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Turks and Caicos Islands – Wikipedia

Posted: January 6, 2017 at 11:07 pm

The Turks and Caicos Islands ( and / / ), or TCI for short, are a British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago of the Atlantic Ocean and northern West Indies.

They are known primarily for tourism and as an offshore financial centre. The resident population is 31,458 as of 2012[update][2] of whom 23,769 live on Providenciales in the Caicos Islands.

The Turks and Caicos Islands lie southeast of Mayaguana in the Bahamas island chain and north of the island of Hispaniola and the other Antilles archipelago islands. Cockburn Town, the capital since 1766, is situated on Grand Turk Island about 1,042 kilometres (647mi) east-southeast of Miami, United States. The islands have a total land area of 430 square kilometres (170sqmi).[b]

The first recorded European sighting of the islands now known as the Turks and Caicos occurred in 1512.[7] In the subsequent centuries, the islands were claimed by several European powers with the British Empire eventually gaining control. For many years the islands were governed indirectly through Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the islands received their own governor, and have remained a separate autonomous British Overseas Territory since. In August 2009, the United Kingdom suspended the Turks and Caicos Islands’ self-government after allegations of ministerial corruption.[8] Home rule was restored in the islands after the November 2012 elections.

The Turks and Caicos Islands are named after the Turk’s cap cactus (Melocactus intortus), and the Lucayan term caya hico, meaning ‘string of islands’.[9][10][11]

The first inhabitants of the islands were Arawakan-speaking Tano people, who crossed over from Hispaniola sometime from AD 500 to 800. Together with Taino who migrated from Cuba to the southern Bahamas around the same time, these people developed as the Lucayan. Around 1200, the Turks and Caicos Islands were resettled by Classical Tanos from Hispaniola.

Soon after the Spanish arrived in the islands in 1512,[7] they began capturing the Tano of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Lucayan as slaves (technically, as workers in the encomienda system)[12] to replace the largely depleted native population of Hispaniola. The southern Bahama Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands were completely depopulated by about 1513, and remained so until the 17th century.[13][14][15][16][17]

The first European documented to sight the islands was Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Len, who did so in 1512.[7] During the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, the islands passed from Spanish, to French, to British control, but none of the three powers ever established any settlements.

Bermudian salt collectors settled the Turks Islands around 1680. For several decades around the turn of the 18th century, the islands became popular pirate hideouts. From 17651783, the islands were under French occupation, and again after the French captured the archipelago in 1783.

After the American War of Independence (17751783), many Loyalists fled to British Caribbean colonies; in 1783, they were the first settlers on the Caicos Islands. They developed cotton as an important cash crop, but it was superseded by the development of the salt industry.

In 1799, both the Turks and the Caicos island groups were annexed by Britain as part of the Bahamas.[citation needed] The processing of sea salt was developed as a highly important export product from the West Indies, with the labour done by African slaves. Salt continued to be a major export product into the nineteenth century.

In 1807, Britain prohibited the slave trade and, in 1833, abolished slavery in its colonies. British ships sometimes intercepted slave traders in the Caribbean, and some ships were wrecked off the coast of these islands. In 1837, the Esperanza, a Portuguese slaver, was wrecked off East Caicos, one of the larger islands. While the crew and 220 captive Africans survived the shipwreck, 18 Africans died before the survivors were taken to Nassau. Africans from this ship may have been among the 189 liberated Africans whom the British colonists settled in the Turks and Caicos from 1833 to 1840.[18]

In 1841, the Trouvadore, an illegal Spanish slave ship, was wrecked off the coast of East Caicos. All the 20-man crew and 192 captive Africans survived the sinking. Officials freed the Africans and arranged for 168 persons to be apprenticed to island proprietors on Grand Turk Island for one year. They increased the small population of the colony by seven percent.[18] Numerous descendants have come from those free Africans. The remaining 24 were resettled in Nassau. The Spanish crew were also taken there, to be turned over to the custody of the Cuban consul and taken to Cuba for prosecution.[19] An 1878 letter documents the “Trouvadore Africans” and their descendants as constituting an essential part of the “labouring population” on the islands.[18]

In 2004, marine archaeologists affiliated with the Turks and Caicos National Museum discovered a wreck, called the “Black Rock Ship”, that subsequent research has suggested may be that of the Trouvadore. In November 2008, a cooperative marine archaeology expedition, funded by the United States NOAA, confirmed that the wreck has artefacts whose style and date of manufacture link them to the Trouvadore.[19][20][21]

In 1848, Britain designated the Turks and Caicos as a separate colony under a council president. In 1873, the islands were made part of the Jamaica colony; in 1894, the chief colonial official was restyled commissioner. In 1917, Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden suggested that the Turks and Caicos join Canada, but this suggestion was rejected by British Prime Minister David Lloyd George. The islands remained a dependency of Jamaica into 1959.[citation needed]

On 4 July 1959, the islands were again designated as a separate colony, the last commissioner being restyled administrator. The governor of Jamaica also continued as the governor of the islands. When Jamaica was granted independence from Britain in August 1962, the Turks and Caicos Islands became a Crown colony. From 1965, the governor of the Bahamas also was governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands and oversaw affairs for the islands.[citation needed]

When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the Turks and Caicos received their own governor (the last administrator was restyled). In 1974, Canadian New Democratic Party MP Max Saltsman tried to use his Private Member’s Bill for legislation to annex the islands to Canada, but it did not pass in the Canadian House of Commons.[22]

Since August 1976, the islands have had their own government headed by a chief minister, the first of whom was James Alexander George Smith McCartney.

The islands’ political troubles in the early 21st century resulted in a rewritten constitution promulgated in 2006. The UK took over direction of the government in 2009.[23][24]

In 2013 and 2014, interest in annexing Turks and Caicos to Canada was renewed as Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring met with the Turks and Caicos’ premier Rufus Ewing in a reception at Torontos Westin Harbour Castle hotel.[25][26]

The two island groups are in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas, northwest of Puerto Rico, north of Hispaniola, and about 1,000 kilometres (620mi) from Miami in the United States, at 2145N 7135W / 21.750N 71.583W / 21.750; -71.583Coordinates: 2145N 7135W / 21.750N 71.583W / 21.750; -71.583. The territory is geographically contiguous to the Bahamas, both comprising the Lucayan Archipelago, but is politically a separate entity. The Caicos Islands are separated by the Caicos Passage from the closest Bahamian islands, Mayaguana and Great Inagua.

The eight main islands and more than 299 smaller islands[citation needed] have a total land area of 616.3 square kilometres (238.0 square miles),[b] consisting primarily of low, flat limestone with extensive marshes and mangrove swamps and 332 square kilometres (128sqmi) of beach front. The weather is usually sunny (it is generally regarded that the islands receive 350 days of sun each year[27]) and relatively dry, but suffers frequent hurricanes. The islands have limited natural fresh water resources; private cisterns collect rainwater for drinking. The primary natural resources are spiny lobster, conch, and other shellfish.

The two distinct island groups are separated by the Turks Islands Passage.

The Turks Islands are separated from the Caicos Islands by Turks Island Passage, which is more than 2,200m or 7,200ft deep,[28] The islands form a chain that stretches northsouth. The 2012 Census population was 4,939 on the two main islands, the only inhabited islands of the group:

Together with nearby islands, all on Turks Bank, those two main islands form the two of the six administrative districts of the territory that fall within the Turks Islands. Turks Bank, which is smaller than Caicos Bank, has a total area of about 324km2 (125sqmi).[30]

25 kilometres (16mi) east of the Turks Islands and separated from them by Mouchoir Passage is the Mouchoir Bank. Although it has no emergent cays or islets, some parts are very shallow and the water breaks on them. Mouchoir Bank is part of the Turks and Caicos Islands and falls within its Exclusive Economic Zone. It measures 960 square kilometres (370sqmi) in area.[31] Two banks further east, Silver Bank and Navidad Bank, are geographically a continuation, but belong politically to the Dominican Republic.

The largest island in the Caicos archipelago is the sparsely-inhabited Middle Caicos, which measures 144 square kilometres (56sqmi) in area, but has a population of only 168 at the 2012 Census. The most populated island is Providenciales, with 23,769 inhabitants in 2012, and an area of 122 square kilometres (47sqmi). North Caicos (116 square kilometres (45sqmi) in area) had 1,312 inhabitants. South Caicos (21 square kilometres (8.1sqmi) in area) had 1,139 inhabitants, and Parrot Cay (6 square kilometres (2.3sqmi) in area) had 131 inhabitants. East Caicos (which is administered as part of South Caicos District) is uninhabited, while the only permanent inhabitants of West Caicos (administered as part of Providenciales District) are resort staff.

The Turks and Caicos Islands feature a relatively dry and sunny marine tropical climate[32] with relatively consistent temperatures throughout the course of the year. Summertime temperatures rarely exceed 33C (91F) and winter nighttime temperatures rarely fall below 18C (64F).

The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory. As a British territory, its sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, represented by a governor appointed by the monarch, on the advice of the Foreign Office. The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization includes the territory on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

With the election of the territory’s first Chief Minister, J.A.G.S. McCartney, the islands adopted a constitution on 30 August 1976, which is Constitution Day, the national holiday.

The constitution was suspended in 1986, but restored and revised 5 March 1988. In the interim two Advisory Councils took over with members from the Progressive National Party (PNP), People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) and National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which was a splinter group from the PNP:[35]

A new constitution came into force on 9 August 2006, but was in parts suspended and amended in 2009. The territory’s legal system is based on English common law, with a small number of laws adopted from Jamaica and the Bahamas. Suffrage is universal for those over 18 years of age. English is the official language. Grand Turk is the administrative and political capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Cockburn Town has been the seat of government since 1766.

Under the suspended 2006 constitution, the head of government was the premier, filled by the leader of the elected party. The cabinet consisted of three ex officio members and five appointed by the governor from among the members of the House of Assembly. The unicameral House of Assembly consisted of 21 seats, of which 15 were popularly elected; members serve four-year terms. Elections in the Turks and Caicos Islands were held on 24 April 2003 and again on 9 February 2007. The Progressive National Party, led by Michael Misick, held thirteen seats, and the People’s Democratic Movement, led by Floyd Seymour, held two seats.

Under the new constitution that came into effect in October 2012, legislative power is held by a unicameral House of Assembly, consisting of 19 seats, 15 elected and 4 appointed by the governor; of elected members, five are elected at large and 10 from single member districts for four-year terms. After the 2012 elections, Rufus Ewing of the Progressive National Party won a narrow majority of the elected seats and was appointed premier.[36]

The Turks and Caicos Islands participates in the Caribbean Development Bank, is an associate in CARICOM, member of the Universal Postal Union and maintains an Interpol sub-bureau. Defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom.

The winning party of Turks and Caicos’ first general election in 1976, the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) under “Jags” McCartney, sought to establish a framework and accompanying infrastructure in the pursuit of an eventual policy of full independence for the islands. However, with the early death of McCartney, confidence in the country’s leadership waned. In 1980, the PDM agreed with the British government that independence would be granted in 1982 if the PDM was re-elected in the elections of that year.[citation needed] That election was effectively a referendum on the independence issue and was won by the pro-dependency Progressive National Party (PNP), which claimed victory again four years later. With these developments, the independence issue largely faded from the political scene.[citation needed]

However, in the mid-2000s, the issue of independence for the islands was again raised. In April 2006, PNP Premier Michael Misick reaffirmed that his party saw independence from Britain as the “ultimate goal” for the islands, but not at the present time.[37]

In 2008, opponents of Misick accused him of moving toward independence for the islands to dodge a commission of inquiry, which examined reports of corruption by the Misick Administration.[38]

The Turks and Caicos Islands are divided into six administrative districts (two in the Turks Islands and four in the Caicos Islands), headed by district commissioners. For the House of Assembly, the Turks and Caicos Islands are divided into 15 electoral districts (four in the Turks Islands and eleven in the Caicos Islands).

A great number of tourists who visit the Turks and Caicos Islands are Canadian. In 2011 arrivals from Canada were about 42,000 out of a total from all countries of about 354,000.[39] Owing to this, the islands’ status as a British colony, and historical trade links, some politicians in Canada and the Turks and Caicos have suggested some form of union between Canada and the British territory. In 1917, Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden attempted to persuade the British government to annex the islands, and the idea has been discussed several times over the last century. In 1974, the government of the islands sent Canada a “serious offer” to join the country, however at the time the Canadian government was focusing on their free trade agreement with the United States.

In 2013, Rufus Ewing, the Premier of the islands, rejected the idea of the islands joining Canada, however the following year he stated that he wasn’t “closing the door completely” on the possibility.[40]

In April 2016, it was reported that the New Democratic Party, one of the three major political parties in Canada, was considering a resolution at an upcoming national convention to discuss the possibility of working with lawmakers and citizens of Turks and Caicos Islands to have it join Canada as the eleventh Canadian province.[41]

In 2008, after members of the British parliament conducting a routine review of the administration received several reports of high-level official corruption in the Turks and Caicos,[42] then-Governor Richard Tauwhare announced the appointment of a Commission of Enquiry into corruption.[43] The same year, Premier Michael Misick himself became the focus of a criminal investigation after a woman identified by news outlets as an American citizen residing in Puerto Rico accused him of sexually assaulting her,[44] although he strongly denies the charge.[45]

On Monday, 16 March 2009, the UK threatened to suspend self-government in the islands and transfer power to the new governor, Gordon Wetherell, over systemic corruption.[46]

On 18 March 2009, on the advice of her UK ministers, Queen Elizabeth II issued an Order in Council giving the Governor the power to suspend those parts of the 2006 Constitution that deal with ministerial government and the House of Assembly, and to exercise the powers of government himself. The order, which would also establish an Advisory Council and Consultative Forum in place of the House of Assembly, would come into force on a date to be announced by the governor, and remain in force for two years unless extended or revoked.[47]

On 23 March 2009, after the enquiry found evidence of “high probability of systemic corruption or other serious dishonesty”, Misick resigned as Premier to make way for a new, unified government.[48] Politicians were accused of selling crown land for personal gain and misusing public funds.[49] The following day, Galmo Williams was sworn in as his replacement.[48][50] Misick denied all charges, and referred to the British government’s debate on whether to remove the territory’s sovereignty as “tantamount to being re-colonised. It is a backwards step completely contrary to the whole movement of history.”[49]

On 14 August 2009 after Misick’s last appeals failed, the Governor, on the instructions of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, imposed direct rule on the Turks and Caicos Islands by authority of the 18 March 2009 Order in Council issued by the Queen. The islands’ administration was suspended for up to two years, with possible extensions, and power was transferred to the Governor, with the United Kingdom also stationing a supply vessel in between Turks and Caicos. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Chris Bryant said of the decision to impose rule, “This is a serious constitutional step which the UK Government has not taken lightly but these measures are essential in order to restore good governance and sound financial management.”[51]

The move was met with vehement opposition by the former Turks and Caicos government, with Misick’s successor Williams calling it a “coup”, and stating that, “Our country is being invaded and re-colonised by the United Kingdom, dismantling a duly elected government and legislature and replacing it with a one-man dictatorship, akin to that of the old Red China, all in the name of good governance.”[51] Despite this, the civilian populace was reported to be largely welcoming of the enforced rule.[51] The British government stated that they intended to keep true to their word that the country would regain home rule in two years or less, and Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant said that elections would be held in 2011, “or sooner”.[52] Governor Wetherell stated that he would aim to “make a clean break from the mistakes of the past” and create “a durable path towards good governance, sound financial management and sustainable development”. Wetherell added: “In the meantime we must all learn to foster a quality of public spirit, listen to all those who have the long-term interests of these islands at heart, and safeguard the fundamental assets of the Territory for future generations… Our guiding principles will be those of transparency, accountability and responsibility. I believe that most people in the Turks and Caicos will welcome these changes.”[51]

On 12 June 2012 British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that fresh elections would be held in November 2012, stating that there had been “significant progress with an ambitious reform programme” and that there had been “sufficient progress, on the milestones and on putting in place robust financial controls”[53] A new constitution was approved on 15 October 2012. The terms of the election are specified in the constitution.[54]

The judicial branch of government is headed by a Supreme Court; appeals are heard by the Court of Appeal and final appeals by the United Kingdom’s Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. There are three justices of the Supreme Court, a Chief Justice and two others. The Court of Appeal consists of a president and at least two justices of appeal.

Magistrates’ Courts are the lower courts and appeals from Magistrates’ Courts are sent to the Supreme Court.

As of September 2014, the Chief Justice is Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale.[55]

Eight of the thirty islands in the territory are inhabited, with a total population estimated from preliminary results of the census of 25 January 2012 (released on 12 August 2012) of 31,458 inhabitants, an increase of 58.2% from the population of 19,886 reported in the 2001 census.[2] One-third of the population is under 15 years old, and only 4% are 65 or older. In 2000 the population was growing at a rate of 3.55% per year. The infant mortality rate was 18.66 deaths per 1,000 live births and the life expectancy at birth was 73.28 years (71.15 years for males, 75.51 years for females). The total fertility rate was 3.25 children born per woman. The annual population growth rate is 2.82%.

The adult population is composed of 57.5% immigrants (“non-belongers”). The CIA World Factbook describes the islanders’ ethnicity as African 87%, European 7.9%, Mixed 2.5.%, East Indian 1.3% and Other 0.7% [58]

Vital statistics related to the population are:[59][60][61]

The official language of the islands is English and the population also speaks Turks and Caicos Islands Creole[62] which is similar to Bahamian Creole.[63] Due to its close proximity to Cuba and Hispaniola, large Haitian Creole and Spanish-speaking communities have developed in the territory due to immigration, both legal and illegal, from Creole-speaking Haiti and from Spanish-speaking Cuba and Dominican Republic.[64]

72.8% of the population of Turks and Caicos are Christian (Baptists 35.8%, Church of God 11.7%, Roman Catholics 11.4%, Anglicans 10%, Methodists 9.3%, Seventh-Day Adventists 6%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.8% and Others 14%).[58]

Catholics are served by the Mission “Sui Iuris” for Turks and Caicos, which was erected in 1984 with territory taken from the then Diocese of Nassau.

The Turks and Caicos Islands are most well known for ripsaw music. The islands are known for their annual Music and Cultural Festival showcasing many local talents and other dynamic performances by many music celebrities from around the Caribbean and United States.

Women continue traditional crafts of using straw to make baskets and hats on the larger Caicos islands. It is possible that this continued tradition is related to the liberated Africans who joined the population directly from Africa in the 1830s and 1841 from shipwrecked slavers; they brought cultural craft skills with them.[21]

The island’s most popular sports are fishing, sailing, football (soccer) and cricket (which is the national sport).

Turks and Caicos cuisine is based primarily around seafood, especially conch.[65] Two common dishes, whilst not traditionally ‘local’, are conch fritters and conch salad.[66]

Because the Turks and Caicos is a British Overseas Territory and not an independent country, they, at one time, could not confer citizenship. Instead, people with close ties to Britain’s Overseas Territories all held the same nationality: British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) as defined by the British Nationality Act 1981 and subsequent amendments. BOTC, however, does not confer any right to live in any British Overseas Territory, including the territory from which it is derived. Instead, the rights normally associated with citizenship derive from what is called Belonger status and island natives or descendants from natives are said to be Belongers.

In 2002, the British Overseas Territories Act restored full British citizenship status to all citizens of British Overseas Territories, including the Turks and Caicos. See British Overseas Territories citizen#Access to British citizenship.

Public Education is supported by taxation, and is mandatory for children aged five to sixteen. Primary education lasts for six years and secondary education lasts for five years. In the 1990s, the island nation launched the Primary In-Service Teacher Education Project (PINSTEP) in an effort to increase the skills of its primary school teachers, nearly one-quarter of whom were unqualified. Turks and Caicos also worked to refurbish its primary schools, reduce textbook costs, and increase equipment and supplies given to schools. For example, in September 1993, each primary school was given enough books to allow teachers to establish in-class libraries.[citation needed] In 2001, the studentteacher ratio at the primary level was roughly 15:1.[citation needed] The Turks and Caicos Islands Community College offers free higher education to students who have successfully completed their secondary education. The community college also oversees an adult literacy program. The Ministry of Health, Education, Youth, Sports, and Women’s Affairs oversees education in Turks and Caicos. Once a student completes their education at The Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, they are allowed to further their education at a university in The United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom for free. They have to commit to working in The Turks and Caicos Islands for four years to receive this additional education.

The Turks and Caicos established a National Health System in 2010. Residents contribute to a National Health Insurance Plan through salary deduction and nominal user fees. Majority of care is provided by the private-public-partnership hospitals in Providenciales and Grand Turk. In addition there are a number of government clinics and private clinics. The hospital opened in 2010 is administered by Interhealth Canada and has been accredited by Accreditation Canada in 2012 and 2015.

In 2009, GDP contributions were as follows:[67] Hotels & Restaurants 34.67%, Financial Services 13.12%, Construction 7.83%, Transport, Storage & Communication 9.90%, and Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities 9.56%.[clarification needed] Most capital goods and food for domestic consumption are imported.

In 2010/2011, major sources of government revenue included Import Duties (43.31%), Stamp Duty on Land Transaction (8.82%), Work Permits and Residency Fees (10.03%) and Accommodation Tax (24.95%). The territory’s gross domestic product as of late 2009 is approximately US$795 million (per capita $24,273).[67]

The labour force totalled 27,595 workers in 2008. The labour force distribution in 2006 is as follows:

The unemployment rate in 2008 was 8.3%. In 20072008, the territory took in revenues of $206.79 million against expenditures of $235.85 million. In 1995, the island received economic aid worth $5.7 million. The territory’s currency is the United States dollar, with a few government fines (such as airport infractions) being payable in pounds sterling. Most commemorative coin issues are denominated in crowns.

The primary agricultural products include limited amounts of maize, beans, cassava (tapioca) and citrus fruits. Fish and conch are the only significant export, with some $169.2 million of lobster, dried and fresh conch, and conch shells exported in 2000, primarily to the United Kingdom and the United States. In recent years, however, the catch has been declining. The territory used to be an important trans-shipment point for South American narcotics destined for the United States, but due to the ongoing pressure of a combined American, Bahamian and Turks and Caicos effort this trade has been greatly reduced.

The islands import food and beverages, tobacco, clothing, manufacture and construction materials, primarily from the United States and the United Kingdom. Imports totalled $581 million in 2007.

The islands produce and consume about 5 GWh of electricity, per year, all of which comes from fossil fuels.

The United States was the leading source of tourists in 1996, accounting for more than half of the 87,000 visitors; another major source of tourists is Canada. Tourist arrivals had risen to 264,887 in 2007 and to 351,498 by 2009. In 2010, a total of 245 cruise ships arrived at the Grand Turk Cruise Terminal, carrying a total of 617,863 visitors.[68]

The government is pursuing a two-pronged strategy to increase tourism. Upscale resorts are aimed at the wealthy, while a large new cruise ship port and recreation centre has been built for the masses visiting Grand Turk. Turks and Caicos Islands has one of the longest coral reefs in the world[69] and the world’s only conch farm.[70]

The French vacation village company of Club Mediterannee (Club Med) has an all-inclusive adult resort called ‘Turkoise’ on one of the main islands.

Several Hollywood stars have built homes in the Turks and Caicos, including Dick Clark and Bruce Willis. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner married on Parrot Cay in 2005. Actress Eva Longoria and her ex-husband Tony Parker went to the islands for their honeymoon in July 2007 and High School Musical actors Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens went for a vacation there. In 2013 Hollywood writer/director Rob Margolies and actress Kristen Ruhlin vacationed here. Musician Nile Rodgers has a vacation home on the island.

To boost tourism during the Caribbean low season of late summer, since 2003 the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board have organised and hosted an annual series of concerts during this season called the Turks & Caicos Music and Cultural Festival.[71] Held in a temporary bandshell at The Turtle Cove Marina in The Bight on Providenciales, this festival lasts about a week and has featured several notable international recording artists, such as Lionel Richie, LL Cool J, Anita Baker, Billy Ocean, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Kenny Rogers, Michael Bolton, Ludacris, Chaka Khan, and Boyz II Men.[72] More than 10,000 people attend annually.[72]

The Turks and Caicos Islands are a biodiversity hotspot. The islands have many endemic species and others of international importance, due to the conditions created by the oldest established salt-pan development in the Caribbean. The variety of species includes a number of endemic species of lizards, snakes, insects and plants, and marine organisms; in addition to being an important breeding area for seabirds.[79]

The UK and Turks and Caicos Islands Governments have joint responsibility for the conservation and preservation to meet obligations under international environmental conventions.[80]

Due to this significance, the islands are on the United Kingdom’s tentative list for future UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[81]

Providenciales International Airport is the main entry point for the Turks and Caicos Islands. Altogether, there are seven airports, located on each of the inhabited islands. Five have paved runways (three of which are approximately 2,000m (6,600ft) long and one is approximately 1,000m (3,300ft) long), and the remaining two have unpaved runways (one of which is approximately 1,000m (3,300ft)s long and the other is significantly shorter).[82]

The islands have 121 kilometres (75 miles) of highway, 24km (15mi) paved and 97km (60mi) unpaved. Like the United States Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands drive on the left, but use left-hand-drive vehicles that are imported from the United States.[83]

The territory’s main international ports and harbours are on Grand Turk and Providenciales.[84]

The islands have no significant railways. In the early twentieth century East Caicos operated a horse-drawn railway to transport Sisal from the plantation to the port. The 14-kilometre (8.7-mile) route was removed after sisal trading ceased.[85]

There is no postal delivery in the Turks and Caicos; mail is picked up at one of four post offices on each of the major islands.[86] Mail is transported three or seven times a week, depending on the destination.[87] The Post Office is part of the territory’s government and reports to the Minister of Government Support Services.[88]

Mobile phone service is provided by Cable & Wireless Worldwide, using GSM 850 and TDMA, and Digicel, using GSM 900 and 1900 and Islandcom Wireless, using 3G 850. Cable & Wireless provides CDMA mobile phone service in Providenciales and Grand Turk. The system is connected to the mainland by two submarine cables and an Intelsat earth station. There were three AM radio stations (one inactive) and six FM stations (no shortwave) in 1998. The most popular station is Power 92.5 FM which plays Top 100 hits. Over 8000 radio receivers are owned across the territory.

West Indies Video (WIV) has been the sole cable television provider for the Turks and Caicos Islands for over two decades and WIV4 (a subsidiary of WIV) has been the only broadcast station in the islands for over 15 years; broadcasts from the Bahamas can also be received. The territory has two internet service providers and its country code top level domain (ccTLD) is “.tc”. Amateur radio callsigns begin with “VP5” and visiting operators frequently work from the islands.

WIV introduced Channel 4 News in 2002 broadcasting local news and infotainment programs across the country. Channel 4 was re-launched as WIV4 in November 2007 and began providing reliable daily online Turks and Caicos news with the WIV4 News blog,[89] an online forum connecting TCI residents with others interested in the islands, while keeping users updated on the TCI’s daily news.

Since 2013 4NEWS has become the Islands HD Cable News service with Television Studios in Grace Bay, Providenciales. DigicelPlay is the local cable provider.

Turks and Caicos’s newspapers include the Turks and Caicos Weekly News, the Turks and Caicos SUN[90] and the Turks and Caicos Free Press.[91] All three publications are weekly. The Weekly News and the Sun both have supplement magazines. Other local magazines Times of the Islands,[92]s3 Magazine,[93]Real Life Magazine, Baller Magazine, and Unleashed Magazine.

From 1950 to 1981, the United States had a missile tracking station on Grand Turk. In the early days of the American space program, NASA used it. After his three earth orbits in 1962, American astronaut John Glenn successfully landed in the nearby ocean and was brought back ashore to Grand Turk island.[94][95]

Cricket is the islands’ national sport.[96] The national team takes part in regional tournaments in the ICC Americas Championship,[97] as well as having played one Twenty20 match as part of the 2008 Standford 20/20.[98] Two domestic leagues exist, one on Grand Turk with three teams and another on Providenciales.[96]

As of 4 July 2012, Turks and Caicos Islands’ football team shared the position of the lowest ranking national men’s football team in the world at the rank of 207th.[99]

Because the territory is not recognized by the International Olympic Committee, Turks and Caicos Islanders compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games.[citation needed]

27b. http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/turksandcaicos/

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12.5. Futurist Interpretation Commentary – A Testimony of …

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The approach to interpreting the book of Revelation which has gained perhaps the widest exposure of all systems of interpretation in recent times is the futurist interpretation. This is a result of a number of seminaries in the recent past which have championed a literal interpretative approach to all of Scripture within a framework which understands related Old Testament passages and promises involving Israel, and which distinguishes between Israel and the Church. The futurist interpretation is the basic interpretive framework behind the hugely popular Left Behind series of novels by authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.1

Futurism derives from the consistent application of literal hermeneutics, the Golden Rule of Interpretation, across the entire body of Scripture, including the book of Revelation. Contrary to the claims of many of its critics, it is not an a priori view which is imposed on the text.2 As evidenced by the testimony of the early Church, futurism is the most natural result of a plain reading of the text and the way that most unbiased readers would understand the book on their first reading.

Futurism gets its label from its refusal to see unfulfilled passages as having been fulfilled by approximately similar events in the past. Hence, it holds that many of the events in the book of Revelation await future fulfillment:

The futurist generally believes that all of the visions from Revelation Rev. 4:1+ to the end of the book are yet to be fulfilled in the period immediately preceding and following the second advent of Christ. The reason for the view is found in the comparison of Revelation Rev. 1:1+, Rev. 1:19+ and Rev. 4:1+.3

Futurists see eschatological passages being fulfilled during a future time, primarily during the seventieth week of Daniel, at the second coming of Christ, and during the millennium. While all dispensationalists are futurists, not all futurists are dispensationalists. Futurists are also the most literal in their interpretation of prophecy passages. Dr. Tenney says: The more literal an interpretation that one adopts, the more strongly will he be construed to be a futurist.4

There are two forms of this approach, dispensationalism and what has been called classic premillennialism. Dispensationalists believe that God has brought about his plan of salvation in a series of dispensations or stages centering on his election of Israel to be his covenant people. Therefore, the church age is a parenthesis in this plan, as God turned to the Gentiles until the Jewish people find national revival (Rom. Rom. 11:1;25-32). At the end of that period, the church will be raptured, inaugurating a seven-year tribulation period in the middle of which the Antichrist will make himself known (Rev. Rev. 13:1+) and instigate the great tribulation . . . At the end of that period . . . Christ returns in judgment, followed by a literal millennium (Rev. Rev. 20:1-10+), great white throne judgment (Rev. Rev. 20:11-15+), and the beginning of eternity . . . Classical premillennialism is similar but does not hold to dispensations. Thus there is only one return of Christ, after the tribulation period (Mtt. Mat. 24:29-31; cf. Rev. Rev. 19:11-21+) and it is the whole church, not just the nation of Israel, that passes through the tribulation period.6

When Knowles deals with the next major contributorsIrenaeus (130-200) and his disciple Hippolytus (170-236)he describes their views as undoubtedly the forerunners of the modern dispensational interpreters of the Seventy Weeks. Knowles draws the following conclusion about Irenaeus and Hippolytus: . . .we may say that Irenaeus presented the seed of an idea that found its full growth in the writings of Hippolytus. In the works of these fathers, we can find most of the basic concepts of the modern futuristic view of the seventieth week of Daniel ix. That they were dependent to some extent upon earlier material is no doubt true. Certainly we can see the influence of pre-Christian Jewish exegesis at times, but, by and large, we must regard them as the founders of the school of interpretation, and in this lies their significance for the history of exegesis.9

[Justin Martyr] asserts that it teaches a literal Millennial Kingdom of the saints to be established in Jerusalem, and after the thousand years the general resurrection and judgment. . . . Irenaeus . . . finds in the book the doctrine of chiliasm, that is, of an earthly Millennial Kingdom. . . . Hippolytus is a chiliast . . . identifies . . . Antichrist, who was represented by Antiochus Epiphanes and who will come out of the tribe of Dan, will reign 3 1/2 years, persecuting the Church and putting to death the two Witnesses, the forerunners of the parousia (held to be Elijah and Enoch). . . . Victorinus . . . understands the Revelation in a literal, chiliastic, sense . . . The two witnesses are Elijah and Jeremiah; the 144,000 are Jews who in the last days will be converted by the preaching of Elijah . . . the false prophet, will cause the image of Antichrist to be set up in the temple at Jerusalem.11

Unfortunately, with the rise of allegorical interpretation and the opposition of the heresy of Montanism (which utilized an extravagant form of millennial teaching drawn from the book of Revelation),12 the futurist view fell into disfavor, not to be seen in a favorable light again for over a thousand years.13

During the Reformation, literal interpretation flourished in response to the allegorical methods employed throughout the Middle Ages by the Roman Church. However, the Reformers never fully extended literalism to prophetic passages and key Reformers did not fully appreciate the book of Revelation.

The primary fork in the road between futurism and all other systems of interpretation concerning the book of Revelation comes in the refusal of the futurist to be imprecise with the details of Gods revelation.14 For example, when a passage states that a man Rev. 13:13+), the futurist expects fulfillment to involve: (1) a man; (2) performing great signs in a similar way that great signs were performed in the OT and by Christ in the gospels; (3) who calls down literal fire from literal heaven as was done in the OT; (4) viewed by other men. He then asks the simple question: Is there any reliable historic record of such an event since the time of Johns writing? The obvious answer is, No! Hence this event awaits future fulfillment. It really is that simple!

There is a strong connection between literal interpretation and futurism: The more literal an interpretation that one adopts, the more strongly will he be construed to be a futurist.15 Literal interpretation allows the text to speak for itself:16

Critics frequently misrepresent futurism as if it places its entire emphasis on understanding the book of Revelation as applying to the future: The futurist position especially encounters the difficulty that the book would have had no significant relevance for a first-century readership. [emphasis added]17

This is a major misunderstanding of the futurist position which holds that the early chapters of the book are specifically addressed to the then-existing churches in Asia Minor and fully appreciates the historical setting and contents of these passages. Moreover, futurism concurs with Swete that the events of the book of Revelation are relevant in every age as a great source of blessing and security for persecuted believers:

In the Epistle of the Churches of Vienne and Lyons, written in 177 to their brethren in Asia and Phrygia, which bears many signs of the use of the Apocalypse by the Christian societies of South Gaul during the troubles in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. . . . It is impossible to doubt that the roll which contained St Johns great letter to the parent Churches in Asia was often in the hands of the daughter Churches in Gaul, and perhaps accompanied the confessors to the prisons where they awaited the martyrs crown.18

The mistake being made is constraining the book of Revelation as if it had only a single purpose. No matter which view is taken, if one fails to understand the many purposes of the book, the interpretive result will be the lacking. Preterist Chilton remarks: No Biblical writer ever revealed the future merely for the sake of satisfying curiosity: The goal was always to direct Gods people toward right action in the present. . . . The prophets told of the future only in order to stimulate godly living. [emphasis added]19 If Chilton were correct, then there would be little reason for prophecy to be predictive. The fact is, the prophets gave prophecy for more reasons than merely the stimulation of godly living. This was indeed an important reason, but not the only reason. The many fulfilled prophecies testifying to the identity of Jesus at His First Coming provide an abundant counter example to Chiltons claim.

It is a misrepresentation of the futurist interpretation to assert that it denies the relevance of the text to the first-century readership. This is tantamount to saying that appreciating the prophetic predictions throughout Scripture essentially denies the relevance of the same passages to those who originally received them. The pattern of prophetic passages throughout Scripture is clearly one of both immediate local application and future prediction. Even in cases where there is no immediate local application by way of historical events (e.g., Isa. Isa. 53:1), the passages still contain inestimable worth to the original recipients in setting forth the will of God as well as inspirational value in the sure hope of what God will do in the future (Rom. Rom. 8:24-25). In the Apocalypse, this dual application of prophetic Scripture (both immediate/local and future/remote) is made explicit in the organizational framework set forth by Christ (Rev. Rev. 1:19+) and in the setting off of the seven epistles from the remaining material.

Other criticisms of futurism are manifestly silly. Gregg denies futurists the right to use the analogy of Scripture (Scripture interprets Scripture):

A major feature of the Tribulation expected by futurists is its seven-year duration, divided in the middle by the Antichrists violating a treaty he had made with Israel and setting up an image of himself in the rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Yet none of these elements can be discovered from a literal interpretation of any passage in Revelation. . . . The futurist believes that Revelation Rev. 20:1+ describes a period of world peace and justice with Christ reigning on earth from Jerusalem, though no part of this description can be found in the chapter itself, taken literally. This observation does not mean that this futurist scenario cannot be true. But it must be derived by reading into the passages in Revelation features that are not plainly stated.20

Obviously, care needs to be exercised when connecting passages which seem to have related aspects, but if a good case can be made for a correlation, then the interpreter who fails in this synthesis is failing in his task before God. Chiding futurists who correlate the little horn of Daniel (Dan. Dan. 7:8), the man of sin of Paul (2Th. 2Th. 2:3), and the Beast of Revelation (Rev. Rev. 13:1+) because of obvious and intentional similarities given in Scripture, but providing no sensible or profitable synthesis in its place is a pattern frequently demonstrated by critics. This is the primary reason why futurists can offer a systematic and detailed outline of eschatological events while the other systems fail to provide anything even remotely similar. It almost seems that the critics of futurism dislike the certainty and coherence it offers in its interpretation of prophecy. But if God supernaturally gave the inspired Scriptures through a single author (the Holy Spirit), why shouldnt such coherence and correlation be expected?

To the futurist, the book of Revelation has relevancy to John, to the seven churches of Asia, to the Church throughout history, and to the saints all the way through the Second Coming of Christ and into the eternal state. Now thats relevancy!

The book of Revelation is important to us because it portrays the world as a global village. Entering the twenty-first century, no better expression describes our earth and its people. Besides a mushrooming population, other factors are pushing all humanity together, such as an interlinking economy, jet age transportation, and satellite communications.21

Notes

1 Dr. Tim LaHaye is a noted futurist theologian having published numerous works on prophecy, some of which we draw on in this work. See the bibliography.

2 We can offer our own experience in support of this claim. Having been born-again and taught for five years within a Church which embraced preterism, it was our own careful study of the details of Scripture across the entire span of books which caused us to reject preterism in favor of what we only later came to understand was called futurism.

3 Merrill C. Tenney, Interpreting Revelation (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1957), 139.

4 Thomas Ice, What Is Preterism?, in Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, eds., The End Times Controversy (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 21.

5 There is also a form of extreme futurism in which even the first three chapters of the book of Revelation are seen as yet future. [E. W. Bullinger, Commentary On Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1984, 1935)]

6 Grant R. Osborne, Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002), 20-21.

7 Alan F. Johnson, Revelation: The Expositors Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), 12.

8 In two places, Jerome stated clearly that John was banished under Domitian. First, in his Against Jovinianum (A.D. 393), Jerome wrote that John was a prophet, for he saw in the island of Patmos, to which he had been banished by the Emperor Domitian as a martyr for the Lord, an Apocalypse containing boundless mysteries of the future. Mark Hitchcock, The Stake in the HeartThe A.D. 95 Date of Revelation, in Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, eds., The End Times Controversy (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 135.

9 Thomas Ice, The 70 Weeks of Daniel, in Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, eds., The End Times Controversy (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 350.

10 The early church fathers believed in a literal, thousand-year, earthly reign of Christ because they interpreted the teachings of Revelation in a normal rather than mystical way.Larry V. Crutchfield, Revelation in the New Testament, in Mal Couch, ed., A Bible Handbook to Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001), 25.

11 Isbon T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001), 320.

12 The opposition to the heresy of Montanism, which made great use of the Apocalypse and gave extravagant form to its millennial teaching, caused it to be either rejected or differently interpreted.Ibid., 323.

13 This was the method employed by some of the earliest fathers (e.g., Justin, Irenaeus, Hippolytus), but with the triumph of the allegorical method . . . after Origen and of the amillennial view after Augustine and Ticonius, the futurist method (and chiliasm) was not seen again for over a thousand years.Osborne, Revelation, 20.

14 As we noted earlier, this is one reason why many who are trained in the sciences and engineering tend toward this view of Scripture. Being trained in logic and the analysis of details, we reject the approximate fulfillments and interpretations of the other systems in favor of a God Who fulfills His predictions down to the gnats eyelash.

15 Tenney, Interpreting Revelation, 142.

16 Dispensationalism is actually built on the idea of letting the Bible speak for itself with a normal, literal hermeneutic. If simple rules of grammar and observation are put into place, the Scriptures will begin to make sense, from Genesis to Revelation.Mal Couch, Why is Revelation Important?, in Mal Couch, ed., A Bible Handbook to Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001), 41.

17 Gregory K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999), 47.

18 Henry Barclay Swete, The Apocalypse of St. John (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998, 1906), xciii.

19 David Chilton, The Days of Vengeance (Tyler, TX: Dominion Press, 1987), 27.

20 Steve Gregg, Revelation Four Views: A Parallel Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 41.

21 Couch, Why is Revelation Important?, 17.

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FijiTonga relations – Wikipedia

Posted: December 23, 2016 at 5:10 pm

FijiTonga relations are foreign relations between Fiji and Tonga. These neighbouring countries in the South Pacific have a history of bilateral relations going back several centuries.

Though relations between the two countries had been good since they both became independent in the 1970s, they deteriorated considerably in early 2011.[1]

By the early 13th century, Eastern Fiji(Lau group) was a province of the Tongan empire. The Empire subsequently declined, but Tonga remained an influential neighbour in Fiji affairs. In 1848, Tongan Prince Maafu settled in Lakeba, establishing a new foothold in Eastern Fiji. He was accompanied by Tongan Wesleyan missionaries, who consolidated the earlier introduction of Methodism to Fiji by English Wesleyan missionaries.[2][3] Today, Methodism is the primary religion of indigenous Fijians.[4]

Maafu’s influence in Fiji expanded during the 1850s, threatening Seru Epenisa Cakobau’s attempts to establish himself as king of all Fiji. Ultimately, Maafu and Tonga’s support at the 1855 Battle of Kaba was instrumental in enabling Cakobau to cement his leadership over Fiji, temporarily consolidating the Tongan Prince’s status and role in the country. Tonga’s direct influence faded, however, after Cakobau ceded Fiji to British sovereignty in 1874.[5]

Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama received “cheers and thunderous applause” from the Tongan public when he attended a Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Tonga in October 2007; the crowd’s “enthusiastic reception” of Fiji’s leader was likened to “that accorded to a rock star”[6]Radio Australia noted that he had been “the star of this year’s meeting, for the people of Tonga”,[7] while TVNZ reported that he had been “given a hero’s welcome”.[8]

In terms of inter-governmental relations, Tonga has generally avoided pressuring Fiji’s “interim government” into holding democratic elections. However, Tongan Prime Minister Dr.Feleti Sevele has urged Bainimarama “to produce a credible roadmap to the election according to the Constitution and law of Fiji”.[9]

Tonga’s “soft”[10] approach to Fiji’s unelected government during the regional meeting in October 2007 was in line with the approach chosen by other Pacific Island nations, but contrasted with the much harder stance adopted by Australia and New Zealand.[11] The Tongan government rejected “several […] attempts by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark to lobby for Commodore Bainimarama’s exclusion from the meeting”.[12]

In August 2008, Prime Minister of Tonga, Dr Sevele said at a Pacific Islands Forum meeting [13]

Unfortunately, the Forums relationship with the interim government of Fiji has now deteriorated from the apparent, promising situation at the Forum last year in Tonga, to one of disappointment and of an uncertain future. As Forum Leaders, we are all extremely disappointed at the interim Prime Ministers decision not to attend this Forum meeting. As Chair of last years Forum Meeting in Tonga and Chair of the last 12 months, let me place on record the fact that the commitments that Commodore Bainimarama made at the Leaders Retreat were not forced on him, as has been claimed. He agreed with and accepted the 7-point communiqu on Fiji, and so told all the Leaders present at the Retreat. Sir Michael Somare and I certainly did not pressure him into making those commitments. We, and all the Leaders, were, and are, keen on helping Fiji move forward, but Fiji has to play its due part. The interim Prime Minister has an obligation to explain in person to the Forum Leaders as to why he could not fulfill those commitments, and we were all looking forward to his doing this at this Forum in Niue. That he chose not to do this is most unfortunate and most disappointing.

In May 2009, however, Sevele questioned the purpose of Fiji’s suspension from the Forum (which had taken place on May 2), and suggested it was “pointless” to “ostracise” Fiji. TVNZ described Tonga’s position as “a crack […] in the hard line being taken against Fiji” by the Forum.[10]

In February 2011, Sevele’s successor, Lord Tuivakan, stated that Australia and New Zealand’s pressure on Fiji was counter-productive, and that the more they “bother[ed]” Bainimarama, the more likely he might be to do the opposite of what they sought. He added: “Maybe just go easy and they will come around. What you need to remember is that it is an opportunity for other countries, maybe China will step in. […] There’s a lot of other countries looking in and Fiji’s said ‘We don’t want Australia, we don’t want New Zealand, these are the people that’s going to help us.'”[14]

In December 2005, Fiji welcomed Tonga’s accession to the World Trade Organisation.[15]

In 2001, the Fijian Government banned the import of mutton flaps from Tonga.[16] The Tongan Ministry of Labour said in response on this issue that “Tongas experience with Fiji is an example of the difficulties encountered by small developing nations in protecting their interests”. The Tongan Ministry said this “illustrates the difficulty and huge onus that the multilateral trading system places on small and vulnerable developing countries, which lack the necessary resources, capital and institutional means to fully implement the WTO agreements.” [17]

In August 2007, the Fijian Government called for a review of the Fiji/Tonga Air Services Agreement to allow for increased capacity on the route from 350 to 1000 passengers in each direction.[18][19] By March 2008, a new aviation agreement had been reached. The Fijian Government said [20]

This has been factored into the agreement reached by the two states in March 2008 to increase the seat capacity from 350 to 1000 per week with no restrictions to aircraft types or frequencies and both countries had agreed to this. This new provision will certainly assist or facilitate the movement of tourist between Tonga and Fiji.

Beginning in late 2010, and escalating in early 2011, diplomatic tensions opposed Fiji and Tonga over two partially simultaneous issues. Though they are presented separately here for clarity, they were being referred to simultaneously by May 2011.

Both Fiji and Tonga lay claim to the Minerva Reefs, which lie between the two countries. Historically, the reefs are said to have lain in the fishing grounds of the people of Ono-i-Lau, in Fiji. In 1972, Tonga annexed the reefs, which had not formally been claimed by any State, but Fiji has not recognised the annexation, and has stated it considers the reefs to lie within its territory. In late 2010, Fiji responded to news that Tonga had begun construction of a lighthouse on one reef, by saying Fiji reserved the right to take any means necessary to preserve its territorial integrity.[21]

In February 2011 the Fiji government said there was “no official dispute” between the two countries on the issue, but that officials from the two sides were discussing the matter of the reefs’ ownership and usage. A Fiji government official added: “The government of Fiji reiterates its position, that as far as its concerned Minerva Reef is a reef. And as such it lies within the economic, exclusive economic zone of Fiji. And the government of Fiji reserves its right within its directory.”[22] Fiji Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Solo Mara clarified that there was no “conflict”, but merely “overlapping claims” on the countries’ maritime boundary, in the context of “claims for an extended continental shelf beyond the 200 mile Exclusive Economy Zone – as provided for under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea”. Officials from the two countries would hold discussions to determine their maritime boundary.[23]

In late May 2011, during the tension over the Tevita Mara affair (see below), “Fiji navy vessels visited Minerva and ordered New Zealand bound yachts out of the lagoon. They then destroyed navigation beacons” which had been set up by Tonga. The Tongan government issued a statement in protest.[24] Fijis Deputy Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs Sila Balawa subsequently told the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation that Tonga remained “one of Fijis closest friends”, and that, although Fiji clearly owned the reef as it was located within the countrys exclusive economic zone, Fiji hoped the disagreement would be resolved through “peaceful dialogue”.[25]

In early June, two Tongan Navy ships were sent to the Reef to replace navigational beacons destroyed by the Fijians, and to reassert Tonga’s claim to the territory. A Fijian Navy ship in the vicinity reportedly withdrew as the Tongans approached, leading New Zealand’s One News to comment that a military conflict between the two countries had narrowly been averted.[26][27] A press release from the Tongan government described Fiji’s destruction of Tongan navigational beacons as “an act of vandalism” posing “real danger to international shipping”, adding that Tonga and “the Fijian military junta” could and should resolve their territorial dispute “under International law for the settlement of disputes between civilized societies”.[28] Simultaneously The People’s Daily, citing “Fiji intelligence sources”, reported on June 13 that “three Fijian naval ships” were “on their way to Minerva Reef” to confront the two Tongan navy ships there.[29]

In May 2011, Lieutenant-Colonel Tevita Mara, a former Fiji army officer, who had just been charged with plotting an attempt to overthrow Bainimarama, fled Fiji by boat, and was picked up by a Tongan patrol boat and taken to Tonga. The Tongan authorities issued a statement saying they had picked him up after responding to a distress signal, and that in Nuku’alofa “arrangements have been made for his accommodation by the royal household office in deference to his rank”. Bainimarama issued a statement saying the Royal Tongan Navy ship had entered Fijian territorial waters without authorisation to carry out an “illegal extraction” of the wanted man; he added that his government took “strong exception to such breaches of Fiji’s sovereignty”. He announced he would issue a formal protest to Tongan Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano, and would seek Mara’s extradition back to Fiji to face charges.[30] Tui’vakano replied that Tonga’s independent judiciary would hear Fiji’s case for extradition, without interference from the Tongan government, and added that Tonga had no wish to interfere in Fiji’s domestic affairs.[31]

Akilisi Pohiva, leader of the Tongan opposition, described the entry of a Tongan Navy vessel into Fiji waters to pick up a fugitive as a clear breach of relations between the two countries, but added that it was justifiable on humanitarian grounds.[32]

On May 21, four days after the first reports on the incident, the Tongan government issued a statement saying it had received no request for Mara’s extradition, only a note from the Fijian authorities containing what it called “unsubstantiated assertions” and “a personal statement by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama”.[33] Subsequently, having acknowledged receipt of an extradition request, the Tongan government indicated “it will have to go through the proper channels for legal advice before we can proceed any further”; the authorities would not interfere with the judicial process. In early June, however, the authorities granted Mara Tongan citizenship, along with a passport.[34]

Radio Australia reported that relations between the two countries has “soured dramatically” as a result of the incident.[35]

On June 10 as Tongan Navy vessels moved to occupy the Minerva Reef, an unsigned press statement on the website of the Fiji government denounced “the presence of the Tongan Navy boats within Fijis EEZ at Minerva Reef”, the “issue of Tongan passport” to Mara and “the Tongan Governments inaction on extradition papers”, describing them as “a web of deceit, collusion and a complete lack of disregard [sic] of legal extradition processes”. Blaming Australia and New Zealand, the statement said “the Tongans as seen with their presence at the Minerva Reef will be manipulated through offerings of gifts and aid to try and turn up the ante”, adding: “As far as Fiji is concerned there is no Mara or Tonga/Fiji situation. It is a Rudd and McCully spreading their wings to save face situation”, in reference to Australian and New Zealand Foreign Affairs Ministers Kevin Rudd and Murray McCully.[36]Stuff.co.nz described the statement as an “unprecedented attack” on New Zealand, Tonga and Australia, remarking: “The statement on the website is so completely out of kilter with previous Fiji Government statements that it raises questions over who now is in control in Suva.”[37]

In late June, the Tongan government formally informed the Fiji government that Tongan law made it impossible to extradite Mara.[38]

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FijiTonga relations – Wikipedia

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Ron Paul Takes One Electoral College Vote from Trump

Posted: at 4:43 pm

Ron Paul got an electoral vote today. (Getty)

With all the twists and turns in the election, nothing should surprise anyone. Hillary Clinton lost one electoral vote to the Native American activist Faith Spotted Eagle, and in Texas, Donald Trump lost one electoral college vote to Ron Paul.

Ron Paul was a big favorite in 2012, with many Republicans feeling like he was unfairly treated during the Republican primary, much like Democrats felt about Bernie Sanders this year. Well, it looks like someone still feels that way.

It wasnt immediately clear which person cast a vote in Texas for Ron Paul. But when the results were announced, out of 38 electoral votes, only 36 went to Trump. One went to John Kasich (as Chris Suprun had promised he would do.) And one went to Ron Paul.Later, Sean Walsh of the Statesman reported that the vote came from Bill Greene of CD 34.

Some Libertarians lamented Ron Pauls not runningas Libertarian in this race, thinking that he might have done even better than Gary Johnson considering the political climate of this election.

The reactions on Twitter to the news were enthusiastic:

To see a breakdown of electoral votes in all states, please see our story below.

What are the results of the electoral college election? Trump has received the 270 votes he needs. See a state-by-state count as they are announced here.

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Tyler Cowen: Ahoy, young libertarian! Seasteading could …

Posted: December 11, 2016 at 7:54 am

Following the election of Donald Trump, some Americans are asking whether they should move to Canada. Yet a more radical idea is re-emerging as a vehicle for political liberty, namely seasteading. Thats the founding of new and separate governance units on previously unoccupied territory, possibly on the open seas.

Imagine, for instance, autonomously governed sea platforms, with a limited number of citizens selling health and financial services to the rest of the world. Advances in robotics and artificial intelligence might make the construction and settlement of such institutions more practical than it seemed 15 years ago.

Although seasteading is sometimes viewed as an extension of self-indulgent Silicon Valley utopianism, we should not dismiss the idea too quickly. Variants on seasteading led to the founding of the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with the caveat that conquest was involved, as these territories were not unsettled at the time. Circa 2016, there is a potential seasteading experiment due in French Polynesia. The melting of the Arctic ice may open up new areas for human settlement. Chinese construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea raises the prospect that the private sector, or a more liberty-oriented government, might someday do the same. Along more speculative lines, there is talk about someday colonizing Mars or even Titan, a moon of Saturn.

On the intellectual front, a book about seasteading, by Joe Quirk and Patri Friedman, is due out in March of 2017.

Seasteading obviously faces significant obstacles. The eventual constraint is probably not technology in the absolute sense, but whether there is enough economic motive to forsake the benefits of densely populated human settlements and the protection of traditional nation-states. Many nations have effective corporate tax rates in the 10- to 20-per cent range, which doesnt seem confiscatory enough to take to the high seas for economic motives alone.

Furthermore, current outposts such as Dubai, Singapore and the Cayman Islands offer varied legal and regulatory environments for doing business, in addition to the comforts of landlubber society. More and more foreign businesses are incorporating in Delaware to enjoy the benefits of American law. So, for all the inefficiencies and petty tyrannies of the modern world, seasteading faces pretty stiff competition.

Counterintuitively, I see the greatest promise for seasteading as a path toward more rather than less human companionship.

It is sometimes forgotten there is a good deal of de facto seasteading today, in the form of cruise ships. They sail in international waters, are owned by private corporations and the law on board is generated by contract and governed by private arbitration. Plenty of cruise lines and ships compete for business in a relatively unregulated environment, with global business approaching $40 billion a year, in the range of the gross domestic product of countries such as Ghana, Serbia or Turkmenistan.

One lesson of current seasteading is that it is not much of a vehicle for political liberty. To be sure, customers choose their cruise lines freely. (You might opt for the forthcoming Donald Trump Victory Cruise.) Still, the actual substance of most cruise contracts brings little democratic participation or libertarian autonomy on the high seas. The cruise companies dont hesitate to regulate passenger behaviour for the good of the broader enterprise.

The second and more important lesson is that some of the elderly have started living on cruise ships full-time. A good assisted-living facility might cost $80,000 a year in the U.S., more than many year-long cruises. (Cruising could also be cheaper than living in an expensive neighbourhood.) Furthermore, the cruise offers regular contact with other passengers and also the crew, and the lower average age means that fewer of ones friends and acquaintances are passing away. The weather may be better, and there is the option of going onshore to visit relatives and go shopping.

The cruise ship removes the elderly from full-service hospitals, but on the plus side, regular social contact is good for health, passengers are watched much of the time and there is a doctor minutes away. Better health and human companionship could be major motives for this form of seasteading. I could imagine many more of the elderly going this route in the future, and some cruise lines already are offering regular residences on board.

The goal of this seasteading enterprise is to pack people more tightly together rather than to open up broad new vistas for a Wild West kind of settlement. The proprietors make physical space more scarce, not less, to induce better clustering. So seasteading does have a future, but it is to join and build a new and crowded communitarian project, not to get away from one. Cowen is a Bloomberg View columnist. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the blog Marginal Revolution. His books include Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation.

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Jeff Bewkes: ‘Real threat’ to First Amendment from Democrats …

Posted: December 7, 2016 at 7:58 am

Jeff Bewkes. Screenshot/Business Insider

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes told Business Insider’s Henry Blodget on Tuesday that the “real threat” to the First Amendment did not come from President-elect Donald Trump during the campaign, but rather from the Democratic Party.

Bewkes was speaking at Business Insider’s annual IGNITION conference, during which he was asked about Trump’s frequent campaign threats to open up libel laws.

Trump has also set his sights on Bewkes’ own media property, CNN, which he consistently ridiculed along the campaign trail and even after Election Day.

“Do you worry about that at all?” Blodget asked.

Bewkes said he didn’t “think that’s a serious thing,” adding that “we should all worry” if someone were seeking to change the First Amendment. He suggested that came from the Democratic Party, which “had a campaign plank to change the First Amendment, and they were doing it in the guise of campaign finance reform.”

“And that was worrying me more,” Bewkes said. “The press tends to miss that because they tend to lean that way, and therefore they were supporting what they were viewing I think overly charitably as something in cleaning up money in politics when in fact what it would do is restrain multiple voices.”

Democrats, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, vowed to engage in campaign finance reform following the election a cause that has been bolstered in recent years by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The 2010 ruling deemed that corporations and labor unions were people who could flex First Amendment rights in contributing to campaigns, and it led to the advent of so-called super PACs.

“So I thought the real threat to the First Amendment came from the Democrats’ side more,” Bewkes said. “There’s not going to be a serious effort on the Republican side.”

Watch the whole Bewkes interview right here, scroll to 1:05:45.

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Trump, NATO chief pledge alliance’s ‘enduring importance’ in …

Posted: November 21, 2016 at 11:03 am

By Robin Emmott | BRUSSELS

BRUSSELS U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg agreed on Friday on the Western alliance’s “enduring importance”, NATO said, striving to reassure Europe that Washington will remain committed to its security.

Trump questioned during his election campaign whether the United States should protect allies seen as spending too little on their defense, raising fears that he could withdraw funding for NATO at a time of heightened tensions with Russia.

“The president-elect and the secretary general both underlined NATO’s enduring importance and discussed how NATO is adaptingto the new security environment, including to counter the threat of terrorism,” NATO said in a statement after a phone conversation between Trump and Stoltenberg.

There was no immediate comment from Trump’s side.

The NATO statement said the Republican Trump, who will succeed Democratic President Barack Obama on Jan. 20, is expected in Brussels for a NATO summit next year.

The two leaders also addressed defense spending and agreed that “progress has been made on fairer burden-sharing, but that there is more to do” – underlining the fact that the United States spends far more on defense than Europe does.

After the break-up of the Soviet Union a quarter of a century ago, NATO’s European members cut defense spending to historic lows, leaving the United States to make up around three quarters of the alliance’s military expenditure.

A more assertive Russia under President Vladimir Putin has begun to change the picture and European governments are again spending more.

FEW MEET DEFENSE SPENDING TARGET

But Britain, Poland, Greece and Estonia are the only European nations to meet a NATO goal of spending at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense. Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, spends far less than 2 percent of its GDP on defense.

Speaking before the phone call, Stoltenberg told a conference in Brussels that European defense spending was one of his top priorities and that he had raised it with every NATO member, winning support from defense ministers.

He said the main obstacle was convincing the respective finance ministers who have the keys to treasuries.

“You have to increase defense spending when tensions go up,” Stoltenberg said, citing as evidence failing states in North and West Africa, the threat of Islamist militants and Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s peninsula of Crimea.

“Stop the cuts and gradually increase (defense spending) to reach 2 percent (of economic output) is a very robust message. We have started to move although there is a very long way to go. I am certain Trump will make this his top priority (for NATO).”

Trump’s campaign suggestion of making U.S. defense of its European allies conditional appeared to question the central tenet of NATO – namely that an armed attack against one ally is an attack against all.

Stoltenberg has said he expects an overall 3 percent real increase in European defense spending in 2016. He said on Friday that if all European allies and Canada reached the 2 percent spending target, it would yield an extra $100 billion for NATO.

European Council President Donald Tusk also spoke to Trump by phone on Friday. An EU source said Tusk emphasized the importance of transatlantic cooperation, including on Ukraine, where Russia has supported separatist rebels against government forces in the east of the former Soviet republic.

Trump’s promise to improve Washington’s chilly relations with Russia’s Putin have caused jitters within the EU, particularly eastern member states like Poland and the Baltics.

(Additional reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, editing by Mark Heinrich)

MOSCOW Moscow will deploy S-400 surface-to-air missiles and nuclear-capable Iskander systems in the exclave of Kaliningrad in retaliation for NATO deployments, a senior pro-Kremlin lawmaker was quoted as saying on Monday.

TAL AFAR AIR BASE, Iraq Iraqi Shi’ite militias were massing troops on Monday to cut remaining supply routes to Mosul, Islamic State’s last major stronghold in Iraq, closing in on the road that links the Syrian and Iraqi parts of its self-declared caliphate.

VATICAN CITY Pope Francis on Monday extended indefinitely to all Roman Catholic priests the power to forgive abortion, a right previously reserved for bishops or special confessors in most parts of the world.

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Finally, Politically Incorrect Women Are Coming Out of the …

Posted: at 10:56 am

Finally, Politically Incorrect Women Are Coming Out of the Closet

I feel a strange sort of kinship with Donald Trump: my entire writing career has been built on people who support me privately, but not in public.

Ill never forget the time I found a Southwest Airlines stewardess reading one of my books. I had walked to the bathroom in the back of the plane, only to find it occupied. So I found myself standing in the aisle, sandwiched between two flight attendants on my right who were busying themselves with drinks, and one on my left who was crouched down in a corner.

I happened to look down, and I could see the distinct green outline of The Flipside of Feminism.

I smiled, and asked her: Is that a good book?

She looked up as though shed been caught doing something wrong. When I told her I am the author of the book, she looked at me for a few moments and then checked the photo on the book jacket. Then she smiled from ear to ear and instantly relaxed. She told me:

So she reads it in private, she said.

That exchange is a perfect example of political correctness — the idea that theres a right way to think and a wrong way to think — run amok. And last week Donald J. Trump blasted this phenomenon wide open.

The 2016 election proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our country is divided into two groups: the elite, most of whom are liberal-minded and thus think the right way, and everyday folks, most of whom are right-leaning and thus think the wrong way.

This narrative has been used to silence women.

In The misogyny apocalypse, Amanda Marcotte wrote the following in response to the election results:

Marcotte’s rhetoric, which is promulgated throughout the country on a regular basis, is precisely the reason that attendant was reading my book in private. If she dared show the world she doesnt subscribe to Marcottes feminist ideology, shed be shamed.

https://pjmedia.com/blog/finally-politically-incorrect-women-are-coming-out-of-the-closet/

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Ron Paul Questions if Trump Will Drain the Swamp | Fox Business

Posted: at 10:56 am

President-elect Donald Trumps Election Day victory was advanced by his plan for tax cuts, his foreign policy outline and his calls to drain the swamp. Former Rep. Ron Paul, (R-Texas), weighed in on whether he is happy with the election results and Trumps presidential agenda.

Ill believe it when I see it.And I think theres going to be some things improved, but we still have a long way to go, Paul told the FOX Business Networks Stuart Varney.

Paul is concerned that Trumps policies would add to the U.S. debt.

I think Republicans have a pretty good record of not being bashful with spending money, especially if they have the House and the Senate and the presidency.And we know that Trump has not been bashful about spending money, so well see.

Paul believes Trumps victory was inspired in part by the fact that Americans felt they were not being heard when they warned of the impact of the inflationary economic environment on their wallets.

I think one of the reasons that Trump did so well is that people are suffering, they dont have good jobs, but the cost of living is going up and nobody will listen to them. Nobody will believe it and they say, oh, there is no inflation so you dont get a cost of living increase. So, I think that is the problem.

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When asked if he voted for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, Paul responded, No, I did not vote for him, Paul continued, But I did not vote for Donald Trump either.

When asked if he put his own name down as a write-in candidate, Paul responded, Maybe the last name was right.

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Ron Paul Reveals Hit List Of Alleged Fake News Journalists …

Posted: at 10:56 am

Former congressman Ron Paul revealed a list of fake news journalists he claims are responsible for bogus wars and lies about Hillary Clintons chances of winning the election. Journalists from CNN, the New York Times, and the Guardian are included.

This list contains the culprits who told us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and lied us into multiple bogus wars,according to a report on his website,Ron Paul Liberty Report. Paul claims the list is sourced andholds a lot more waterthan a list previously released byMelissa Zimdars, who is described on Pauls website asa leftist feminist professor.

These are the news sources that told us if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,he said.They told us that Hillary Clinton had a 98% of winning the election. They tell us in a never-ending loop that The economy is in great shape!

Pauls list includes the full names of thefake newsjournalists as well as the publications they write for, with what appears to be hyperlinks to where the allegations are sourced from. In most cases, this is WikiLeaks, but none of the hyperlinks are working at present, leaving the exact sources of the list unknown.

CNN is Pauls biggest alleged culprit, with nine entries, followed by the NY Times and MSNBC, with six each. The NY Times has recently come under fire from President-elect Donald Trump, who accuses them of beingtotally wrongon news regarding his transition team, while describing them asfailing.

The publication hit back, however, saying their business has increased since his election, with a surge in new subscriptions.

CNNs Wolf Blitzer is also amongst those named on the list. In an email from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) released byWikiLeaks, the DNC staff discusses sending questions to CNN for an interview with Donald Trump.

Also listed is NY Times journalist Maggie Haberman, whom leaked emails showed working closely with Clintons campaign to present the Democratic candidate in a favorable light.

So-called fake news has been recently attacked by US President Barack Obama, who claimed that false news shared online may have played a role in Donald Trumps victory in the US presidential election.

Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg has now said that the social media site may begin entrusting third parties with filtering the news.

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