21 October 2016

Indigenous Kanaks plan rally to contest French voter registration fraud in run up independence referendum

"How is it considered genuine self-determination if France as the administering power fully controls the referendum process which could lead to Kanaky independence and the end of French rule? Is this not the classic conflict of interest? Why is the U.N. not conducting the process?" - a Pacific scholar

Radio New Zealand

Kanak rally planned over New Caledonia roll 

New Caledonia's USTKE union has called for a rally next week to denounce what it calls electoral fraud committed by the French state.
Wednesday's rally is to demand that all Kanaks be automatically inscribed on the electoral roll of those eligible to vote in the 2018 referendum on possible independence from France.
In a statement, the union said this was part of the indigenous Kanaks' struggle to attain full sovereignty while a fraudulent process was being used to sideline the Kanaks in their own country.
The protest was planned territory-wide with the main event being a march to the French High Commission.
The make-up of the roll has been a contentious issue for years.
France has promised to hold a referendum by 2018 to complete the terms of the 1998 Noumea Accord which provides for a phased and irreversible transfer of power from France to New Caledonia.

20 October 2016



H.R. 856
MARCH 19, 1997
Serial No. 105–16


"Mr. Chairman, 
Ranking member, 

Thank you for this opportunity to give brief opening remarks on H.R. 856, a bill to provide a process leading to full self government for Puerto Rico.

This process is an important one, and one which I am committed to see go forward. My only concern, and what I see as my duty, as we move forward, is to insure that the people of Puerto Rico have a process in which they will be able to choose freely and fairly the status which most realizes their hopes and aspirations.

In order to have this happen, it is important that each option be presented objectively and be given equal treatment in the bill.

It would be a travesty for the people of Puerto Rico to choose an option based on misunderstanding the issues involved, or on limited or lack of knowledge of how the proposed change would impact their lives.

I take special interest in this process, not only on behalf of the People of Puerto Rico, our neighbors and our friends, but because of the importance of this process to all of the offshore possessions. Each one of us is or will be traveling the path of redefinition of our relationship to the U.S. What happens here will set the precedent and the tone for us.

I want to take this opportunity to welcome the witnesses, and to express my confidence that we can work together to make this vehicle of Puerto Rican self-expression one that will truly result in the future that its citizens desire."

18 October 2016

Morocco deals don't cover Western Sahara, EU lawyer says

  • A fish monger in the Dakhla, the part of Western Sahara occupied by Morocco. (Photo: David Stanley)

EU-Morocco relations risk hitting another rough patch after a senior lawyer said that their trade treaties do not apply to Western Sahara, a disputed territory.

Advocate-general Melchior Wathelet set out his opinion to EU judges in Luxembourg on Tuesday (13 September).

He said that “neither the EU-Morocco association agreement nor the EU-Morocco agreement on the liberalisation of trade in agricultural and fishery products apply to Western Sahara” because “Western Sahara is not part of Moroccan territory”.

His opinion is not binding, but judges follow advocates general in most cases.

If their verdict, expected in November, echoes Wathelet then the EU could see a repeat of last year’s fiasco, when Morocco severed diplomatic ties with EU institutions after an unfavourable ruling.

Western Sahara is a territory in north-west Africa, known as its last colony.

Morocco occupies most of the land and claims it as its own after a war in 1976, but according to the UN it is a “non-self-governing territory” whose people, the Sahrawi, have the “right to self-determination”.

Wathelet had been asked to pronounce on a case originally filed at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 2013 by the Polisario Front, the Sahrawi national liberation movement, against an annex on fish products in EU-Morocco agreements.

The Polisario Front won in December 2015, prompting the Moroccan outcry and an EU appeal.

In Wathelet’s opinion, the Polisario Front’s case and the EU appeal are no longer relevant, because the broader EU-Morocco treaties, which govern the annex, do not apply to Western Sahara.

The issue is politically explosive.

Its implications were, on Tuesday, also highlighted when a ship full of fish oil from Western Sahara, the Key Bay, rounded Spain en route to France.

French customs have decided that the shipment is not liable for tariffs, in line with the EU-Morocco trade treaties, because, the EU says, those accords remain in force despite the December 2015 ECJ ruling.

Morocco’s interior minister, Mohamed Hassad, told EUobserver last week that the EU deal, to his knowledge, has not been suspended in any part.

He also recalled Morocco's role in stemming migration to the EU and in helping Europe on counter-terrorism, in what appeared to be a veiled threat over Western Sahara’s status.

An European Commission spokesperson also said on Tuesday that the trade arrangements remained in place.

"The court [in December] had annulled the EU legal act (the decision to conclude) and not the agreement as such," the spokesperson said.

Polisario’s lawyer, Gilles Devers, told EUobserver that this was the wrong interpretation, adding that EU institutions are in “defiance” of the ECJ by continuing to enforce the trade treaties in the disputed territory.

The EU’s zealous support of Morocco has raised eyebrows among some MEPs.

Morocco and the EU said to be working together on the ECJ appeal, and France, Portugal and Spain have spoken out in Rabat’s favour in court (Germany withdrew at last minute, and Belgium didn't send a representative to the hearing in Luxembourg).

A group of pro-Morocco MEPs last week also joined the anti-Polisario front.

Jose Bove, a French green MEP who was the EU parliament’s rapporteur on the EU-Morocco agreements, welcomed the advocate-general's opinion, and hoped the final ruling would put an end to "EU hypocrisy".

"The EU should immediately take measures to ensure that no products from Western Sahara illegally enter the EU market as Moroccan goods. The EU's complicity in the illegal occupation of the territory has lasted too long," Bove, who in his time voted against the EU-Morocco accords, said.

15 October 2016

Environmentalists charges U.S. mismanagement in landfull closings in Puerto Rico


Acción ciudadana para vertederos seguros

An Investigation by Puerto Rico Limpio

Following months of on-the ground investigations, community meetings and the release of documents from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Puerto Rico Limpio can conclusively demonstrate that the landfill crisis in Puerto Rico is the product of gross mismanagement by the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) and dereliction of duty by the EPA.

The EQB has never been minimally effective in enforcing federal standards since it was approved for this role by the EPA in 1994. And EPA knew.

Newly obtained documents show that shortly after EQB was granted enforcement power, it gutted local landfills rules without notifying the EPA.

The EPA learned of the secret rule changes in 2005 but failed to take effective action to restore federal standards in Puerto Rico’s regulations.

Soon after Judith Enck took over as Regional Administrator of EPA Region 2, she pulled back on pressuring senior Puerto Rican authorities to act on senior staff’s repeated and urgent warnings about threats to human health and the environment. Since 2009, Enck limited her response to mostly ineffective closure actions against less than half of the landfills her staff has documented as unsafe. Only one landfill has closed during her tenure.


11 October 2016


BARCELONA – The president of Catalonia announced on Wednesday that he plans to hold a referendum on independence from Spain in Sept. 2017.

Carles Puigdemont spoke in the regional Parliament of Catalonia where he said a referendum was the only option, with or without the Spanish state’s approval.

“We are going all out for a referendum,” Puigdemont told regional lawmakers.

He said the best option was to agree to a referendum with the Spanish state, and said he was willing to collaborate with Spain’s central government, should it be willing to cooperate with Catalonia’s government.

Puigdemont said he was willing to negotiate the details of the referendum, such as the date, the question to be asked and the votes necessary to consider it valid.

But he insisted that, though the offer of dialogues will not expire, a lack of response from Spain’s government will not halt the referendum’s progress.

He expected that the Catalan government would have approved basic state structures by July 2017 and the region would then be ready to disconnect fully from Spain as soon as possible.

Puigdemont said his plan will be to ask Catalonia’s regional vice president Oriol Junqueras to ensure the referendum’s legality and financial viability.

The referendum will then be organized by Raul Romeva, who heads the region’s external relations department.

On Thursday, Puigdemont is due to submit himself to a vote of confidence in the regional parliament, which he is virtually guaranteed to win given he has received support from 102 pro-independence members of the Catalan Parliament.

07 October 2016

French Polynesia Deputy Mayor gives perspective to territory's admission to Pacific Islands Forum during U.N. presentation

" If you look at it in the “Pacific Way”, you can’t deny that our relisting on the U.N list, in 2013, also gave the Pacific leaders with a new perspective, where, even though, at this moment, we have not achieved full autonomy, at the end the road, when the UN process of self-determination is completed, we should reach that point."


Fourth Committee
Special Political and Decolonization Committee


Deputy Mayor of Faa’a.

Mr Chairman, distinguished delegates,

In 2004, for the first time, our then president of the government, Oscar TEMARU, sat at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) as an associate member. From that year on, he has made it clear that we belong to the Pacific family, and as such, should be entitled full membership as soon as we reached a state of true self-governing.

The same aspiration to become full-member of the PIF came from Kanaky-New Caledonia around the same time. At that time, that aspiration was not favored by France.

In 2011, in Auckland, France’s foreign minister, Alain Juppé, came to the Forum to clearly state that France, not New Caledonia, not French Polynesia had a huge territory, and a vast amount of natural resources in the South Pacific.

Clearly, from 2004 up to 2013, France did not support that idea, sometimes even clearly opposing it, especially when Oscar TEMARU, the independence leader was in charge.

On the Forum’s side up to 2013, even though everyone heard the requests from Mä’ohi nui and Kanaky, our Pacific brothers were held bound by the Forum rules that you need to be self-governing to sit as a full member.

But then, something special happened, on 17th May 2013, here in this building: French Polynesia, despite France’s heavy lobbying got back on the list of non-self-governing territories to be decolonized.

One year after that historical event, and even though it publicly went in a state of Denial, our administering power started rolling-out the full range of its diplomatic apparatus in the background, to “avenge”, what they still consider a diplomatic blow. Most of you know well that these colonial powers are more prone to come here to give than to be taught lessons about democracy or decolonization.

From the COP 21 to the France-Océanie meeting in Paris, from the prime minister’s visit to New-Zealand and Australia to the president’s visit in Wallis and French Polynesia, France now made it clear that they wanted to reaffirm their presence in the Pacific region, and, they started to send the message that they were now supporting the idea of full membership within the Pacific Forum for New Caledonia and French Polynesia. They needed Trojan horses in the Pacific.

So, who really got us thru the last door of the Pacific Forum? Was it really our local government? The answer came from Ms Ericka Bareigts, the newly appointed minister of overseas whose first public statement clearly stated that the full admission to the Forum was first and foremost the result of French Diplomacy.

At the same time, the Pacific leaders also made it clear that their agreeing to our full membership did not mean that we had suddenly become truly self-governing, but was done for cultural and economic reasons, and also political reasons related to France’s Lobbying.

But if you look at it in the “Pacific Way”, you can’t deny that our relisting on the U.N list, in 2013, also gave the Pacific leaders with a new perspective, where, even though, at this moment, we have not achieved full autonomy, at the end the road, when the UN process of self-determination is completed, we should reach that point.

So we may say, that our relisting on the UN list, in 2013 gave France bad reasons to want us in the Forum, but at the same gave our Pacific brothers a noble motivation to welcome us in.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

06 October 2016

Haile Selassie's Address To The United Nations - 6 October 1963

As the United Nations (U.N.) enters its 71st session in September 2016, OTR offers for the consideration of our readers the U.N. Address of His Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie I delivered on 6 October 1963, providing insights on world affairs with current resonance. 


Mr. President, Distinguished Delegates, 

Twenty-seven years ago, as Emperor of Ethiopia, I mounted the rostrum in Geneva, Switzerland, to address the League of Nations and to appeal for relief from the destruction which had been unleashed against my defenseless nation, by the Fascist invader. I spoke then both to and for the conscience of the world. My words went unheeded, but history testifies to the accuracy of the warning that I gave in 1936. 

Today, I stand before the world organization which has succeeded to the mantle discarded by its discredited predecessor. In this body is enshrined the principle of collective security which I unsuccessfully invoked at Geneva. Here, in this Assembly, reposes the best - perhaps the last - hope for the peaceful survival of mankind. 

In 1936, I declared that it was not the Covenant of the League that was at stake, but international morality. Undertakings, I said then, are of little worth if the will to keep them is lacking. The Charter of the United Nations expresses the noblest aspirations of man: abjuration of force in the settlement of disputes between states; the assurance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion; the safeguarding of international peace and security. 

But these, too, as were the phrases of the Covenant, are only words; their value depends wholly on our will to observe and honor them and give them content and meaning. The preservation of peace and the guaranteeing of man's basic freedoms and rights require courage and eternal vigilance: courage to speak and act - and if necessary, to suffer and die - for truth and justice; eternal vigilance, that the least transgression of international morality shall not go undetected and unremedied. These lessons must be learned anew by each succeeding generation, and that generation is fortunate indeed which learns from other than its own bitter experience. This Organization and each of its members bear a crushing and awesome responsibility: to absorb the wisdom of history and to apply it to the problems of the present, in order that future generations may be born, and live, and die, in peace. 

The record of the United Nations during the few short years of its life affords mankind a solid basis for encouragement and hope for the future. The United Nations has dared to act, when the League dared not in Palestine, in Korea, in Suez, in the Congo. There is not one among us today who does not conjecture upon the reaction of this body when motives and actions are called into question. The opinion of this Organization today acts as a powerful influence upon the decisions of its members. The spotlight of world opinion, focused by the United Nations upon the transgressions of the renegades of human society, has thus far proved an effective safeguard against unchecked aggression and unrestricted violation of human rights. 
The United Nations continues to sense as the forum where nations whose interests clash may lay their cases before world opinion. It still provides the essential escape valve without which the slow build-up of pressures would have long since resulted in catastrophic explosion. Its actions and decisions have speeded the achievement of freedom by many peoples on the continents of Africa and Asia. Its efforts have contributed to the advancement of the standard of living of peoples in all corners of the world.

For this, all men must give thanks. As I stand here today, how faint, how remote are the memories of 1936.How different in 1963 are the attitudes of men. We then existed in an atmosphere of suffocating pessimism. Today, cautious yet buoyant optimism is the prevailing spirit. But each one of us here knows that what has been accomplished is not enough.

The United Nations judgments have been and continue to be subject to frustration, as individual member-states have ignored its pronouncements and disregarded its recommendations. The Organization's sinews have been weakened, as member-states have shirked their obligations to it. The authority of the Organization has been mocked, as individual member-states have proceeded, in violation of its commands, to pursue their own aims and ends. The troubles which continue to plague us virtually all arise among member states of the Organization, but the Organization remains impotent to enforce acceptable solutions. As the maker and enforcer of the international law, what the United Nations has achieved still falls regrettably short of our goal of an international community of nations.

This does not mean that the United Nations has failed. I have lived too long to cherish many illusions about the essential highmindedness of men when brought into stark confrontation with the issue of control over their security, and their property interests. Not even now, when so much is at hazard would many nations willingly entrust their destinies to other hands.

Yet, this is the ultimatum presented to us: secure the conditions whereby men will entrust their security to a larger entity, or risk annihilation; persuade men that their salvation rests in the subordination of national and local interests to the interests of humanity, or endanger man's future. These are the objectives, yesterday unobtainable, today essential, which we must labor to achieve.

Until this is accomplished, mankind's future remains hazardous and permanent peace a matter for speculation. There is no single magic formula, no one simple step, no words, whether written into the Organization's Charter or into a treaty between states, which can automatically guarantee to us what we seek. Peace is a day-to-day problem, the product of a multitude of events and judgments. Peace is not an "is", it is a "becoming." We cannot escape the dreadful possibility of catastrophe by miscalculation. But we can reach the right decisions on the myriad subordinate problems which each new day poses, and we can thereby make our contribution and perhaps the most that can be reasonably expected of us in 1963 to the preservation of peace. It is here that the United Nations has served us - not perfectly, but well. And in enhancing the possibilities that the Organization may serve us better, we serve and bring closer our most cherished goals.

I would mention briefly today two particular issues which are of deep concern to all men: disarmament and the establishment of true equality among men. Disarmament has become the urgent imperative of our time. I do not say this because I equate the absence of arms to peace, or because I believe that bringing an end to the nuclear arms race automatically guarantees the peace, or because the elimination of nuclear warheads from the arsenals of the world will bring in its wake that change in attitude requisite to the peaceful settlement of disputes between nations. Disarmament is vital today, quite simply, because of the immense destructive capacity of which men dispose.

Ethiopia supports the atmospheric nuclear test ban treaty as a step towards this goal, even though only a partial step. Nations can still perfect weapons of mass destruction by underground testing. There is no guarantee against the sudden, unannounced resumption of testing in the atmosphere.

The real significance of the treaty is that it admits of a tacit stalemate between the nations which negotiated it, a stalemate which recognizes the blunt, unavoidable fact that none would emerge from the total destruction which would be the lot of all in a nuclear war, a stalemate which affords us and the United Nations a breathing space in which to act.

Here is our opportunity and our challenge. If the nuclear powers are prepared to declare a truce, let us seize the moment to strengthen the institutions and procedures which will serve as the means for the pacific settlement of disputes among men. Conflicts between nations will continue to arise. The real issue is whether they are to be resolved by force, or by resort to peaceful methods and procedures, administered by impartial institutions. This very Organization itself is the greatest such institution, and it is in a more powerful United Nations that we seek, and it is here that we shall find, the assurance of a peaceful future.

Were a real and effective disarmament achieved and the funds now spent in the arms race devoted to the amelioration of man's state; were we to concentrate only on the peaceful uses of nuclear knowledge, how vastly and in how short a time might we change the conditions of mankind. This should be our goal.

When we talk of the equality of man, we find, also, a challenge and an opportunity; a challenge to breathe new life into the ideals enshrined in the Charter, an opportunity to bring men closer to freedom and true equality. and thus, closer to a love of peace. 

The goal of the equality of man which we seek is the antithesis of the exploitation of one people by another with which the pages of history and in particular those written of the African and Asian continents, speak at such length. Exploitation, thus viewed, has many faces. But whatever guise it assumes, this evil is to be shunned where it does not exist and crushed where it does. It is the sacred duty of this Organization to ensure that the dream of equality is finally realized for all men to whom it is still denied, to guarantee that exploitation is not reincarnated in other forms in places whence it has already been banished. 

As a free Africa has emerged during the past decade, a fresh attack has been launched against exploitation, wherever it still exists. And in that interaction so common to history, this in turn, has stimulated and encouraged the remaining dependent peoples to renewed efforts to throw off the yoke which has oppressed them and its claim as their birthright the twin ideals of liberty and equality. This very struggle is a struggle to establish peace, and until victory is assured, that brotherhood and understanding which nourish and give life to peace can be but partial and incomplete. 

In the United States of America, the administration of President Kennedy is leading a vigorous attack to eradicate the remaining vestige of racial discrimination from this country. We know that this conflict will be won and that right will triumph. In this time of trial, these efforts should be encouraged and assisted, and we should lend our sympathy and support to the American Government today. 

Last May, in Addis Ababa, I convened a meeting of Heads of African States and Governments. In three days, the thirty-two nations represented at that Conference demonstrated to the world that when the will and the determination exist, nations and peoples of diverse backgrounds can and will work together. in unity, to the achievement of common goals and the assurance of that equality and brotherhood which we desire. 

On the question of racial discrimination, the Addis Ababa Conference taught, to those who will learn, this further lesson: That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained

And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed; Until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and good-will; Until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of all men, as they are in the eyes of Heaven; 

Until that day, the African continent will not know peace. We Africans will fight, if necessary, and we know that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil. 

The United Nations has done much, both directly and indirectly to speed the disappearance of discrimination and oppression from the earth. Without the opportunity to focus world opinion on Africa and Asia which this Organization provides, the goal, for many, might still lie ahead, and the struggle would have taken far longer. For this, we are truly grateful. 

But more can be done. The basis of racial discrimination and colonialism has been economic, and it is with economic weapons that these evils have been and can be overcome. In pursuance of resolutions adopted at the Addis Ababa Summit Conference, African States have undertaken certain measures in the economic field which, if adopted by all member states of the United Nations, would soon reduce intransigence to reason. I ask, today, for adherence to these measures by every nation represented here which is truly devoted to the principles enunciated in the Charter. 

I do not believe that Portugal and South Africa are prepared to commit economic or physical suicide if honorable and reasonable alternatives exist. I believe that such alternatives can be found. But I also know that unless peaceful solutions are devised, counsels of moderation and temperance will avail for naught; and another blow will have been dealt to this Organization which will hamper and weaken still further its usefulness in the struggle to ensure the victory of peace and liberty over the forces of strife and oppression. Here, then, is the opportunity presented to us. We must act while we can, while the occasion exists to exert those legitimate pressures available to us, lest time run out and resort be had to less happy means. 

Does this Organization today possess the authority and the will to act? And if it does not, are we prepared to clothe it with the power to create and enforce the rule of law? Or is the Charter a mere collection of words, without content and substance, because the essential spirit is lacking? The time in which to ponder these questions is all too short. The pages of history are full of instances in which the unwanted and the shunned nonetheless occurred because men waited to act until too late. We can brook no such delay. 

If we are to survive, this Organization must survive. To survive, it must be strengthened. Its executive must be vested with great authority. The means for the enforcement of its decisions must be fortified, and, if they do not exist, they must be devised. Procedures must be established to protect the small and the weak when threatened by the strong and the mighty. All nations which fulfill the conditions of membership must be admitted and allowed to sit in this assemblage.

Equality of representation must be assured in each of its organs. The possibilities which exist in the United Nations to provide the medium whereby the hungry may be fed, the naked clothed, the ignorant instructed, must be seized on and exploited for the flower of peace is not sustained by poverty and want. To achieve this requires courage and confidence. The courage, I believe, we possess. The confidence must be created, and to create confidence we must act courageously. 

The great nations of the world would do well to remember that in the modern age even their own fates are not wholly in their hands. Peace demands the united efforts of us all. Who can foresee what spark might ignite the fuse? It is not only the small and the weak who must scrupulously observe their obligations to the United Nations and to each other. Unless the smaller nations are accorded their proper voice in the settlement of the world's problems, unless the equality which Africa and Asia have struggled to attain is reflected in expanded membership in the institutions which make up the United Nations, confidence will come just that much harder. Unless the rights of the least of men are as assiduously protected as those of the greatest, the seeds of confidence will fall on barren soil. 

The stake of each one of us is identical - life or death. We all wish to live. We all seek a world in which men are freed of the burdens of ignorance, poverty, hunger and disease. And we shall all be hard-pressed to escape the deadly rain of nuclear fall-out should catastrophe overtake us. 

When I spoke at Geneva in 1936, there was no precedent for a head of state addressing the League of Nations. I am neither the first, nor will I be the last head of state to address the United Nations, but only I have addressed both the League and this Organization in this capacity. The problems which confront us today are, equally, unprecedented. They have no counterparts in human experience. Men search the pages of history for solutions, for precedents, but there are none. This, then, is the ultimate challenge. Where are we to look for our survival, for the answers to the questions which have never before been posed? 

We must look, first, to Almighty God, Who has raised man above the animals and endowed him with intelligence and reason. We must put our faith in Him, that He will not desert us or permit us to destroy humanity which He created in His image. And we must look into ourselves, into the depth of our souls. We must become something we have never been and for which our education and experience and environment have ill-prepared us. We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community."

Ever living
ever faithful
Ever Sure.

05 October 2016

Turks & Caicos Islands: British-imposed financial officer breach of democracy

Turks and Caicos Weekly News

THE POSITION of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) was a flagrant violation of the Turks and Caicos Islands’ democracy.

These sentiments were expressed by Premier Rufus Ewing at the recently-held UK Overseas Territories Attorneys General four-day symposium held in Providenciales from 18- 22 September at the Blue Haven Resort.

Delivering the keynote address at the conference, Premier Ewing lashed out at the British for imposing a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) upon the country under the new 2011 constitution.

He said it was sold to the people that the position would remain until such time that the Loan Guarantee was lifted after repayment of the UK guaranteed bond.

Ewing who shocked the gathering with his strong sentiments, revealed his plan to introduce in a CFO Repeal bill to the House of Assembly to forcefully demonstrate his Government`s will to remove the CFO.

He said: "This Government upon assuming office took the stance as communicated in my letter to the UK Secretary of State in February 2013 that the position of CFO was a violation of the principles of democracy.

"The responses received made it blatantly clear that we would be fighting an uphill battle against the UK’s position and this administration made the decision to focus efforts on governing this country and aggressively embarked upon one of the most successful economic recovery strategies seen in modern times.”

"We deemed it essential to fortify ourselves to fight another day and relied on the guarantee of the UK Government that the position of CFO would be extinguished upon retirement of the UK Guarantee.”

Ewing reminded the conference that his government has since toiled arduously and the people have made tremendous sacrifice to achieve the economic recovery of the country.

"We have retired our debt in February of this year and discussions had commenced with the Overseas Territories Minister and FCO from December last year as we demanded that the U.K. Government uphold its end of the agreement with the people of these islands.”

It was agreed in the Government`s discussion with the UK Government that there would be a six month transitional period following the repayment of the bond.

However, this period expired at the end of August of this year and the UK government has failed to honor their end of the bargain to remove the CFO.

Ewing, while addressing the gathering said: "Ministers and AG's, separated by the ocean we may be, and in some cases by vast distances, there is much we have in common and much that we share beyond our status as colonies of the United Kingdom.

"We share a belief in justice, fair play, honesty and each of us at the knee of our parents learned the value of a promise and that a man's word is his bond.”

The Premier even quoted Ecclesiastes 5:5 which reads:"It is better not to make a vow, then to make one and not fulfill it," to get his point across.

He noted that as the leader of the nation he has a responsibility to speak out and stand up when a vow made to his people goes unfulfilled, especially when they have adhered to the principles and the rules.

He said: "Six months ago a promise was made to the government of Turks and Caicos and to Turks and Caicos Islanders.

"A vow agreed upon in the manner that all honorable men and women of integrity understand from a people and from a nation who have proudly, ably and more than capably, fought their way back from economic dependency under the scrutiny and spotlight of the world at large; under the institutions and standards of good governance. We have the undeniable right to expect no less than honorable actions by the FCO, whom I now advise in turn to beware of the scrutiny and spotlight of the world at large, should they continue to treat this nation in a dishonorable manner.”

He emphasized that six months ago Her Majesty's representative of the United Kingdom vowed that upon the payment of a $170M debt that the CFO would be removed by an Order in Council, which would allow the duly and lawfully elected representatives of the people to resume the rightful authority to manage the financial affairs of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The CFO, under the provisions of the CFO Ordinance, has absolute authority over the Public Finance Management Ordinance, and through his actions and by exercising his authority, has unilaterally appropriated funds whose expenditure were not sanctioned by the duly elected members of Cabinet.

Ewing pointed out that in several instances Cabinet opposed these appropriations where they were deemed not to be in the best interest of the people of this country.

"In addition to authorizing the spending of millions of dollars to the benefit of a UK initiated legal trial and investigation team, for which there is no accountability, an undertaking with no end in sight, the CFO has denied and delayed major policy initiatives and decisions of the duly elected government with no regard as to the far-reaching implications for the livelihood of our people and our businesses.

"In my meetings with all three of the successive Overseas Territories Ministers, who held office since we were elected to office, the Secretaries of State and DFID Ministers, I have discussed the following the issues of concern: "The UK Funding of the endless SIPT Trial, Constitutional Amendments and the role of the CFO and, to date, the UK government has continued to disregard the wellbeing of the people of this nation and has continued to abuse its responsibilities as a sovereign state.”

He asserted that the Turks and Caicos has the right to its autonomy.

"I say this to you today, because there comes a time when words are insufficient and action must be taken, and I am prepared the take the action of removal of the CFO, and likewise call for an inquiry into the unaccountable and endless expenditure of the SIPT trial and seek to recover every cent of monies spent.”

ALSO READ:  "Ewing demands inquiry into SIPT"

03 October 2016

French Polynesia President guilty of malfeasance on eve of first U.N. presentation seeking to justify colonial status of territory

Edouard Fritch in debriefing with François Diebolt of the Embassy of France in New York before the opening of the commission
 Edouard Fritch (r) in debriefing with François Diebolt of the Embassy of France in New York before the opening of the (U.N.) commission (Special Political and Decolonization Committee)
Picture by Tahiti Infos.



 French Polynesia's president, Edouard Fritch, has accepted a French Audit Court ruling and will pay $US65,000 to the public purse.

He was one of 20 people ordered to jointly repay $US2.2 million spent on a vast network of phantom jobs to support the Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party over eight years from 1996.

The bulk of the funds is to be reimbursed by the former president Gaston Flosse, but his lawyer said he might appeal after describing the verdict a political one. 

Flosse, who is banned from office because of a criminal conviction in the case, said he never abused public funds. 

Fritch, who succeeded Flosse as head of the territorial government two years ago, has since formed his own party. 

Earlier this year, Fritch was fined $US19,000 after the criminal court found him guilty of exerting undue influence for authorising payments in 2007 to a radio station that then advocated the policies of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party. 

Meanwhile, reports from Tahiti say the president of French Polynesia's assembly Marcel Tuihani has been detained for questioning. 

He was held for seven hours as part of an ongoing investigation by the Public Security Directorate into alleged abuse of public funds which had been launched in February. 

The probe centres on the hiring of four staff of the assembly's secretariat whose combined annual salaries exceed $US360,000.
The four in question are close to the Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party of Gaston Flosse and the investigation is to establish whether they work for the secretariat or the party only. 

Tuihani, who is also a Tahoeraa politician, said he is very happy with their work. 

Investigators searched his office in March and seized many documents.

02 October 2016

West Papua high on Pacific Islands Forum agenda

Nic Maclellan

The issue of human rights in West Papua was high on the agenda at the recent Pacific Islands Forum in the Federated States of Micronesia. Despite the sensitivities for member countries like Australia and Papua New Guinea, leaders at the forum also agreed the issue should stay on the agenda for next year's meeting in Samoa.

Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor of Papua New Guinea went on the record to say: 'It's an issue that needs to be pursued and it's not going to go away. Our bigger countries in the region like Australia and New Zealand realise that this issue is just not going to go to sleep – and it shouldn't go to sleep, because it is very important for our region.'


30 September 2016

United Kingdom uses its unilateral colonial power to force Turks & Caicos to pay British prosecution costs in the dependent territory

"The territory's Cabinet had denied an earlier British "request" on August 3 for additional legal aid funds to continue to finance the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT). As in the earlier case, the current decision of the democratically elected territorial government to deny said request was summarily overturned by the British Governor under his 'reserved powers' which constitute absolute authority in the 'overseas territory.' Colonialism has certainly not ended in the 21st Century, but continues in earnest, and has only taken on new dimensions." -  a Caribbean academic. 

Turks and Caicos Weekly News

FCO approves additional $3 Million for SIPT legal aid -Despite Cabinets denial


THE FOREIGN and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has vetoed Cabinet’s decision to deny an additional $3 million dollars for legal aid in the (British) Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT) trials.

This was confirmed by the (British) Governor`s Office which revealed that the Governor referred Cabinet’s decision to the FCO in accordance with provisions in the Constitution.

The office told the Weekly News that: "The Minister for the Overseas Territories, Baroness Anelay, wrote to the Governor on 13 September instructing him under Section 3(4) of the TCI Chief Financial Officer Ordinance 2012 to direct the CFO to make the necessary arrangements for the budget allocation primarily for legal aid for the defendants in the trial as requested by the Chief Justice to be made available.”

According to the Governor`s Office the Minister’s decision was taken to ensure that the defence in the trial has access to the appropriate resources to which it is legally entitled so as not to compromise the compilation and presentation of its case.

"The Minister believes that this is essential for the continued good governance of TCI and the proper administration of justice.”

Cabinet on August 3 denied yet another request for additional legal aid funds made by the judiciary for the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT) corruption trials.

According to media reports, noticeable changes have been made to the structure of the security detail for attorneys prosecuting the trial: all of the foreign security staff has been replaced by local officers.

This is a stark change, as since the start of the trial this year there have been several (more than five) specially recruited UK security personnel acting as bodyguards for the members of the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT).

The Commissioner of Police also confirmed this change, but would not say why the change was made.

In the 2016/2017 budget $5.2 million was allocated to the SIPT under the police budget. $2.6million of that sum went to security for the prosecution team, and the remaining for housing and salaries, the Minister of Finance had told this publication.

An additional $4million has already been allotted in the current budget for legal aid costs.

In August last year, Governor Peter Beckingham had approved the initial $2.2M in a separate supplementary appropriation budget for security detail for the SIPT.

The SIPT and civil recovery process records indicate that the price tag has amounted to some $36 million to date, half of which was paid by the UK government.

Already nine months into the trial and prosecutors are already of the view that the trial could last way into 2017.

This realization has evoked widespread concern about the cost of the SIPT trials and its impact on the public`s purse.

Earlier this year, Minister of Finance Washington Misick categorically stated that the cost of the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT) trial of former Premier Michael Misick and other corruption accused should be footed by the UK government.

He said: "My view is that those costs should be borne by Her Majesty’s UK Government.”

Misick said that the funds being spent on the trial could be used to further develop the country.

"We have a lot of things that we could be spending that money on, but at the end of the day, it says justice must not only be done it must be seen to be done, and sometimes the wheel of justice turns very slowly.

"My opinion and the opinion of the government and, I believe the majority of the people of the Turks and Caicos, is that if whatever purported wrong was done, it was done while we had a British Governor here and they were sleep-walking.

"If they can indeed prove that there’s been wrongdoing, they should pay for it.

"That is unfortunate and unfair to the people of the Turks and Caicos who have to foot that bill.”

This is not the first time a request was rejected for the SIPT trial; in August 2015 Premier Rufus Ewing rejected a request for $4.3million to provide security for Special Prosecutor Helen Garlick and her team.

The Premier's move was vetoed by the Governor who later approved the money from Government funds.

According to the 2016/2017 budget statements, the SIPT judicial cost was laid at some $5 million under revised statement for 2015 and 2016, while $4 million is slated for 2016/2017.

The Myrtle Rigby Health centre renovation for the SIPT trial was funded to tune of $1 million through a UK grant.

Since 2009, when they were accused of widespread corruption in the Sir Robin Auld report, Michael Misick and others have awaited their time before the judge.

Former Premier Michael Misick and several others are accused of defrauding the Government of millions of dollars.

Former Premier Misick, who is named as the main defendant in the trial, has since the beginning of the proceedings against him stated that he is being persecuted by the British government.

The SIPT trials began on December 18, 2015, after an in-depth four-year investigation into widespread Government corruption.

The hearings were expected to last six months, but the trial has seen many delays since it began.

And according to lead Prosecutor Queen’s Counsel, Andrew Mitchell it is very difficult to say when the corruption trial will end.

Mitchell recently disclosed that they have planned and timetabled the Crown’s case until June 2017.