29 November, 2008


Overseas Countries and Territories Association. Oscar Ramjeet has published an interesting article on the upcoming conference in Cayman Islands starting next Wednesday. From it, we learn that OCTA was designed in 2003 to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information for the mutual benefit of members. The Association exists to recommend action to member governments, develop effective working relations with European Union institutions, and to defend the collective interests of members. The Association has its own secretariat, and even a website. Anguilla is one of the 17 OCT members.

One of the most important topics for discussion is the future relationship between Anguilla and the other OCTs and the European Union. The EU has produced a green paper on the subject. It covers such areas as environmental issues, vulnerability, diversity, and the trade regime. Participants will learn how to apply for EU development funding for projects. It idea is to help us to become more efficient at preparing and submitting project proposals so that they will pass the appraisal and stand up to review as the projects are implemented. The Green Paper was released on 25 June. It was intended to spark public debate on how to modernize the EU’s relations with its 21 OCTs. The various aid and trade clauses governing our relations expire on 31 December 2013.

The big issues for us include hydrocarbon rights and responsibilities, use and regulation of our maritime economic zone, and the maintaining of responsible standards of public behaviour.

Neither the Green Paper nor the upcoming conference may, strictly speaking, be matters for the British government to bring to our attention. Their interest is to keep us in the OTs docile and quiet. But, surely, our own government ministers and senior civil servants, who have been circulated by the EU with all the relevant documents, ought to be discussing them publicly? Why are they not putting the documents and discussion papers on their useless and boring Anguilla government website so that we can be made aware of the issues that will affect Anguilla?

Are we going to be represented at the conference? If so, how do our representatives know what we think about the subject, since they have never submitted the Green Paper, or any of the topics to us for discussion. What mandate do they think they have to make any kind of presentation on our behalf? None! They have not even issued the usual pre-conference press release. The plan is probably not to tell us about it until it is all over.

None of these issues have been or are being discussed in Anguilla.

No journalist or opinion maker in Anguilla has ever expressed any interest in these matters, or has even demonstrated an awareness that they exist.

The public remains in the dark as usual.

The screams of “foreign exploitation” and “imperialist domination” will rise to a crescendo only when the decisions that we neglected to join in formulating really begin to bite.

By then, as usual, we shall be too late.


  1. The green paper reveals that the average per capita level of EU financial assistance to the Overseas Territories is approximately six times higher than what the EC gives to the developing nations in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

    The Anguilla independence zealots keep screaming that the UK gives us no aid. Aside from the fact that this isn't quite true, we do get a lot from the EC, but it is only because we are a UK Overseas Territory.

  2. Don,
    I believe you are late on this one. The mtg took place on wed last.
    However I am in agreement with your concerns

  3. I don't know if the Cayman Net News article is right or wrong about when the meeting is. Or was. The OCTA has a website: http://www.octassociation.org/
    but it's even worse than our government's. Nothing has been added or changed since last year.


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