Caribbean Regional Seminar on Implementation of Second International Decade for Eradication of Colonialism Opens in Saint Kitts and Nevis

13 May 2009
GA/COL/3187

Caribbean Regional Seminar on Implementation of Second International Decade for Eradication of Colonialism Opens in Saint Kitts and Nevis

13 May 2009
General Assembly
GA/COL/3187
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

CARIBBEAN REGIONAL SEMINAR ON IMPLEMENTATION OF SECOND INTERNATIONAL DECADE

 

FOR ERADICATION OF COLONIALISM OPENS IN SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

 

Secretary-General Urges Joint Efforts to Complete Decolonization Process

(Received from a UN Information Officer.)

SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS, 12 May -- “As we approach the end of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, I urge you to continue working together to find solutions for the completion of the decolonization process, with the aim of de-listing additional Territories,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message to the Caribbean Regional Seminar on the Implementation of the Decade, which opened in Saint Kitts and Nevis today.

The three-day event was organized by the General Assembly’s Special Committee of 24 on Decolonization (formally known as the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples), in cooperation with the Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The Secretary-General, in a message delivered by Michael M. Streitz, Senior Political Affairs Officer, Decolonization Unit, Department of Political Affairs, commended the Special Committee for deciding to look at the theme of “Challenges and Opportunities in the Process of Decolonization in Today’s World”, citing the global economic crisis and climate change among today’s threats to the Territories’ economies.

“The right to self-determination must be taken into proper account as we explore how to accelerate the decolonization process for the remaining 16 Territories under the Committee’s purview,” he continued, also commenting on the need for close cooperation between the Non-Self-Governing Territories, the Administering Powers and the Special Committee.  The interests of the Territories’ peoples must be at the heart of efforts to discharge the Special Committee’s mandate.

He said he counted on the Administering Powers to discharge their obligations in a manner that promoted the well-being of the inhabitants of the Territories within their responsibility.  The United Nations system would continue to offer assistance to the Non-Self-Governing Territories as appropriate, in areas such as economic and social development, environmental sustainability, health care, and good governance.

Opening the Seminar, Chairman of the Special Committee, R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa ( Indonesia) pointed to the strong symbolic significance of the event, which was being held in the month during which the Special Committee observed the week of solidarity with the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories.  He also stressed the role of the Seminar as the forum where views could be exchanged in an informal and interactive manner.  At the end of the Second Decade, the event had a further fundamental importance for the Special Committee to seek fresh and innovative ideas and recommendations to implement the mandate entrusted to it by the Assembly.

Chosen as a logical follow-up to last year’s Pacific Seminar in Indonesia, the theme of challenges and opportunities in the process of decolonization bore an important message regarding the need to contemplate how to meet contemporary challenges, consistent with the United Nations and Committee of 24 core principles and resolutions on decolonization, he said.  In addition to taking a closer look at the decolonization process in the Caribbean, the Seminar aimed to seek ways to enhance the Special Committee’s relevance to the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, within the dynamics of a changing world.

He said he looked forward to hearing the participants’ views on how current global challenges, such as climate change and the global economic and food crises, might affect the path towards decolonization.  The Seminar also sought to explore new opportunities in connection with improved access to education and information technology, as well as improved understanding of constitutional rights.

Welcoming the participants on behalf of the host country, Astona Browne, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of National Security, Immigration and Foreign Affairs of Saint Kitts and Nevis, said that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) continued to regard the decolonization process of the remaining Territories as fundamental to regional integration.  Indeed, seven of the remaining 16 listed Non-Self-Governing Territories were in the Caribbean.  CARICOM had endeavoured to include them in its regional institutions, such as the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Caribbean Development Bank and the United Nations Caribbean Development and Co-operation Committee.  A number of Territories also enjoyed formal status with several United Nations bodies.  The Territories’ continued integration in regional and international institutions served to further inform their decision on self-determination.

She also mentioned internal reforms in several Caribbean Non-Self-Governing Territories, which had sought to modernize aspects of their respective dependency arrangements, although those reforms were not intended to bring the dependency status to an end.  Thus, the attainment of full self-determination for those Territories would remain in sharp focus. Some held the view that the issue of implementation remained the “Achilles heel” of the decolonization process, especially in light of the Caribbean-inspired Plan of Implementation of the Decolonization Mandate, which had been endorsed by the Assembly in 2006, but had not been fully operationalized.  She had no doubt that expert analyses and robust work plans, in addition to events like the Seminar, would guide the work at hand and ultimately produce the desired outcome.

Saint Kitts and Nevis, along with its Caribbean colleagues, continued to monitor the situation in the Turks and Caicos Islands with much interest, she added.  The CARICOM position on that matter called for deeper reflection by all involved in order to arrive at a solution that will minimize constitutional disruption.  Therefore, the regional Seminar in Saint Kitts and Nevis should be regarded as a mechanism to devise recommendations on the way forward to ensure that the right to self-determination was realized by the people of all the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories, so that their people could achieve full political equality consistent with recognized international standards. 

In his keynote address, Mr. Natalegawa focused on the dynamics of today’s changing world, means of strengthening cooperation with Administering Powers, and the role of the Special Committee in facilitating enhanced outreach to the people of Non-Self-Governing Territories, as well as their participation in the United Nations decolonization process.

Two meetings that followed the opening session focused on an issue of particular relevance to the region -- the challenges and opportunities in the process of decolonization of the Caribbean Non-Self-Governing Territories, which included Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.

Statement by Chairman

In his keynote address, Special Committee Chairman Mr. NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia) reiterated the need to approach each case of decolonization with an open mind, to build on the available options and to bring about a pragmatic, results-oriented evolution of positions to help move the decolonization process forward.  However, it was not for the Special Committee alone to pursue that approach; it required active involvement of all stakeholders, particularly the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, and the meaningful cooperation of the Administering Powers.  For its part, the Special Committee reaffirmed its commitment to genuine and constructive dialogue with all stakeholders, including the Administering Powers. 

The Special Committee’s efforts to speed up the process of decolonization included holding regional seminars; commissioning publications and information material; analysis of the situation concerning each Non-Self-Governing Territory; and recommendations to the international community in annual decisions.  “While it may be true that some of our deliberations in the past years could have been more in-depth, some working papers more illuminating, and some resolutions more action-oriented, I believe it is still fair to say that the Special Committee has nevertheless squarely succeeded in keeping decolonization on the international agenda,” he said.  “And yet, we still have to find a way to de-list the next Non-Self-Governing Territory.

Today’s challenges required timely and tangible support for those in need, he continued.  The issues that affected many of the Non-Self-Governing Territories included the turmoil in financial markets and institutions; growing unemployment and reduced prosperity as a result of economic recession; food and energy security; access to external trade; good governance; population growth; climate change and environmental degradation; and potential health crises.  In the face of a changing world, the Special Committee should examine how it could play a more supportive role for the benefit of the peoples of the Territories, on a case-by-case basis and in line with its mandate.  It needed to aim at encouraging enhanced capacity for self-governance, which would help usher in decolonization.

He also emphasized the role of various components of the United Nations system, as well as regional and international entities.  Annual reports of United Nations specialized agencies, as well as the Special Committee’s informational outreach, including through the United Nations website on decolonization, could be informative and helpful.  United Nations Regional Commissions, such as the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), as well as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), could provide or facilitate concrete technical cooperation projects in support of Non-Self-Governing Territories’ sustainable development.  In that connection, he recalled that last year the Cayman Islands had become a new associate member of ECLAC, joining the other five Non-Self-Governing Territories from the Caribbean.

Continuing, he cited positive developments in Tokelau as a clear example of how the Special Committee’s strong partnership with the people of the Territory and New Zealand as the Administering Power was beneficial for all parties.  It allowed the Special Committee to objectively assess the situation on the ground.  In turn, the Special Committee could provide the wider United Nations membership with well-informed recommendations in support of Tokelau’s decolonization process, at a pace that its people were comfortable with.

In other Territories, overall progress during the Second Decade had been rather limited, owing in part to limited cooperation by the Administering Powers, he said.  As exemplified by the case of Tokelau and New Zealand, enhanced cooperation would benefit not only the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories and the Special Committee, but the Administering Powers themselves.  He hoped that sooner rather than later all Administering Powers would seek to fulfil their Charter obligations and involve themselves actively in facilitating decolonization.  The Special Committee would continue its informal dialogue with the Administering Powers to discuss how best to advance de-listing.  It encouraged strengthened dialogue between Administering Powers and territorial Governments, particularly to address dynamics in a Territory’s internal governance.  In that context, and with regard to developments in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Special Committee would encourage the territorial Government and the Administering Power to work together to find a satisfactory solution.

Sharing some findings of this year’s working papers, which had been prepared by the Secretariat, he said opportunities remained for the parties concerned to build on the completed or ongoing internal constitutional review in several United Kingdom- and United States-administered Territories, or to build on the Nouméa Accord process in New Caledonia, where France was the Administering Power.  For example, with regard to the British Virgin Islands, there was a sense that after the successful conclusion of internal constitutional modernization, the Territory might be considered a suitable case for de-listing.  After years of constitution-related discussions, the key stakeholders, civil society and the population at large might be sufficiently sensitized and informed about relevant self-determination issues.

Internal constitutional reviews in various Non-Self-Governing Territories often raised status-related questions, he said.  The Special Committee continued to observe closely those developments, including in United States-administered American Samoa and the United States Virgin Islands.  In due course, internal constitutional modernization was also expected to be completed in Anguilla,Cayman Islands, andMontserrat, which were administered by the United Kingdom and had been actively considering constitutional and status-related issues for some time.  In any case, the Special Committee would need to be assured that the people concerned were, in fact, on a path to self-determination.  The international community had to be satisfied that the people of the Territories were in a position to express their will in a free and unequivocal manner.

Having outlined the Special Committee’s work to facilitate outreach to the peoples of the Territories, he said that with growing availability of information in electronic form around the world, including the results of the Committee of 24’s work, it was hard to make a convincing case that there existed a so-called “information deficit” on the subject of decolonization and self-determination among Non-Self-Governing Territories.  “Our task now is to explore new and innovative means that can complement our traditional efforts,” he said, adding, “Our common quest is to make the work of the Special Committee more relevant to the 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories under its purview”.

Challenges and Opportunities in Decolonization Process in the Caribbean

Opening the discussion, LOLITA DAVIS-RICHARDSON, Representative of the Chief Minister of Anguilla, said that the international community seemed to have come to the conclusion that remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories had no desire for decolonization.  In the case of Anguilla, that was certainly not correct.  Another challenge was that the Administering Power, the United Kingdom, was attempting to portray constitutional reviews in the Territories it administered as initiatives for decolonization.  She described the role of the British-appointed Attorney-General in Anguilla and spoke about what she saw as the Administering Power’s disregard for the Territory’s identity and culture.  For instance, abortion had been legalized without any discussion with the people of Anguilla; there was no law commission; the education system had been systematically destroyed; and there were hardly any recreational facilities for the young people.  Foreigners were brought in and given jobs, including in the tourism industry.  Due to the lack of education and training, there were indications that unemployed young Anguillans were turning to such undesirable behaviours as drugs and alcohol.

Brought to Anguilla as slaves, the people of the island had once been regarded as property, and in the mind of colonial administrators that notion seemed hard to shake off, she continued.  Having decided that Anguilla’s Constitution needed to be modernized, the United Kingdom wanted to dictate its terms.  However, the people of the Territory had the right to select their constitutional status, and colonialism was no longer acceptable.  Anguillans demanded the right to constitutionally advance to full internal self-government in a status of association with another independent country.

WALTON BROWN, JR., Representative of the Premier of Bermuda, said that a full measure of self-determination had not been achieved in Bermuda.  As a result of a boycott, the outcome of the 1995 referendum could not be considered a legitimate decision by the people of the Territory.  A set of criteria needed to be in place prior to making a decision on de-listing, including the need for an explicit decision by the Territory for a particular constitutional option, as well as the requirement for the population of an administered Territory to have full political rights.  Since 1999, there had been a devolution of power in the Overseas Territories, including in Bermuda, back to the Administering Power.  The Government of the United Kingdom should adhere to its obligations under the United Nations Charter to move the colonies to self-government.

He also had concerns regarding the Territories’ ability to make a free decision regarding the Constitution.  There had been some attempts by the United Kingdom to insist on the superiority of a referendum, but the matter was for the people of Bermuda to decide.  On the granting of full British citizenship to all people of the Overseas Territories, he said that that decision was an extension of a privilege to individuals.  It did not alter the constitutional relationship between the Administering Power and the Territory.

He also spoke about the challenges to Bermuda’s financial services sector, where the United Kingdom sought to ensure adherence to international standards.  “We manage our affairs very well, we have a track record of success and prudence in the management of our financial services sector,” he said, expressing concern that the United Kingdom sought to assert its power in that area.  The reference to colonies had changed over the years to dependent Territories and later to Overseas Territories.  However, the change in the name did not change the relationship of dominance and subordination.  He asked the Special Committee to be actively engaged with Non-Self-Governing Territories and Administering Powers to find a genuine decision on self-government. 

“Not one man, not one woman, not one child of the British Virgin Islands wants to live in a country that is a colony,” said VERNON MALONE, Representative of the Premier of the British Virgin Islands.  However, before seeking to pursue the goal of independence, the main focus should be on achieving a sound economy.  He shared the previous speaker’s concern on the issue of citizenship and believed that the United Kingdom Government needed to look at some other serious issues, as well.  For instance, an “at-large” system had been introduced in the British Virgin Islands some years ago, under which each voter would have four “at large” votes in addition to their constituency vote.  However, there had been no effort by the United Kingdom to explain how the system would work and how it should operate in tandem with the district system.

Another area of grave concern to his Government and people related to the fact that political appointments, dismissals, promotion and discipline were in the hands of the Governor, he continued.  “What happens if you have a Governor who is not cooperating with elected members?” he asked.  The situation made it difficult for the elected members to carry out their responsibilities to the people.  Serious consideration should be given to addressing that issue.

LOWELL LEWIS, Chief Minister of Montserrat, related the Territory’s unique experience as the only non-independent full founder member of CARICOM and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, and said that Montserrat expected the United Kingdom to fulfil its responsibility to ensure good governance in its Territories, while preparing them for eventual self-determination.  It was with that in mind that Montserrat was working to enact legislation for integrity in public life and modernizing its Constitution.  It would be up to the people of Montserrat to decide when to make the next step, but some believed that it was natural for the people to aspire to political maturity and administrative capacity to interact with their regional partners in an equal way.   Montserrat should now embark on a programme and timetable to achieve that by 2015.

The global financial crisis had “exposed vulnerable developing countries and colonies to the consequences of inappropriate financial practices in the mother countries and colonial homelands,” he said.  There was a need for a more equitable share of the stimulus and rescue packages to developing countries and colonies.  He also insisted on Montserrat’s fundamental right to be governed “by those we elect”.   Montserrat had no desire to be removed from the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories until it became self-governing.

He also recalled his previous recommendation that the United Nations find means of enforcing all of its requirements and that the remaining colonies be given the option of placing themselves under the care of the United Nations until they could become fully self-governing States.  Perhaps the first step should be the transfer of administration of European Overseas Territories that wished to participate, to a European Union Overseas Territories department, which could become the nucleus of a United Nations Territories unit.  Territories should also be assisted in establishing programmes for achieving political maturity, administrative capacity and economic sustainability, where possible, through regional integration.  Where such assistance was not forthcoming from the United Kingdom, islands like Montserrat should be given an opportunity to seek direct assistance from the United Nations to move into a fully self-governing State.  The process of constitutional modernization must continue, preferably retaining the special relationships that currently existed between Administering Powers and their previous colonies.  Lastly, it would be necessary to extend the Special Committee’s mandate in connection with the Decade, in order that the fundamental rights of the peoples of Non-Self Governing Territories were respected.

GALMO WILLIAMS, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, said that having resigned as Minister of Home Affairs, he had been elected the new Leader of the Progressive National Party (PNP) in February.  He had taken the oath as the Premier following the resignation of Michael Misick on 25 March.  The fact that the people of Turks and Caicos had not only had the audacity to remove a popular, politically savvy Premier, but also to reject a highly regarded, but politically damaged Deputy Premier, was evidence of an intention to insist upon the rule of law.  In the process of decolonization, it was important to address the economic, political and social needs.  It was also important to empower the people, particularly at a time of global economic meltdown.  In that connection, he stressed the importance of generating incomes, which would allow people to retain their control over development, thereby giving them an important voice in the decolonization process.  Regionally, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) had been a key partner to countries who sought to advance their people economically, including his own.

Continuing, he called the United Kingdom’s recent order to suspend the Constitution of the Turks and Caicos Islands “completely Draconian”.  One of the obligations and responsibilities of the British Government was to prepare its colonies for eventual independence, allowing a nation and its people to determine its own destiny.  A severe blow had been dealt to achieving that goal.  The United Kingdom had not consulted the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands on the proposed suspension of the Constitution, and he called on the Special Committee to urge the Administering Power to initiate a referendum or a general poll on the wishes of the people in that regard.  The democratically-elected Government should not be displaced and the will of the people should not be silenced.

His Government had recently passed legislation on the Integrity Commission, which was seeking to strengthen accountability and transparency, not only of elected officials, but also of those at senior levels in the civil service, he said.  With the support of the United Nations, the Government must also work to ensure that elections continued to be free and fair.  His Government was proud of its efforts to improve education and health care, which it saw as progress towards full self-governance.  His country might be challenged in its current state, but he called upon the participants to make representations on behalf of the Turks and Caicos Islands and its people.  “We have a democracy that is still alive and a Government that is capable of running the affairs of the country,” he said.

JESSICA BROWN, Professor of the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, said that Anguilla and Monserrat experienced all the challenges encountered by small island States.  It was not yet clear how the pressures of globalization and domestic tensions would evolve.  What was clear was that there had been considerable evolution in the discussions aimed at modifying existing constitutions and extending the powers of local authorities.  The debate had been accompanied by increased awareness of decolonization issues.  Anguilla and Montserrat had an opportunity to observe the advantages and disadvantages of the new arrangements in other Territories.  The process required flexibility from all the parties involved.  The support of the international community was crucial in that regard.  She also underlined the importance of education, which was needed for achieving an informed consensus.  Greater emphasis in the constitutional process should be given to issues of transparency, accountability and mechanisms to prevent corruption.

Regional cooperation offered great opportunities to Anguilla and Montserrat, she continued.  In that connection, the question of self-determination should become a standing agenda item in CARICOM’s political discussions.  She also emphasized the important role of the United Nations in assisting the development of Non-Self-Governing Territories, reviewed Anguilla and Montserrat’s participation in global multilateral agencies, including UNDP, ECLAC and Caribbean Development Cooperation Committee (CDCC), and explored how the profile of Anguilla and Montserrat could be enhanced in institutions concerned with global financial regulation, labour and migration.  International civil society had a key role to play.  The Special Committee opened new opportunities for Non-Self-Governing Territories to be recognized by the international community, and its seminars were an important venue for communication and exchange of views.

Another expert, CARLYLE CORBIN, spoke about the United States Virgin Islands’ constitutional convention exercise, saying that it had not been sufficient to bring about a full measure of self-governance in that Territory.  In that connection, he examined a number of initiatives within the framework of the Second International Decade, where internal reforms had been undertaken in the Non-Self-Governing Territories.  He also compared the constitutional review in the United States- and United Kingdom-administered Territories.  In many cases, the parameters of the constitutional review were restricted to reforming the present arrangement, without radically changing it.  He argued against the efforts to legitimize “colonialism by consent”, which remained a form of colonialism.  Some Administering Powers sought to promote the existing dependency arrangement as legitimate self-government, although those arrangements fell far short of the requirements for political legitimacy.

Considering the way forward, he said that the Special Committee needed to look at how it would proceed insofar as relations between the United Kingdom, the United States and the Territories they administered were concerned.  He also stressed the importance of regional organizations, including CARICOM, which had produced recommendations on the need to engage in the constitutional process in the Non-Self-Governing Territories.  That had been done by such United Nations bodies as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization).  Some other recommendations related to the establishment of expert groups and mechanisms to implement the use of special measures to examine the situation on the ground.  A case-by-case analysis should be implemented in that regard.

SOPHIA HARRIS of the Cayman Islands said that a constitutional reform reflecting the wishes of the people must be totally open and transparent.  However, in the Cayman Islands, there was continued lack of structured and unbiased education and information, which would be required for the public to make an informed decision about the future of a Territory.  She highlighted the failure of the Administering Power, the United Kingdom, to educate the people of the Territory, and emphasized the need to create a level playing field between the Administering Power and the people of the Non-Self-Governing Territory to enable a constitution that met the needs and desires of the islands’ people.

The public had been kept in the dark regarding its own constitutional process, and it was hard to know exactly what had happened during the secret negotiations on the issue, she said.  A referendum was scheduled for later in May, she noted, recalling that a poll last March had shown that more than 60 per cent of the population felt that they had not been informed, or at least not sufficiently informed, about the new Constitution.  In another poll, that figure had reached 80 per cent.  The controversial constitutional reform process in the Cayman Islands pointed to the need to set minimum criteria for education before self-determination could be accomplished.  That was a requirement for conducting a referendum, which remained the only fair means of determining the wishes of the Territory’s people.  However, its timetable was unfortunate.

LANA HOYOUNG, of the Anguilla National Council of Women, focused on the role of women in the decolonization process, saying that research and “the myriad of contemporary global issues” had established that women’s rights were an integral part of any human rights dialogue.  The role of women in society was critical to establishing social justice, equality, good governance and genuine democracy, and to building modern nations through the process of self-determination.  Women in Anguilla spoke for the rights of the Territory, remaining vigilant in their quest for the attainment of self-governance, legal reform and education.  Women of Anguilla believed that self-determination was a slow process, which should not end at the conclusion of a certain decade, because “the war for self-determination” was continuing in many Non-Self-Governing Territories.

As the floor was opened for comments and questions, the participants expressed great interest in the situation on the ground in the Caribbean Non-Self-Governing Territories and emphasized the Special Committee’s role in promoting the remaining Territories’ self-determination.  In that connection, one participant pointed to the need to share the lessons learned from successful decolonization stories.  Another speaker said that the global financial crisis had heightened the need to seriously address the requirements of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Pointing to the serious nature of the Territories’ concerns, several participants advocated the extension of the Special Committee’s mandate in connection with the Decolonization Decade.  One speaker countered that the mandate had been in place before the Decade, and while its activities had been modified and rearranged in connection with the Decade, that mandate had certainly not disappeared.

“What we hear is that there is no progress in moving towards a self-governing status”, another participant said.  The Territories’ representatives had identified the main challenges they faced.  Now, time had come to regain the momentum of the decolonization process.  In that connection, he highlighted the need for the United Nations to strengthen its efforts to sensitize Administering Powers regarding their obligation to promote self-determination.  It was also necessary to create a political framework for multilateral discussions between the Special Committee, Administering Powers and Non-Self-Governing Territories.  The United Nations must seek to promote negotiations and consolidate confidence between the parties in order to build strong partnerships between Administering Powers and the Territories.

”The more I hear today, the more interested I become,” a speaker said, referring to the fact that the United Kingdom was asking its Overseas Territories to implement a new constitution.  He was worried that they would be pressurized into a constitution that they did not have a full opportunity to discuss.  He also emphasized the Territories’ desire to “financially stand on their own feet”.

Some speakers mentioned the impact of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and volcanic eruptions, on the economies of small islands, including Non-Self-Governing Territories.  Montserrat, following the volcanic eruptions, required special assistance, both from the United Kingdom and the international community at large, that Territory’s representative said.  Also discussed was the impact of the financial crisis on the tourism sector and off-shore finance, which were of great importance for many small Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Among other issues addressed in the debate was migration in the Caribbean, as well as related issues of citizenship, cultural identity, nationality and voting rights in referendums on self-determination.  While noting the climate change and economic, food and energy crises as challenges that could seriously affect the Caribbean Territories, participants highlighted regional integration, participation in multilateral bodies and improved access to information among the opportunities to meet those challenges. 

One speaker said, however, that the level of dissemination of information on decolonization was still lacking.  Some small Territories found it difficult to access information at the United Nations Information Centre, for example.  While regional organizations could play an important role in that regard, a special approach to disseminating information to Non-Self-Governing Territories was required.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.