Sunday 26 July 2015
A new commentary has been posted entitled: Climate Change: Caribbean Pacific alliance to stop the talking: Imagine if on the anniversary of its independence the friendliest message your nation gets is that if your country sinks underwater, a nearby island is willing to give you refuge. That means picking up whatever you might salvage and leaving behind your homeland, your possessions and your entire heritage. It also entails the suffering and deprivation of starting over in a foreign country with very little if anything. This is not a nightmare for the people of Kiribati or Tuvalu in the Pacific. It is a real and frightening prospect.
Must the beach become a grave yard from Climate Change?
Two previous commentaries are: The Commonwealth's Future - Part 1 and Part 2. The commentaries analyse the present circumstances of the Commonwealth and argue that despite its perceived decline the association has great potential for contributing meaningfully to its 53 member states and as an influence for good in the world. They look at areas for reform and the role that the Secretary-General should play in making sure the Commonwealth is relevant and effective - it has much life left in it if managed with commitment and drive.
Sir Ron's remarks on EU labelling Commonwealth Small States as "Tax Havens"
Sunday 21 June 2015
(Sir Ronald Sanders was Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador in negotiations with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on its “Harmful Tax Competition” scheme)
In naming 30 countries as the “top tax havens in the world”, the European Union (EU) appears to “playing dice” with the reputations of countries, 12 of which are Commonwealth independent small states in the Caribbean, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.
An examination of how Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Kitts-Nevis were listed reveals that in all cases 10 European countries were mainly responsible for naming them.
But, very little business is done between these 7 Caribbean countries and the 10 European nations, namely Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
If the seven independent Caribbean countries named above were seriously deficient in the application of international standards of tax good governance (transparency, exchange of information, and fair tax competition), this would have been known to Britain with whom these countries conduct more business than any other European nation. Yet, neither Britain nor Germany are among the EU countries who identified them.
It may well be that the named countries in the Caribbean, Pacific and the Indian Ocean do not have Tax Information Exchange Agreements with the 10 European Union nations, but they do have such agreements in place with major EU nations. Why then was there not more information sharing between the EU countries before the list was issued in the name of the EU as a whole?
Small Commonwealth states should act together to object to their listing by the EU and to question the criteria by which the 10 European nations with which they least do business identified them as tax havens.
19th June 2015
Sir Ronald recognised by Canadian University
Thursday 7 May 2015
TORONTO, Canada -- Antigua and Barbuda diplomat, writer and academic, Sir Ronald Sanders, has been elected as a Senior Fellow at Massey College in the University of Toronto. The announcement of his election was made by the Master of Massey College, Hugh Segal.
Sir Ronald Sanders
He joins leading Canadian academics and captains of industry in the inter-disciplinary activities of Massey College, including governance, diplomacy, business and international affairs.
Sir Ronald now has the distinction of concurrently being a Senior Fellow at two Universities in different Commonwealth countries. Guyana-born Sanders is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, England.
Last October, his work as an advocate for Caribbean and Commonwealth causes was recognised by the University of the West Indies when he was accorded the honour of Doctor of Letters (D. Litt) by the University’s Senate and Council.
Sir Ronald has had a career as a senior diplomat and business executive. He has held many elected international and Caribbean positions, including as a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO and Chairman of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force.
Having also served the 53-nation Commonwealth in many capacities, he is now a nominee for the post of Commonwealth Secretary-General.
Sanders answers: Will US help Caribbean Energy Woes?
Friday 24 April 2015
Inter-American Dialouge's Latin American Advisor -Energy
www.thedialouge.org April 20-24, 2015
Will U.S. Efforts Help Address the Caribbean's Energy Woes?
U.S. President Barack Obama announced this month in Jamaica that the United States will offer $20 million in funding for clean energy investments in the Caribbean, a region that has become increasingly dependent on oil from economically troubled Venezuela and where high power costs have curtailed growth. One of the aims of Obama's trip, during which the U.S. Department of Energy also signed a statement of intent with Jamaica's Science and Energy Ministry to cooperate on infrastructure, storage and diversification of fuels, was to deepen U.S. energy ties with the region. What's driving the Obama administration's push for Caribbean energy cooperation? Is it a commitment the United States will continue after Obama leaves office? Are U.S. efforts focused on the right areas to make a difference in the Caribbean's energy problems? What potential issues could cause plans to fall short of expectations?
Sir Ronald Sanders, consultant, former Caribbean ambassador and senior fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies:
"Twenty million dollars is a very small sum to fund clean energy investments in the Caribbean in any serious way. The enormous cost of building the infrastructure to transition from fossil fuels requires Caribbean governments to have access to concessionary financing from international financial institutions (IFI’s). The US government has undertaken to support change in the criteria for concessional financing so as to allow qualification for Caribbean countries that up to now are “graduated” because (apart from Haiti) they are not low-income countries. The change, if it occurs, will not do so with the required immediacy. The majority of Caribbean countries also now confront high debt. With oil prices now substantially lower than they have been for decades, there is little incentive to incur the huge capital cost of moving to clean energy sources.
What appears to be driving this belated US interest in the Caribbean’s energy sector are two things: a desire to neutralise the reliance of many Caribbean countries on Venezuela which supplies petroleum and petroleum products under a payment scheme that incorporates long term loans at low interest rates; and the wish to sell US natural gas and clean energy technology to the region. The latter will not be achieved unless the US provides (a) direct funding on a concessionary basis; and (b) inducements to its private sector to invest. On the matter of Venezuela, Caribbean governments that now benefit from the advantageous payment scheme will not turn away from it while it continues.
If any US government is seriously concerned with improving conditions in the Caribbean to achieve higher levels of prosperity that discourage refugees and illegal migration as well as reduces crime and promotes greater political stability, it needs to develop a comprehensive plan for the area. It would best do so by consulting with regional governments on such a plan.
Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) for Sir Ronald
Sunday 23 November 2014
On Friday October 24th, Sir Ronald was conferred with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) by the University of the West Indies at its St Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago. Sir Ronald also delivered an address to the graduating class of 2014. His address and the citation appear in the "Lectures and Interviews" section of this website.
Sir Ronald Sanders addressing 2014 UWI graduating Social Sciences Faculty at St Augustine, Trinidad