Sunday 16 August 2015
Antigua-Barbuda ambassador calls for Cuba to return to the OAS
WASHINGTON, USA -- Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) Sir Ronald Sanders on Friday called for Cuba to “take its rightful seat in the Councils of the Organization” and said his country would do all in its power to encourage Cuba to do so.
The Antigua and Barbuda diplomat was delivering his inaugural statement to a fully-attended Permanent Council of the OAS in Washington.
Sanders said his government “looks forward to the universality of hemispheric representation in this body by the return of Cuba to our councils”. He told the gathering, which included the ambassadors of the United States, Canada and all Latin American and Caribbean states, that he is “proud that, apart from Canada and Mexico, the countries of the Caribbean were the first to end the isolation of Cuba in this Hemisphere in 1972”.
The Antigua and Barbuda representative said, “While it took 42 years since 1972 ‘to cut loose the anchor of failed policies of the past’, today Cuba enjoys diplomatic relations with every member state of this Organisation.”
“Cuba,” he said, “must not now isolate itself from this body of which it is a founding member. My government calls on the Cuban government to take its rightful seat in the Council of the OAS.”
Sanders’ sentiments were supported by the ambassador of the United States, whose Secretary of State, John Kerry, was in Cuba to raise the American flag at the opening of the first embassy for five decades.
Cuba was suspended from the OAS in 1962 largely at the initiative of the US government that was pursuing a policy of isolating the Caribbean island. In June 2009, the OAS lifted the ban on Cuba but, so far, Cuba has not acted to re-join the Organisation. (see full text of the statement under "Lectures" in "Interviews and Lectures" section of this website.
Friday 14 August 2015
A new commentary has been posted entitled: China's devalued currency, blood and windfalls. Among the matters discussed in the commentary, it argues that "whatever the real reason behind the decision in Beijing to devalue the yuan, what is needed worldwide is adjustment to its reality. Exporters to China will have to become more price competitive as will those countries that compete with China for sales of manufactured products. As for countries in the Caribbean whose loan costs and imports will be cheaper, they should take advantage of it as a rare windfall to their financial situation".
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 Ronald calls for strengthening of OAS to remain relevant
Tuesday 11 August 2015
Sir Ronald presenting credentials to Secretary-General of the OAS Luis Almagro Lemes
Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the Organization of American states, Sir Ronald Sanders, told high ranking representatives of Western Hemisphere governments that they have to strengthen the Organization to make it relevant and meaningful.
Sanders made the remarks as he presented credentials to Secretary-General Luis Almargo Lemes at the OAS Headquarters in Washington on August 10.
At a ceremony attended by Ambassadors of Canada, the United States of America and Latin American and Caribbean states, Sir Ronald declared: “There has never been a time in mankind’s history when our planet has been faced with common challenges of greater magnitude than now”.
He identified the challenges as climate change and threats to the existence of island states; terrorism both within and across borders; communicable diseases, drug trafficking and organised crime; and high unemployment among the young.
Saying that the OAS can contribute to the solution of these problems in collaboration and cooperation with other multilateral and international organisations, the Antigua and Barbuda diplomat called on the member states to “commit to strengthening the Organisation to play its fullest role in our Hemisphere and in the wider global community”.
Sanders stated that “notwithstanding that the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean has projected that for 2015 Antigua and Barbuda will have the highest growth rate of all Caribbean countries at 5.3%, my government welcomes the priority being given in the OAS to mitigation of natural disasters, facilitation of foreign investment and wealth distribution, and inter-connectivity in transport and information technology”.
In welcoming Sir Ronald to the councils of the OAS, Secretary-General Lemes recalled the vast experience of the Antigua and Barbuda diplomat in the international community. He said that he was confident that the Organisation will benefit from Sir Ronald’s practical knowledge and known skills.
New Lecture: The unfairness of European Union EPAs with African countries
Sunday 2 August 2015
Abuja, 28 July…. Antigua and Barbuda diplomat, Sir Ronald Sanders, told a Conference of more than 150 representatives from Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that there is a risk that Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union (EU) could be the start of a new era in which African, Caribbean and Pacific countries are held captive to European companies. Read his Keynote Speech to a conference in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, under "Lectures" in the "Lectures and Interviews" section of this website:
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