breast were Important Issues.

                        Sometimes even the Ten Commandments have conditions and
                        exceptions. Blundering forward, I know I am not wise enough
                        to know the answers.


                        Bob


                        ------------------------------------------------------------
                        Robert S. Conrich Managing Director
                        St. Helena Transhipment Services Ltd.
                        Box 666
                        Anguilla bob@...
                        British West Indies Tel: 264 497 2505
                        ------------------------------------------------------------
                      • MossyTrail@cs.com
                        ... ...and here is the U.S., our propagandists would prefer to have us believe that the reason they hate us, is that they are opposed to the freedom we
                        Message 11 of 11 , Jun 4, 2004
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                          Bob Conrich <bob@...> wrote:

                          >No, it doesn't count because all of the Chagossians were
                          >forcibly removed by the British military from their rightful
                          >homeland and literally dumped in Mauritius and the Seychelles,
                          >where they live today in poverty and you really, really don't
                          >want to get me started on the plight of these people whose
                          >homeland was stolen from them by HMG in exchange for a few
                          >Polaris missiles from Uncle Sam.  (BIOT stands for British
                          >Indian Ocean Territory, which is what the UK call the Chagos
                          >Islands minus the hapless Chagossians.)
                          >
                          ...and here is the U.S., our propagandists would prefer to have us believe that the reason "they" hate us, is that "they" are opposed to the freedom we represent. Tell that to the Nicaraguans -- yes, I agree they could have done without Sandino, but Sandino never would have had a following if the people were not fed up with the equally-bad, U.S.-backed Batista regime. Oh, I get it...the U.S. is "the Land of the Free" *at home*, no matter what the cost in oppression overseas.

                          Jason Hernandez
                          Naturalist-at-Large
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