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Year 2001 No. 35, February 23, 2001 Archive Search Home Page

Caribbean Countries Agree to Sever Colonial Ties with Britain

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

Caribbean Countries Agree to Sever Colonial Ties with Britain

Lecturers Set Day of Action in Defence of Pay and Conditions

Further on the Opposition to the US and British Bombing of Iraq
Foreign Ministry Says Morocco Distressed by US-British Bombing of Iraq - Iran Condemns US Adventurism in Iraq - Arab Newspapers Denounce US-British Attack - AAPSO Condemns the US-British Raids - Saudi Arabia Denounces Strikes against Iraq

British and US Planes Attack Iraq Once Again

The World in Brief

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Caribbean Countries Agree to Sever Colonial Ties with Britain

At the meeting of heads of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), held in Barbados on February 14, eleven Caribbean countries signed an agreement to establish a Supreme Court for the Caribbean region. This agreement effectively severs the 170-year colonial connection with what is referred to as the court of the Privy Council in London which, until this year, acted as the final court of appeal for those Caribbean countries which were formerly British colonies.

Legal appeals to the Court of the Privy Council are technically made either to "Her Majesty in Council" or to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. This practice dates from feudal times and is based on the notion of the monarch as "the fountain of justice". The jurisdiction of the court, which is today made up of five senior judges, largely ended in Britain during the 17th century, but it retained jurisdiction over colonies and overseas territories, even when most became independent countries. More recently the Judicial Committee is "the court of last resort" for matters pertaining to the devolved executives and legislatures of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In recent years there have been increasing demands in the Caribbean for the severance of such anachronistic ties with Britain, one of the means by which the rulers of Britain continue to interfere in the affairs of former colonies. The demand for a Caribbean Court of Justice, which was first raised in the 1970s, is being seen as a significant step forward for many Caribbean countries and has been hailed as an "affirmation of independence". However, some countries such as St Vincent and the Grenadines have declined to sign the agreement, while Montserrat, which is still governed from Westminster, is unable to sign. The Prime Minister of St Lucia and current chairman of CARICOM, Kenny Anthony, in a speech at the signing ceremony, welcomed the agreement and spoke of the need "to affirm our independence and assert our sovereignty". He stressed that the independence of former British colonies in the Caribbean "cannot be considered complete until the determination of rights, duties, and interests of Caribbean litigants are pronounced on by a regional court".

However, the court of the Privy Council remains the highest appeal court for many other countries in the Caribbean, for Britain’s colonial possessions, such as Gibraltar and the Malvinas and even for New Zealand. This anachronism points to the urgent need for a modern foreign policy and the complete severance of all Britain’s colonial and neo-colonial ties.

Article Index

Lecturers Set Day of Action in Defence of Pay and Conditions

Lecturers in further education colleges have set May 1 as the start date of industrial action unless their demands for improvements in pay and working conditions are agreed to by the employers and government.

At a special conference in January, delegates agreed to demand an immediate interim flat rate payment of £3,000 for all full time teaching staff, pro-rata for part time lecturers, as the first stage in the effort to stop the continuous erosion of pay and working conditions in the further education sector. Negotiators from the further education lecturers' union NATFHE have been charged with gaining agreement on this demand by the end of February and in the absence of such agreement to organise a ballot of members in support of a programme of industrial action beginning with a one-day strike on May 1.

Separate from the decision on the interim payment, the special conference also decided to submit another claim for among other things:

1. negotiations to achieve national conditions of service in place of the present conditions which are negotiated college by college;

2. additional pay awards phased over four years to bring lecturers’ pay in line with that of school teachers which it has fallen behind by some 10%;

3. equal contractual treatment for full and part time staff;

4. an increase in the London allowance.

There was unanimous rejection by the conference of the efforts by the government to link extra funding for further education to the introduction of Performance Related Pay (PRP). Delegates condemned PRP as an attempt to divide the lecturers and set them against each other.

The decisions of the FE lecturers are a sign of the growing opposition to the anti-social offensive and of the rejection of the idea that the entire society and its resources should be put at the disposal of the monopolies, while people's basic needs are disregarded. It once again makes clear that today the question of who decides on the direction of the economy and the society is one which needs to be resolved in favour of the working people.

Article Index

Further on the Opposition to the US and British Bombing of Iraq

Foreign Ministry Says Morocco Distressed by US-British Bombing of Iraq

A source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation said on 19 February that Morocco received with shock and distress the US-British bombing of Baghdad.

In a statement to the Moroccan news agency, MAP, the same source added that Morocco feared that such repeated military attacks against Iraq would lead to an increase of the tension and violence witnessed by the region.

Iran Condemns US Adventurism in Iraq

Iranian media denounced on Sunday the US-British attacks against Iraq. Local media said the attack proved Washington’s attempt to bolster its presence in the region and ensure that no major Arab power gains influence and increases its threat to the Zionist regime.

The Kayhan International daily criticised as "absurd" the US-British pretexts that the attack had been launched to ensure the safety of their pilots enforcing the "no-fly zones". It said the recent attack might be the harbinger of another Oil War that former US President George Bush fought a decade ago.

The daily Tehran Times stressed on Sunday that the US involvement in Iraq has destabilised the whole situation in the Middle East and pointed out that no explanation whatsoever on the part of Washington can justify their action. The paper warned that the latest US move demonstrates that the "military component and option will become a prominent feature in the future US foreign policy". Referring to the forthcoming visit of US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the region, the newspaper noted that the new US administration headed by George W Bush is making it known that it is getting "tougher on military matters and broadening its range of targets".

Arab Newspapers Denounce US-British Attack

Newspapers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday urged all Arab countries to restore Arab reconciliation and solidarity in the wake of the US-British air raids against Iraq. They denounced the "barbaric" US-British military actions as "turning humanity back to the law of the jungle".

The Dubai-based daily Gulf News commented that George W Bush is out to revive a failed policy, proving that he is his father’s son. The paper warned that what Bush has inherited is just a failed US policy towards Iraq, and that the attack shows that America and Britain are already isolated in the world for their brutal attacks on Iraq, and if Bush ventures down the same beaten track, he is not going to gain much.

AAPSO Condemns the US-British Raids

The Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organisation (AAPSO) on Monday condemned the US-British air strikes against Iraq. In a statement issued by the Cairo-based organisation, the AAPSO condemned the bombings as "barbaric aggressions against the Iraqi people" and called on the world community to stand in the face of "this destructive war".

"What is going on is not a routine mission but rather a scheme that does not target one single country but the whole region," the statement said, adding that the strike was aimed at "imposing US and Israeli interests at the expense of Arab countries".

Saudi Arabia Denounces Strikes against Iraq

Saudi Arabia expressed concern on Wednesday about the latest British and US air strikes on Iraq. Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, expressed what he called "feelings of denunciation and anxiety over the recent escalation against south Baghdad".

In a joint statement with his Syrian counterpart, Farouq al-Shara, he said the air strikes "came at a time when wide consultations were being conducted to tackle the whole issue at the next Arab summit in Amman in a way that preserves security in the region and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq".

US aircraft and two British fighters involved in last Friday's bombing are based in Saudi Arabia.

Article Index

British and US Planes Attack Iraq Once Again

American and British jets have been bombing Iraqi air defence systems in the north of the country, according to news reports.

The attacks come after Iraqi anti-aircraft fire on US planes which had resumed patrols of the illegal "no-fly zone" north of Mosul. The attacks are the first since last weekend's air strikes against Iraq.

The US and Britain have been enforcing "no-fly zones" over northern and southern Iraq since the end of the Gulf War in 1991 in violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. Planes patrolling the northern zone are based in the southern Turkish base of Incirlik. Iraq has been challenging the patrols since December 1998.

Tony Blair, on his state visit to Canada, despite the world-wide condemnation of the strikes against Iraq, made clear the US had his strong backing for the strikes.

Article Index

The World in Brief

14-28 February LATVIA: World Bank and IMF officials visit to examine the situation in the financial sector.

15-25 February KYRGYZSTAN: Kyrgyz-US military exercises codenamed Balance Night take place under NATO Partnership for Peace programme.

18-25 AFRICA: The heads of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank go on an African tour which will take them to Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania and Kenya.

19 Feb – 6 Mar EAST ASIA: Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque on his two-week tour of five Asian countries – Malaysia (19-20), Singapore (21-22), Vietnam (23-24), China (25 Feb – 3 Mar) and Japan (3 March). Perez Roque plans to establish political and economic contacts with authorities and possibly meet some government leaders.

21-24 February NORTH KOREA: North and South Korea hold first working-level talks in Pyongyang to discuss flood control measures on the Imjin River.

22-25 February NORTH KOREA: A group of South Korean MPs visits Mt Kumgang to participate in a marathon race event to support inter-Korean relations.

24-25 February RUSSIA/EGYPT: Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov visits Cairo for talks on the Middle East situation. While there, he is expected to meet US Secretary of State Colin Powell for talks on the ABM Treaty, security, bilateral ties and regional problems.

25 February EGYPT: Cairo to host a G-8 Islamic summit of Egypt, Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey and Nigeria. The summit is being preceded by a three-day meeting of the foreign ministers.

25 February MEXICO: Zapatista National Liberation Army start march to Mexico City, expected to arrive on 11 March.

26 February FRANCE: European foreign ministers meet in Nice to sign Treaty of Nice on the reform of the European institutions.

27 February GERMANY: Polish President Aleksander Kwansniewski, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac take part in the Weimar Triangle summit in Hambach.

27-28 SOUTH KOREA: Russian President Vladimir Putin pays a state visit. The timing of Putin’s visit is viewed as important as North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is to visit Moscow in April, after which he is expected to go to Seoul for a second inter-Korean summit.

1-2 March RUSSIA/VIETNAM: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin visits Hanoi. Joint political declaration and cooperation documents to be signed.

2-4 March LIBYA: Libyan leader Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi convenes an OAU summit in Sirte as a follow up to the Lome summit of July 2000. The African leaders are expected to sign the declaration of the African political and economic union and the establishment of a pan-African parliament.

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