18 March, 2007

Ascension Island

Ascension Island.

One of our overseas readers who follows events in the British Overseas Territories closely sent the following story. It is taken from a release over Radio Saint FM on St Helena. It is about Ascension Island. It is a pretty barren looking island in the mid-Atlantic. The total population is just over 1,000 persons. The story concerns six of the seven Councillors resigning in protest over negotiations with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The story is important to us in Anguilla because it shows that no matter how small you are, you can kick up a stink that is heard all over the world, if only you have the testicular fortitude to do so:

During the last week six Councillors on Ascension Island have resigned from their posts. Five have resigned within the last 24 hours. One resigned before the visit from FCO consisting of Hugh Philpott and Karen Moran, the others resigned today. The indicative reason for the resignations today were statements made by the FCO delegation. As it currently stands, Ascension Island is without an elected body to represent the islands inhabitants. A joint statement from the Councillors will be issued in the early part of next week.

A press release from the Ascension Island Government this afternoon said that:
“The Island Council held discussions with FCO Officials, Hugh Philpott, (Deputy Head OTD), Karen Moran, (St Helena and Dependencies Desk Officer) and Summiya Ahmad, (Support Officer) who visited Ascension Island from 14-15 March. The main areas of discussion were the housing and business policies. The Island Administrator also joined the lively sessions with the Island Council, which were chaired by HE the Governor. The main focus of the discussion was a draft housing policy, which was produced by the Island Council in 2006.

The visitors also met representatives from some of the Employer Organisations and the US and UK Base Commanders during their two day visit. The participants made some good progress. The Island Council agreed to draft a paper on certain aspects of the discussion on housing policy and send it to the visiting team when back in London. This will be put to FCO Ministers in order to finalise the policies discussed.”

The Administrator of Ascension, Mr Michael Hill said this evening that it was regrettable that the Councillors had resigned but he said that he would not comment on the reason for the walkout as it would be up to the Councillors to give the reasons for the resignations. However, he confirmed that the letters of resignation received contained reasons for the action taken. As the Ascension Island Council now cannot form a quorum new elections – in some form have to be forthcoming. The Attorney General for St Helena and Ascension Island, Ken Baddon, said this evening that “today’s events have raised constitutional issues that will be resolved over the next few weeks”.

After talking to Councillors on Ascension Island, the reason for their resignations is that the democracy on the Island does not work and is used as a cover for introducing un-democratic decisions and policies."

1 comment:

  1. We will not be free until our fellow British Overseas Territory citizens in Ascension and the Chagos Islands are free.


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