September 8, 2015
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IN previous columns I have drawn attention to the gradual increase of world summit meetings in recent years. But there is, of course, nothing to compare with the UN General Assembly (UNGA) which is the important gathering in New York of its 193 nations annually in September. It claims to provide a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations, though there are also opportunities for bilateral meetings between individual countries.
ONE of the purposes of this column is to shed light on issues which might be inherently significant but which all too often have largely escaped the attention of the US and other media.
AS a former High Commissioner here, what a pleasure it is to be able to write today about two notably positive examples of Britain’s involvement in The Bahamas and of significant cooperation between our two countries.
HOW dispiriting it was to learn about the Nobel Foundation’s recent decision to invite the ambassadors of Russia, Belarus and Iran to this year’s Nobel Prize award ceremony in Stockholm in December after excluding them in 2022.
A relatively new international grouping has taken centre stage this past week. It is called BRICS. The world is bombarded by endless acronyms by which bodies and organizations are universally known, but it is probably a safe bet that BRICS will not yet be widely familiar even though its significance seems to be growing.
HAVING written last March about the unveiling by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of new proposed legislation to deal with illegal immigration, it seems timely today to revert to the subject now that the Bill has become law.
THE news from Hawaii this past week has been nothing short of terrible as the massive scale of utter devastation has become evident to the outside world. At the time of writing, there are 96 confirmed deaths from the wildfires that ravaged the island of Maui but, reportedly, hundreds of others are still missing.
ONE of the purposes of this column is to identify and try to shed light on global issues that have attracted little attention in the US media but which might be of interest to readers locally.
THERE can be no doubt about what to cover in this week’s column. In Britain, woke extremism is becoming more widespread and a major example of it has just come to light in the shape of Coutts & Co, a British private bank in London, which has recently cancelled, for political reasons, the account of one of its most well-known clients. Coutts is famous for handling the banking needs of wealthy individuals.
Legendary American entertainer Frank Sinatra famously sang about how nice it was to go travelling but that it was “oh so nice to wander back”. With that in mind, what a pleasure it is to be in harness again today with my weekly column after a short absence while on a visit to England to catch up with family and friends. It is easy to see what he meant. Despite the pleasure of a three-week trip it is good to be home again and back in the old familiar routine.
Although it has been fun and a learning experience to have crewed for various people on boating pleasure trips while living here in The Bahamas, I confess to little real knowledge about sailing. But one does not need to know a great deal about this wonderful activity and sport to realise how important it is in this country.
PETER YOUNG: Sunak’s trade agreement with the United States a considerable success for his administration
STUDYING the US media coverage of last week’s two-day visit to Washington by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, I was struck by comments that somehow the UK had turned in on itself after withdrawing from the European Union. Such a claim is not borne out by the facts. There has been no retreat by Britain from the world stage. On the contrary, the reverse is the case.
It became one of Winston Churchill’s better known maxims – “Jaw, jaw is better than war, war”. Britain’s famous Second World War leader was talking about the desirability of dialogue over destruction in the conduct of relations between states. This put the lie to accusations that he was a warmonger when the evidence showed that he opposed the use of force rather than negotiation with an aggressor in order to protect his country’s interests.
PETER YOUNG: Reports that WHO seeks to impose regulations in case of a future pandemic raises concerns
RECENT reports that the World Health Organization (WHO) is trying to impose new protocols and requirements on its member states in dealing with future pandemics is causing concern in Britain and other countries.
The ubiquitous and apparently tireless President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine is perhaps today’s busiest leader on the world stage.
TO many people, Turkey is something of an unknown quantity. But it is in the news at present because of last Sunday’s parliamentary and presidential elections. These are said to be the most pivotal polls in the nation’s history and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s toughest challenge since he first came to power in 2003.
THE environment is a major issue in Britain. As the science in relation to climate change develops rapidly and the fearmongers become more vocal, awareness has grown of the consequences and problems of industrial pollution, nuclear waste, carbon dioxide emissions and global warming. Moreover, as a result of other recent issues like “Mad Cow” disease and the GM (genetically modified) food controversy, the British public has become increasingly sensitive to environmental issues, thus turning the nation in to one of the so-called eco-warriors.
International alarm bells have been ringing, but the press headline on Sunday revealed all – “Special forces airlift US diplomats from Sudan”. President Biden had just announced that the US military had evacuated by helicopter diplomats and their families from the Sudanese capital Khartoum. Britain has also evacuated its diplomats amongst reports of similar action by other Western countries.
IN last week’s column about Britain’s accession on March 31 to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – three years after the nation officially withdrew from the European Union -- I mentioned the need to follow up today with comment on the geopolitical aspects.
A STATE visit is a potent symbol. It confirms at the highest level the quality of relations between two countries by demonstrating the strength of their diplomatic, economic and cultural ties. It is a powerful indicator of the overall bilateral relationship.
The jury is still out. Has it been an act of vengeance against a controversial former British prime minister hounded out of office by his own colleagues or a legitimate example in a democracy of holding those in power to proper account?
WITH the publicity surrounding last week’s San Diego meeting about the AUKUS agreement, I wonder how many people will have recalled one of US President Biden’s famous gaffes. T
AS THE international news cycle moves on relentlessly, its spotlight is also always changing. In Britain during the last two weeks, the UK government’s new proposals agreed with the European Union for settling Northern Ireland’s post- Brexit trading arrangements dominated the front pages.
TWO weeks ago in this column, I wrote about Britain and the European Union being on the brink of a fresh agreement to replace the existing Northern Ireland Protocol covering the province’s trading arrangements post-Brexit.
THE world headlines said it all on Friday. On February 24, one year ago, life for millions of people changed in an instant when Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, expecting to take over the country in a matter of days. But, despite big advances at first, its assault on Kyiv itself was successfully repulsed and local Ukrainian forces later beat back attacks in other areas.
INEVITABLY, news of President Biden’s surprise first visit to Ukraine yesterday has dominated the headlines. During his dramatic brief stay in Kyiv he is reported to have reassured President Zelensky directly about the unprecedented continuing military, economic and humanitarian support for Ukraine by a “coalition of nations”, and he is now on a three-day trip to Poland shortly before the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion.
WITH video coverage of natural disasters and war zones beamed instantly around the world these days, people have become almost accustomed to witnessing human suffering from afar. But the images and stories of the scale of destruction and horror this past week following Monday’s severe earthquake in southern Turkey and northern Syria have been hard to take in.
IN writing last week about the West’s supply of tanks to Ukraine, I suggested it might be interesting to examine further the sensitivities surrounding Germany’s involvement.
AS the first anniversary approaches of the worst conflagration on European soil since the Second World War, there has been widespread reporting in the international media this past week of plans by Western countries to supply tanks to Ukraine. With differing numbers being bandied about, the latest information from Kyiv’s ambassador to France is that “numerous countries have officially confirmed their agreement to deliver 321 tanks (to Ukraine)”.
THE extent to which industrial action by militant trade unions is currently causing chaos across Europe may come as a surprise to some. But it is, I think, worth examining as a sign of the times.
HAVING written only last month about the ructions following the Netflix documentary purporting to tell the story of the life together of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, there is a danger of repetition in returning to the subject today. But, given the huge fallout from the subsequent publication of Prince Harry’s explosive memoir entitled “Spare”, which is reported to have become the fastest-selling non-fiction book ever in the UK, it is hard to ignore it all together.
DESPITE the normal festivities surrounding Christmas, my wife and I found there was more time this year for reflection since I was house-bound while recovering from hip replacement surgery. So I was particularly grateful to a good friend for his kind gift of an interesting book entitled ‘The March of Folly’ by American Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author, Barbara Tuchman. In her heyday in the 1960s she was well known as one of America’s foremost popular historians for she had an engaging style and succeeded in making the past interesting to millions of readers.
THOSE looking for explosive new disclosures will be disappointed.
CHINA has been much in the news recently. Public protests about the nation’s zero-COVID policy have hit the headlines, not least because in an authoritarian state dominated by the CCP - the Chinese Communist Party - such dissent, including calls for freedom and for President Xi Jinping to stand down, is unprecedented. Amidst violent clashes, there has been a massive police presence and heavy crackdown in major cities including Beijing and Shanghai and stiff penalties imposed on those concerned.
TO MY great regret, for the first time in some four years I have failed to produce this column for three successive weeks. This is because I have been laid up in hospital with a broken hip. I should like to write about it today in order to draw attention to the excellent treatment I received at Doctor’s Hospital here in Nassau.
ALL too often it can be a challenge to determine what to include in this weekly column that may be of interest to readers at any given time.
BELOW is the text I drafted on Sunday in time to meet the usual press deadline of Monday afternoon for my weekly column. But over the weekend and yesterday events in London moved rapidly, with the situation changing by the hour.
MINDFUL of the guidance to columnists to avoid repetition at all costs, I hesitate, after covering the subject for two weeks running, to write again about the astonishing political turbulence and economic turmoil in Britain.
PRESIDENT Macron of France started the ball rolling in May this year. During a speech in the European Parliament, he proposed creation of a European Political Community (EPC) as a new forum with the aim of promoting, at the strategic level, dialogue in order to strengthen the security and stability of the European continent.
Having commented last week that the new British Prime Minister, Liz Truss had made a good start, only days later the picture has changed dramatically.
These have been momentous times in Britain. The nation has suddenly, and simultaneously, had to face up to the loss of a much-loved and revered head of state and to an enforced change of Prime Minister. In a less politically stable country that could have had serious repercussions.
ALL eyes were on London yesterday as the state funeral for The Queen took place in majestic style at Westminster Abbey. It has been described as the most spell-binding spectacle in the nation’s recent history. For the British people it was a moment of reverence, sadness and thanksgiving. But it was also a global occasion. The world’s media was captivated by the proceedings, with one commentator calling it an event of “special magnificence the like of which we shall never see again”.
QUEEN Elizabeth II was said to have been the most famous woman in the world. Her prestige, influence and mystique spread far and wide, and her passing has caused deep sadness amongst millions worldwide.
AMIDST the huge international media coverage of the passing last week of the former president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, perhaps one of the most telling headlines was one by the BBC calling him ‘a warm-hearted, decent and generous man’.
FOLLOWING last week’s column about the Conservative Party’s leadership contest in Britain, I should like to offer further comment today on the situation facing the winner that includes an immediate predecessor who remains very much on the scene.
THE media in Britain is justly renowned for its comprehensive coverage of domestic and international news alike. As a source of reliable information, it plays a significant role in shaping public attitudes, perceptions and opinions, since what people think about events outside their own personal experience tends to be influenced by how news is reported in newspapers and on radio and television.
AS the war in Ukraine grinds on remorselessly and remains a threat to global peace, the hope expressed by Putin some while ago that NATO and the West might lose interest and turn their attention to the next world crisis has not been realised. Nearly six months after the Russian invasion, their commitment to assist the Ukrainians in repelling Russian aggression is as strong as ever. To illustrate this, a significant event took place last week in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, which seems to have attracted relatively little international media coverage.
The damaging fallout from the high-level visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi has been extreme, and it is continuing. Relations between the US and China have been tense for some years but have now deteriorated sharply.
The Commonwealth Games are a unique event. They are based on the strength of the Commonwealth itself and are underpinned by the common core values of equality and mutual respect of this 56-member voluntary association and the support and assistance it provides.
A major development in the war in Ukraine has raised faint hopes of peace in the longer term. An agreement with Russia was signed last week to restart the export of grain, though there is a danger that it may have already been derailed because of the firing of missiles at the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa over the weekend.
Some people consider political science is almost a misnomer. Politics is about power and influence and concerns the interaction between human beings while science is based on observation, measurement and interpretation of data in support of a theory or hypothesis.
“ALL political careers end in failure”. Those were the memorable words of Enoch Powell, who was a leading right-wing Tory, and some say a contrarian and a maverick politician, of the 1960s and beyond. It is a fair bet that some of the older generation in Britain will have recalled this famous dictum when watching Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation statement outside No 10 Downing Street last Thursday as he stood down from what he called “the best job in the world”.
THE biggest overhaul of NATO since the Cold War was truly transformational. This was the verdict of its Secretary General after last week’s historic summit in Madrid. He and others claim the 30-strong alliance has been reinvigorated and galvanised into action with a new unity and sense of purpose.
Determining different and interesting topics to write about in this column can be challenging. But today it was a simple task to decide to concentrate on the week-long Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, known as CHOGM, in the Rwandan capital Kigali which ended last Sunday.
THE country of Rwanda, situated in the heart of the vast continent of Africa, has been the centre of attention in the British press this past week.
AFTER all the superlatives about The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last week and the lifting of people’s spirits throughout the country, the politicians and the trade unionists in Britain have managed to bring the nation back to earth with a bump.
THE Platinum Jubilee in Britain was nothing less than a glorious success and a triumph for The Queen, for the monarchy as an institution and for the whole country.
GIVEN the US media’s well known preoccupation with domestic affairs, it is perhaps no surprise there was sparse coverage this side of the Atlantic of Australia’s federal elections ten days ago.
THE Northern Ireland Protocol agreed between Britain and the European Union as part of the arrangements for the former’s withdrawal from the bloc has been controversial and a source of tension since it came into force at the beginning of last year.
AS always, it was an impressive display of pomp and circumstance. In the grand surroundings of the House of Lords chamber in the Palace of Westminster in London, the State Opening of Parliament took place last week to mark the ceremonial start of the parliamentary year.
HAVING read an interesting letter recently in The Tribune by Maurice Tynes entitled “Modernising our nation” in which he advocated introduction of community or local government in New Providence, I thought it might be interesting in today’s column to write about last week’s regional and local government elections in Britain and the effect on the wider political situation in the country.
ONE interesting aspect of the terrible war in Ukraine that has gradually emerged is the failure of the European Union as an institution to play a significant role in equipping that beleaguered country to resist Russia’s prolonged aggression. With the war now into a third month, this is worth examining.
THE capacity of the United Nations to take meaningful action in dealing with a world crisis is all too often hampered by the veto system in the Security Council. After examining this in a recent column and discussing the need for UN reform, it may be helpful now to follow up with information about two new developments concerning the organisation’s involvement in Ukraine.
THE thorny issue of immigration has hit the headlines again on both sides of the Atlantic. In the US, the ending of Title 42, which allows the authorities to expel migrants before they have a chance to file for asylum, is causing major controversy while the UK government announced last week bold and imaginative new plans to handle illegal migrants landing on the country’s shores.
WHAT to cover in a weekly column needs to be determined well in advance in order to leave time for research.
BY its nature, news reporting has to be selective. Editors worldwide determine what is of interest and whether, for a variety of reasons, it should be brought to public attention and is worthy of publication.
SO much information about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, now into a second month, is being bandied about that it is said that people are finding it increasingly hard to separate the im-portant from the less significant and from that which is just plain wrong. It seems they are searching for reliable information and, in particular, for any indication that the horror of the fighting in all its forms – not least the murderous attacks on civilians – may somehow be brought to an end.
IT is beyond belief that this can really be happening. Such was the anguished reaction of a friend after watching last week the most recent television coverage of the horror taking place in Ukraine. Not easily shocked, he found the situation there appalling and distressing; in particular, the latest footage of the destruction of the city of Mariupol with the shelling of schools and hundreds trapped under the rubble of a bombed theatre where they had taken refuge.
“HOW incredibly brave that man is.” It has been reported in the UK press that these words were picked up on a microphone used by Prime Minister Boris Johnson but which had not been switched off after he had spoken at a news conference.
IT is being called the worst and fastest growing refugee and humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.
ALL too often during a major world crisis a plethora of information and divergent opinion in the international media soon reaches saturation point. This has happened in the case of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
DESPITE the sadness of the occasion, how inspiring it was to be present at the funeral service for Sir Godfrey Kelly in Christ Church Cathedral on Friday. A large congregation remembered and paid solemn tribute to a great Bahamian who had touched the lives of so many of his compatriots over the period of his own long life and who will be so widely missed.
THE endless swirling information in the international media about what might happen next in Ukraine remains as intense as ever. Is the world drifting towards war in eastern Europe because of Russian aggression?
IN an ideal world politics should be kept out of sport. But, in reality, that is rarely possible since at the national level, in particular, the two are inextricably linked.
HOW interesting, and even inspiring, it was to read the words last week of Britain’s Armed Forces Minister about assistance to Tonga following the massive undersea volcanic eruption and tsunami that had earlier hit this island state in the Pacific. He was referring to the arrival on the scene of a ship of the Royal Navy, HMS Spey, to help with disaster relief work.
THE current international hysteria over the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine has been dominating the news to such an extent recently that various other significant international events have been largely ignored in the media. One example was last week’s visit to Australia of the British Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss.
British people have always been avid travellers. Waves of migration from the days of colonial expansion during the early 19th century have been followed in modern times by large numbers choosing to live overseas, sometimes in the pursuit of economic opportunity, while nowadays the younger generation tends to be more mobile in an increasingly integrated world.
AFTER reflecting in last week’s column about events in The Bahamas and Britain during the past year – in particular about the coronavirus crisis and a mood of growing optimism for the coming year – it might be interesting to look today at developments on the world stage as well.
FOR most people the beginning of another year is a time to take stock. As well as a general look at life, making new resolutions and taking on new commitments, they are ready to air their views about the past 12 months and prospects for the future.
THE Queen’s message to the people is a staple of Britain’s Christmas tradition. In the run-up to this year’s festivities, many anticipated her speech to the nation on Christmas Day would be particularly personal since the past months have been a notably difficult and sad time for her including the loss of her husband, falling ill herself for a short period and the much-publicised troubles within her family. And so it proved to be – of all the Christmas Day messages she has delivered, this may have been the most heartfelt and personal one yet.
AFTER writing last week about the trials and tribulations of beleaguered Prime Minister Boris Johnson, I hesitate to return to the current political turmoil in Britain.
In Britain, it is said politicians as a species need to have the skin of a rhinoceros to thrive or even survive in the hurly-burly of their chosen occupation.
HERE we go again. That is likely to be the tired and irritated reaction of most people in the UK in the face of new restrictions after the recent discovery in South Africa of Omicron, the name given to a new strain of COVID-19.
The screaming UK media headlines said it all – “Tragedy in the Channel”.
EARLIER this month, the last President of South Africa under apartheid, F W de Klerk, recorded an extraordinary video which was apparently intended to establish his legacy. He had been suffering from cancer and died soon afterwards at the age of 85.
After last year’s comprehensive scaling back of the Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday commemorations because of coronavirus, how encouraging it was to see the return to a full range of events throughout Britain this past week.
IT IS said journalists and diplomats have a great affinity. Both are scribes. Journalists tell the public what is happening by the moment and comment on it and diplomats report back regularly to their governments. The reporting by journalists is sometimes over dramatised and opinionated because that sells newspapers, while diplomats must stick strictly to the issue at hand and be objective without frills or exaggeration.
ITALY and Scotland have been the focus of international diplomacy this past week. Rome hosted the two-day G20 meeting of the world’s wealthiest countries, and this was followed on Sunday by the official opening of the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, in Glasgow, with most of the G20 leaders travelling there direct from their Rome meeting.
HAVING written only last week about COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference which opens in Scotland in less than one week, I hesitate to return to the subject today for fear of repetition. But there has been a significant new development and it may also be worth reiterating the importance of the conference to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) which include, of course, The Bahamas.
PEOPLE have been talking about the upcoming climate summit for so long that it is hard to believe it is now really upon us. Under the presidency of the UK, the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference will take place in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, from 31 October to 12 November.
A significant event last week in South Africa has led to reflection by some on the past iniquitous system of apartheid in the country, and it is a reminder of the power of forgiveness and reconciliation in an increasingly troubled and violent world.
THE most recent comment by Senator Ted Cruz about the ongoing crisis on the US border with Mexico says it all.
WHATEVER crises around the world are dominating the news and demanding attention from other countries, the focus of diplomatic activity during the month of September is always in New York where the United Nations General Assembly meets for its regular annual session.
SUCH is the continuous news cycle in today’s world of instantaneous communications that what is top of the agenda today can all too readily be ignored tomorrow when it is overtaken by fresh events.
NEVER forget the loss, grief and pain that is deep, consuming and ever-present. This was surely the enduring message when America, with sadness and solemnity, paid tribute on Saturday to the nearly 3,000 victims of 9/11. It was the 20th anniversary of the deadly terrorist attacks in New York and Washington in 2001.
The words of wisdom of George Orwell, the prolific English writer and critic and author of the famous works “Animal Farm” and “1984”, are quoted so often because invariably they are apposite and sum up what others are thinking.
WITH surprising candour, even the minister responsible for immigration has admitted it. In the words of the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, the UK’s current asylum system is “broken”. This is an issue of prime importance in Britain, not least because the nation’s lack of control over its own borders was one reason for withdrawing from the European Union. So perhaps it is worth examining the current situation in some detail.
WITH surprising candour, even the minister responsible for immigration has admitted it. In the words of the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, the UK’s current asylum system is “broken”. This is an issue of prime importance in Britain, not least because the nation’s lack of control over its own borders was one reason for withdrawing from the European Union. So perhaps it is worth examining the current situation in some detail.
The televised images of human suffering in Haiti are heart-rending. It is hard to watch the misery of individuals as their lives have been torn apart in an instant by another devastating earthquake, and the turmoil has been made worse by the damage from a tropical storm.
THE age-old maxim about a little knowledge being a dangerous thing should be uppermost in the minds of newspaper columnists who cover a wide range of topics on a regular basis. They should also be aware of the warning by George Bernard Shaw – the famous Irish playwright, critic and polemicist – to “beware of false knowledge since it is more dangerous than ignorance”.
IT HAS been called the worst civilian atrocity in Europe since the Second World War and the darkest page of modern European history. In July 1995, in Srebrenica in the state of Bosnia – part of the former Yugoslavia – over 8,000 people, mainly Muslim men and boys, were rounded up and executed by Serbian forces.
SO much has been written recently about the compelling need for vaccinations in face of the new surge of COVID cases in The Bahamas that I hesitate to add to the plethora of comment. But two developments encourage me to offer a few observations – the Prime Minister’s wise and appropriate national address last Wednesday and the action by the Democratic speaker of the US House of Representative threatening to arrest staffers not wearing masks in the building, with many saying this amounts to a reprehensible abuse of power.
After all the opposition, controversy, setbacks and scandals surrounding the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, some people regard it as a minor miracle that these Games are finally under way despite much of Japan being under a state of emergency because of COVID.
Observers and admirers of the modern South Africa will have been shocked and dismayed by the current images of looting, violence and general mayhem being beamed around the world on TV screens for all to witness. This has been sparked by the jailing of the nation’s former President Jacob Zuma for contempt of court.
With the nation of Haiti gripped by terror and chaos and said to be on the verge of civil war following the assassination of its President last week, there has been wide international condemnation of this horrific act.
AFTER writing last week about the then upcoming clash between England and Germany at the European football championships, the extraordinary events of recent days demand a return to the subject today.
IN the US it is called soccer. Elsewhere in the world it is known as football, and in Britain it carries the affectionate sobriquet of the “beautiful game” which folklore suggests was a phrase first coined by the Brazilian footballer, Pele, known as perhaps the most famous footballing hero of them all.
It is self-evident that tourism is an important, if not essential, part of national economies around the world. For host countries, spending by visitors boosts revenue in many sectors, creates numerous jobs and drives growth. Here in The Bahamas, as everyone knows, tourism is one of the twin pillars of the country’s economy - alongside financial services - and is, therefore, vital to the nation’s prosperity.
FOR a few days last week it could reasonably have been claimed the centre of international affairs and diplomacy was in England’s southwestern county of Cornwall. Under the annual rotating presidency system of the G7 – the world’s largest advanced economies and wealthiest liberal democracies – the UK had organised the group’s first face-to-face meeting since the beginning of the pandemic 18 months ago.
It is the international story of the week. Despite the earlier denials, evidence seems to be mounting that the COVID-19 virus could have leaked from China’s Wuhan laboratory rather than evolving naturally from animals to humans.
Last week’s extended seven-hour appearance before a committee of MPs at Westminster by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser turned out to be an exceptionally bruising affair.
There is so much information in the media about coronavirus and vaccines that further comment in this column might seem superfluous. But this week I should like to draw attention to the continuing effective rollout of vaccinations here at home as well as to the latest developments in Britain in case experience there might provide some useful lessons.
THOSE watching the hostilities between the Israelis and Palestinians unfold will surely be shocked by the violence that has erupted. It has been described by the UN as “utterly appalling”. The fighting, which has now entered a second week, is the most recent manifestation of a feud that continues to blight an historic landscape that has been torn apart by bloodshed for several centuries, and in recent decades it has intensified in what seems to have become a cyclical pattern.
IN today’s troubled times, when one can read at the click of a mouse about extreme human suffering somewhere in the world, there are those who refuse to accept any responsibility for helping unknown people in distress in some distant and unknown country.
It is almost a truism that corruption and sleaze exist in politics worldwide. History abounds with examples. But in today’s conditions of instant and often intrusive communications, when politicians are under greater scrutiny than ever before so that reprehensible behaviour is harder to hide, it seems to be worse than ever.
As recently as the beginning of February, I wrote in this column about a UK initiative to partner with other countries and the United Nations in launching a global coalition to address the impact of climate change.
PETER YOUNG: Raise a glass to Prince Philip - he wouldn’t like all the fuss but he surely deserves it
WHEN Prince Charles spoke publicly for the first time following the news on Friday of the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh he said how amazed his father would have been by the reaction of so many to his passing, both in Britain itself and around the world – not least in the Commonwealth – and that he would have been surprised and touched by the depth of feeling and sorrow expressed by millions.
Since the issue of race is invariably controversial and induces strong emotions, conversations about it are often heated and difficult. Britain is no exception in dealing with problems of racial disharmony. In some of its local communities historic racism continues to create resentment and mistrust.
The extended images over the past days of a giant container ship run aground in the Suez Canal has captured international attention amid disbelief that such a thing could happen. But this new focus on the most important shipping lane in the world will also be a reminder that mention of the word ‘Suez’ means to historians, in the first instance, the crisis of 1956 when Britain, France and Israel conspired to invade Egypt following its nationalisation of the canal.
Amid speculation and criticism recently about delays in obtaining supplies of the coronavirus vaccine, the headline in The Tribune a couple of weeks ago that the rollout would take months was both mystifying and depressing. How was it, people wondered, that The Bahamas, with our relatively small population, was so far behind other countries in procuring and administering the vaccine? So, imagine what a pleasure it is to write today about the good news that a vaccination programme is now underway here at home.
There is a risk of stating the obvious to say China looms large in the minds of many as an increasingly dominant force in the world in its inexorable advance towards its aim of superpower status.
People around the world watching the media coverage over the weekend of Pope Francis’ historic first-ever papal visit to Iraq must surely have been both surprised and impressed that such a visit was really happening. Many will marvel at the bravery and energy of the 84-year-old Pontiff in making what must amount to his riskiest journey yet.
One particular decision of Britain’s Supreme Court caught my eye last week.
The sad saga of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is in the news again. But the plethora of global reports have, by their all-encompassing nature, tended to obscure what has actually happened to bring them to the world’s attention once again.
Having written briefly about coronavirus vaccines only last month, I hesitate to return to the subject today. However, this column not only allows me to offer my own views on a range of issues but also provides an opportunity to articulate as best I can the concerns of other people whose voices do not get heard. At this stage of the virus pandemic, people are expressing anxiety about the urgent need for a vaccination programme here in The Bahamas - and it seems this is increasingly seen as the single most important issue facing the country at the moment.
With political confrontation and accompanying violence happening around the world all the time, much of it goes unreported in the international media as other news competes for attention. But events in one place in particular - the Asian nation of Myanmar - are often covered, largely because of its famous politician, Aung San Suu Kyi.
Since writing last week, in the context of Britain’s special relationship with the US, about the UN Climate Change conference - known as COP 26 and to be hosted by the UK in Scotland in November - I have seen reports of another UK climate initiative that was announced on January 25. This is worth covering today because I believe The Bahamas could benefit from it. As everyone knows, an archipelagic nation with its low lying islands is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change and the threat of rising sea levels from global warming.
After looking briefly last week at world prospects in the coming months under a new US government, two occurrences encourage me to consider what a Biden presidency might mean for Britain. These are the removal of the bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office and last weekend’s telephone call between President Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
IT was a pleasure to receive again this year an invitation to the ceremony to mark the opening of the new Legal Year. This time, because of coronavirus restrictions there was no traditional service at Christ Church Cathedral nor the usual crowded gathering in the Supreme Court to hear addresses by the Attorney General, the Chief Justice and the President of the Bar Association. Instead, there was a “virtual ceremony” held last week out-of-doors in Rawson Square with limited attendance and live television coverage.
WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange is back in the news again. Not in the American media, which unsurprisingly remains obsessed with the current drama in Washington, but in the UK from where the US government is seeking his extradition to face charges over the publication of thousands of classified documents in 2010 and 2011.
IN a free society it is axiomatic that authority should be held to account. Criticism of mistakes and failures should be encouraged, if only to prevent them in the future. So, on the thesis that it is the role of the Fourth Estate to scrutinise official policies and actions and to ask the tough questions, I return this week to the vexed issue of the coronavirus vaccine.
WAS it the best Christmas present of all? One would have been forgiven for thinking so while watching Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s exuberant video on Christmas Eve announcing that he had just signed a trade agreement with the European Union. After all the controversy and delay, this is a huge development, covering, as it does, some 450 million consumers.
IN the context of ‘wokeness’, which I wrote about in a recent column, there were two interesting developments in Britain last week. One was a speech by a Cabinet minister about the Conservative values of equality and individual responsibility while the other was a report by a leading think tank about the importance of free speech in universities. These are significant issues in modern society that can affect many people – even indirectly – so they are, perhaps, worth examining further.
THE current negotiations between the EU and Britain about their post-Brexit trading relationship is top of the news agenda in Europe. The deadline for an agreement is the end of the year – barely two weeks away. But, although, after months of talks, the two sides remain divided on several key issues, EU watchers are accustomed to such events going down to the wire before agreement is suddenly reached at the eleventh hour. So, many still hope for a satisfactory conclusion.
A FRIEND has kindly lent me a new book about the business activities of the Sassoon and Kadoorie families in China and Hong Kong during the last century. Entitled “The Last Kings of Shanghai”, it is written by British journalist and author Jonathan Kaufman, and was published earlier this year. Impressively comprehensive and evidently well researched, it is billed as the story of rival Jewish dynasties that helped create modern China.
There seems to be a general view in Britain that the provision of monetary aid directly to other countries is unpopular with the public. During periods of relative national prosperity, that may not manifest itself because overseas aid tends not to be an issue for most people. But, in the midst of today’s coronavirus crisis and consequent economic emergency, it perhaps comes as no surprise that opinion polls show the majority of British people favour a substantial reduction of the nation’s foreign aid budget.
WITH almost the whole world, it seems, focused on the coronavirus pandemic, not least because of the prospect of a vaccine becoming available soon, “wokeness” is not an issue of major concern to most people. But it has come to the fore again in Britain with a group of Tory Members of Parliament speaking out against what they maintain is an attempt to rewrite or denigrate the nation’s history.
Whether or not one agrees with former US President Richard Nixon who said, with supreme irony, that he ‘rejected the cynical view that politics is a dirty business’, there is no denying recent goings-on at the heart of Britain’s political establishment have been dramatic and messy.
While trying to avoid going over old ground again, I hasten to comment about major developments in relation to coronavirus this week in Europe which is in turmoil once more over the pandemic. New national lockdowns in France and in Germany have been followed by an announcement at the weekend of another total lockdown in Britain. This is due to start on Thursday this week and will last for one month in the hope of bringing down the level of transmission of the virus – the so-called R-rate.
NO doubt to the consternation of many, Brexit is back in the news again this week.
ANYONE who had the time and inclination to watch even part of last week’s US Senate confirmation hearings for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, would surely have been impressed by her performance in response to keen questioning. But they might also have been disturbed by the evidence of deep divisions in the American body politic.
PETER YOUNG: Surely it’s time for common sense - targetted solutions not catch-all policies which hurt everyone
HAVING written only two weeks ago about coronavirus, I hesitate to return to the subject. But it is top of the news agenda once more as the situation has changed dramatically with a total curfew over the holiday weekend in New Providence and Abaco followed by other new restrictions this week. I also hasten to draw attention to a potentially significant development in the shape of the Great Barrington Declaration published last week in the US which addresses the world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After so many months of endless debate and controversy, some may regard further comment about the COVID-19 pandemic to be superfluous. But what appears to be a second wave of the virus in Europe - resulting in imposition of new restrictions - has reignited argument about the efforts of governments to control its spread.
Since the US mainstream media is understandably preoccupied with the forthcoming presidential election, it has provided little coverage of the recent poisoning of Alexei Navalny, the Russian anti-corruption campaigner and vociferous critic of President Putin. But this attempted assassination has resulted in international outrage. It has been condemned by European countries in particular, and it ought to be publicised more widely.
Watching on Thursday evening last week the concluding proceedings in the grounds of the White House of the four-day Republican National Convention, the hour was late and bedtime called.
Some people consider that so much has been written about the coronavirus pandemic that there is little further to say.
A month ago, I wrote about the thorny and controversial subjects of ‘wokeness’ and the ‘cancel culture’ - and I return to these today because there is growing evidence that people in the UK are fighting back against these strange phenomena, which are loosely defined as demanding adherence to a new orthodoxy about social and political justice together with attacking and ruining the lives of any who do not submit to such demands.
If you mention The Bahamas to people in Britain, there is likely to be a positive reaction because the country is seen as a most desirable tourist destination. Such is the country’s fine reputation, it is no exaggeration to say the name itself seems to carry a certain aura. Last week, however, it hit the headlines for the wrong reasons.
Having written at length last week about its lack of impartiality, I hesitate to return to the subject of the BBC today. Having written at length last week about its lack of impartiality, I hesitate to return to the subject of the BBC today. But it may be worth commenting on what could turn out to be a massive miscalculation on the part of the corporation, since many people depend on Britain’s renowned public broadcaster for reliable information as a trustworthy global news provider and they are interested in how it is faring.
With the latest rise in COVID-19 cases in The Bahamas and re-imposition at the weekend of lockdown measures, I hasten to write briefly about this as well as about the BBC as I had planned. The reason for this spike seems to be linked to Bahamians visiting Florida during the last few weeks and is against the background of a second global wave of the virus.
The issue of the extent of the involvement in Britain of China’s huge telecommunications company, Huawei, has finally come to a head. Last week, citing national security concerns, the UK government banned the tech giant from any role in developing the infrastructure of 5G – the nation’s next generation mobile communications network.
It was wholly predictable that the content of remarks by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at a recent discussion with young leaders from the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust would cause controversy. In a video released last week and distributed around the world, Harry and Meghan - who are respectively president and vice president of this Trust - were seen talking about the Commonwealth in a way many people consider could undermine it.
Forecasting is a tricky business at the best of times.
PETER YOUNG: For the Windrush families it was a scandal which so easily could - and should - have been avoided
In reaction to recent claims that Britain is a racist and unfair society, I argued in this column last week that it was inaccurate to say that the nation was dominated by bigotry and race hatred, as has been maintained by some people. It cannot be plausibly denied, however, that discrimination against minorities exists in one form or another in parts of society, with ethnic minorities affected by economic and social inequality - though claims of systemic institutionalised racism are often unwarranted.
PETER YOUNG: Removing reminders of a country’s past will do nothing to address genuine social injustice
Last week in this column, I covered the issue of criminal vandalism of statues and monuments in Britain and stressed the need for the police to enforce law and order. I return to the subject today because of a more recent development that, in the view of many, has reached a new low of craven submission by authority.
It comes as no surprise that in Britain increasing numbers of people are genuinely shocked that protests in London and other cities about racism and police brutality across the Atlantic have turned into an attack on their own country’s history and culture.
Most people will be thoroughly familiar by now with the circumstances of the death two weeks ago of George Floyd at the hands of the police in Minneapolis and its violent aftermath. But it is hard to refrain from commenting on this and the subsequent protests both in the US and around the world. The killing of an unarmed and handcuffed Afro-American man already in police custody, with the sickeningly graphic video footage for all to watch, has triggered revulsion around the world.
THE former British colonial territory of Hong Kong has attracted the world’s attention again, but for potentially harmful reasons. Last week, China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, rubber-stamped a sweeping new draft security law to be imposed directly on Hong Kong and its population of over seven million.
People who believe in individual freedom in society and regard themselves instinctively as libertarians normally have an innate distrust of authoritarianism, and, in a democracy, they are on guard against any perceived encroachment by the state on civil liberties.
The recent news that The Bahamas has been included in yet another European Union anti-financial crime blacklist will have been depressingly familiar to many. The subject seems like a never-ending saga in which our nation, as an international financial centre (IFC), is under unremitting pressure from the EU and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to satisfy their forever changing demands.
PETER YOUNG – Stiff upper lips as Britain remembers and vows: we’ll meet again (just not for a little bit)
Last week’s commemorations and celebrations in Britain of the landmark 75th anniversary of VE-Day have been described as a joyous demonstration of national pride. May 8, 1945 marked the end of the Second World War in Europe - and being in the coronavirus lockdown did not stop people paying tribute to those who had saved them from the tyranny of Nazi Germany. In the words of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as he urged his fellow countrymen and women to take inspiration from the generation that had won the war, “We are free because of everything they did”.
As the horror, grief and desperation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues, the need for international co-operation to combat it has become all the more pressing. The World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11. According to its latest figures, the virus has been found so far in as many as 185 countries with some 3.5 million confirmed cases and nearly 250,000 deaths worldwide.
AS the nightmare of the extended lockdown now continues for another month it is amazing to watch - not least in the US and UK - how know-alls purporting to be experts attack their own governments when, more often than not, they have no relevant professional qualifications and little understanding of the pressures facing ministers.
While the COVID-19 crisis continues around the world with a vengeance, just a month ago there was still a widespread feeling it would be short lived. It was thought the strong action taken by different countries to contain the spread of the virus through strict measures about social distancing to prevent its transmission among humans would be effective and the crisis would be rapidly over. But that has proven not to be the case. The world is in this together and the fight goes on.
The complete lockdown in The Bahamas over the last five days may have been regarded by many as excessively heavy-handed. But others have welcomed such tough action in response to the coronavirus crisis on the grounds it is better to enforce social distancing in this way than risk a spread of the virus that could devastate this country’s relatively small population. Many complain, however, the government’s decisions could have been communicated better and with more notice.
Such is the plethora of information in the media about coronavirus, particularly the serious developments in the US which are worsening by the day with a rising death toll, that the facts do not bear repetition.
In writing further about the coronavirus crisis - now being called the greatest ever threat to the world in peacetime - I offer comment this week on the latest developments in Europe, including Britain, and here at home as well. The crisis affecting so many countries has become nothing short of a human catastrophe and the most serious global health challenge of our times. Its effects have also had a horrifying impact on the world economy and have disrupted modern society on an unimaginable scale.
The suggestion last week by English historian and author, Antony Beevor, that mankind may be facing a fundamental turning point over the deadly coronavirus may be regarded by many as a bit over the top – transformative for sure, but such an apocalyptic claim looks to be premature since no one knows with certainty how this crisis is going to develop. The seriousness of COVID-19 so far, with the latest figures showing it has infected more than 350,000 with over 16,000 deaths, makes me keen as a columnist to offer comment once again this week.
My heart sank when I saw the headline ‘Biden and Sanders slam Trump over response to coronavirus crisis’. Then, after tuning in to CNN and MSNBC, who relentlessly vilify President Trump whatever he does, my worst fears were confirmed.
PETER YOUNG: With the world in the grip of hysteria, who knows what the final economic effects might be
So much has been broadcast and written about the coronavirus outbreak that there is a risk of information overload about what has become a global crisis, and any reiteration of existing facts would be superfluous.
The alarming events over the last few days concerning Syrian refugees passing through Turkey in large numbers and trying to enter European Union countries like Greece and Bulgaria hit TV screens over the weekend.
A free man at last. Nelson Mandela was released from prison in South Africa 30 years ago.
It was sad to write in this column last November about the terrorist attack that had taken place on London Bridge. This resulted in the murder of two young people - who were dedicated to the rehabilitation of prisoners - by a convicted Islamist terrorist. The attacker had been released from prison on licence after serving half his sentence and was himself later killed by the police. How depressing it is, so soon after that, to comment now on another similar incident in the British capital just a week ago.
Well, folks, it has actually happened. Britain left the European Union on January 31. This has created enormous attention and extensive international media coverage and there have been huge celebrations in London and elsewhere in the country. It has been described in Britain as the most significant moment in the nation’s modern history.
Having written two weeks ago about the watershed moment of the UK Parliament passing the Withdrawal Bill for Britain’s departure from the European Union, I hesitate to claim there has been yet another significant milestone in the Brexit saga. But this time, finally, it is for real and the goal has been achieved.
To adapt Abraham Lincoln’s famous dictum about not being able to fool all of the people all of the time, it is similarly impossible to please everybody even for some of the time. So to obtain order in the conduct of human affairs, some way has to be found of determining the will of the people. The best means is to consult them and let the majority prevail.
It is surely no exaggeration to say the sudden horror of last week’s killing by a US drone strike of Major General Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s top military commander and one of its most influential political figures, has shaken the world.
Writing this column on the eve not only of another year but a new decade as well, it is almost obligatory to reflect on immediate past events as well as to look at prospects for the foreseeable future.
WITH Christmas just a day away, this weekly column allows me the pleasure of writing about the joys of such a wonderful time of the year. But it is also a moment to think about the lonely and less fortunate for whom the celebrations can be a time of woe and pain as they suffer the sadness of loss and deprivation while we are all urged to ‘eat, drink and be merry’ in the traditional way.
Britain’s historic General Election last week turned out to be nothing short of an earthquake that may have changed the political map of the nation for a generation. For the first time, Labour Party supporters in its traditional, working-class heartlands in the North-East and Midlands areas of the country have voted Tory.
SUCH is the US mainstream media’s concentration on domestic issues that the serious terrorist attack which took place at the end of last month on London Bridge in the heart of Britain’s capital may even have escaped some people’s notice altogether.
With election fever in Britain building up towards polling day on December 12, this is perhaps a good moment to reflect on parliamentary relationships of the past compared with the deteriorating quality of modern-day political discourse, group values and affinities.
“Never complain and never explain” is a mantra said to be favoured by The Queen and has been attributed to the late Queen Mother.
As so often, the US media has been obsessed recently with domestic affairs to such an extent that, until this last weekend, foreign issues like the continuing serious civil unrest in Hong Kong have been receiving little coverage.
At this time of year it is a pleasant duty to write about Remembrance Day on November 11 and to note that interest in honouring the casualties of war has not waned over the years.
“There is a widespread view in the country that this Parliament has run its course.” These strong words by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have been finally heeded by his fellow MPs who have voted overwhelmingly that the nation should go to the polls on December 12 – and many ordinary people, who have lost patience with the political class and their outright obstruction of the UK’s departure from the EU that has resulted in disruption and division, say that this will be none too soon.
PETER YOUNG: Imagine a tidal wave of refugees like we saw from Vietnam... North Africa ... Syria - but this time it’s from Haiti
So much has been written recently about the treatment of Haitians post-Dorian that I hesitate to comment further. But criticism of the Government, both here at home as well as overseas, has been growing and this prompts me to address the issue again.
Since the US media tends to concentrate on domestic news and, nowadays, in particular on the behaviour and tribulations of their President, it is hardly surprising that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to Pakistan last week has not attracted much attention this side of the Atlantic. During a jam-packed five-day tour, which was the first royal visit there for a decade, the general view has been that they did not put a foot wrong on what was their own first trip to the country and that overall it was an outstanding success.
LAST week’s controversial exchanges about the treatment of displaced migrants following the destruction by Hurricane Dorian of the shanty towns in Abaco should have come as no surprise. As everyone knows by now, the potentially explosive issue of Haitian immigration to The Bahamas goes back a long way.
IN the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, The Bahamas has received so much aid, assistance and support from such a wide variety of sources, both at home and from overseas, that it would be invidious to single out any particular ones as being more worthy than others.
YESTERDAY’S press reports about the creation, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, of a new ministry to deal with disasters will no doubt be widely welcomed.
OLD habits as a diplomat die hard, so even in retirement I shy away from commenting in this column on domestic politics. However, in the terrible aftermath of Hurricane Dorian perhaps, for once, such self-restraint can be put aside temporarily in offering a view following the publicity last week about the involvement of two former Prime Ministers in dealing with the crisis.
So much has been written already about the catastrophe of Dorian that it is hard to find further words to describe its deadly effects and the horrors inflicted on people in Abaco and Grand Bahama. The destruction and loss of life is almost beyond belief and the extent of the suffering unimaginable. So it is heartening that the worldwide publicity has produced an extraordinarily positive response from other countries and that an international humanitarian aid operation is now under way.
As a final reflection on our lengthy summer visit to England, I was genuinely puzzled by the degree of negativity, particularly in the media, about Britain and its status in the world. According to some, the nation’s standing and influence as a leading global power has suddenly been severely curtailed or even no longer exists. Such a view is often expressed by those who believe the UK’s departure from the European Union is an act of extreme folly and that it will be unable to prosper on its own.
Another fascinating debate being aired during my wife’s and my extended summer visit to England was about the balance between civil liberties and state intervention in people’s lives.
In last week’s column, I surmised that Britain was in for an autumn of political disruption over Brexit. The nation has been overwhelmed by this thorniest of issues that has provoked deep divisions and the resulting uncertainty and instability could become even worse.
An important international development that ought to be publicised but has received only limited US media coverage is the Hong Kong government’s current controversial plan for extradition to mainland China.
It is said the rise of populism is a dangerous phenomenon in world politics. This has come to the forefront again following the heavy losses suffered by the mainstream political parties in last month’s European Parliament poll.
Keeping alive memories of significant events in its history is a mark of a civilised nation. An important aspect of this is public recognition and remembrance of those who lost their lives in war so that honouring their sacrifice should continue for years afterwards.
Having commented briefly in an earlier column about utilising the potential of the Family Islands, I found the recent exchanges in the House of Assembly about the Immigration Bill’s amendments concerning foreign business visitors especially interesting, not least because of the indication of an easing of immigration restrictions.
In today’s world of instant communication via the internet, news of the horrors of the recent evil and cowardly terrorist attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka will have reached far and wide.
Memories of youth seldom fade. I still recall a teacher in my far-off schooldays who seemed more interested in demonstrating his own intellectual prowess than in leading young minds to new ideas and concepts. ‘Liberty or licence’ (see below) was one of his favourite topics for essay-writing, without bothering to explain the difference in advance.
The sudden news of the arrest in London of the co-founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, not surprisingly hit the headlines last week.
Having written in preceding weeks about the thorny issue of Brexit, I turn today to the related subject of parliamentary representative democracy in Britain.
Since Britain’s departure from the European Union is causing political upheaval in a nation divided on the issue, it remains top of the news agenda. So, reluctantly, I am covering Brexit in this column for a third week running. This time, while mentioning the latest developments splashed daily across the British and European media, a brief look at the background that has led to the impasse might be interesting.
While it is essential to vary the content of this column, the massively controversial issue of Brexit is reaching a climax so this is a follow-up to last week’s report on the subject.
For many people in Britain it is mind-boggling that with so little time remaining before the nation is due to leave the European Union on March 29 the terms of its departure have still not secured parliamentary approval.
Press reports of remarks by the Prime Minister in New York last month in praise of the Nassau Accord ought to stimulate renewed interest in the role played by The Bahamas in the eventual ending of apartheid some 25 years ago. This agreement, which called for sanctions against South Africa and demanded it should dismantle apartheid and negotiate with the country’s black majority, was the outcome of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Nassau in 1985 attended by The Queen.
WHILE Britain’s departure from the European Union in March next year is fast approaching, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is still embroiled in negotiations about the nation’s future economic relationship with the bloc after Brexit – a term now firmly in the modern lexicon.
The decision by Britain to withdraw from the European Union following a referendum in 2016 continues to stimulate endless debate and controversy, not least because of a relatively narrow poll margin of 52 to 48 percent in favour of departure. In a high turnout of some 72 percent, 17.4 million voted to leave.
Since governments are elected under the Westminster system for a five-year period, the Prime Minister is surely right to discourage people from judging him prematurely. Equally, it would be unwise simply to dismiss last month’s opinion poll showing a
New Year crystal-gazing is invariably guesswork and can be hazardous. But, having been asked to provide brief comments on The Bahamas’ prospects for 2018, it was not hard to single out the economy as the issue likely to be of major concern in the coming months.
DURING our lengthy visit to England recently, my wife and I were struck by the extensive coverage in the media of developments related to the European Union.
Following the 20th anniversary of Britain’s handover of Hong Kong to China, Peter Young offers a personal view about developments . . .
In the wake of the shock result in the British election, Peter Young looks at what lies ahead for the troubled Prime Minister Theresa May after seeing her majority slashed.
The received wisdom about local council elections in the United Kingdom is that they are normally an opportunity, between general elections, for voters to give the national governing party a good kicking with the result that it usually loses seats at this level.
Theresa May caught people unawares last week by calling a snap election for June. Peter Young explains why another poll is necessary . . .
A random act of terrorism in London last week has brought the issues around multicultural Britain into sharp focus again, Peter Young says . . .
Peter Young finds Britain’s future with Europe top of the agenda after a holiday in England . . .
As the the world’s oldest political association of states looks to be entering a new golden era of prosperity, its relevance is being tested by allegations of corruption and cronyism against its top executive, Peter Young says
The real work negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union starts today with the return of Parliament, says Peter Young . . .
A long overdue report reveals the former British Prime Minister deliberately exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein in justifying going to war, Peter Young says.
Stay or go? Peter Young examines how the UK’s place in Europe is in the balance before tomorrow’s referendum
The outcome of Britain’s referendum on European Union membership next month is in the balance, says Peter Young . . .
Peter Young argues that saturation coverage of the race to the White House is justified for a nation founded on rebellion.
LAST month marked the tenth anniversary of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s leadership of the ruling Conservative party. Having emerged unexpectedly to take the helm of his party after only five years as a Member of Parliament, he became prime minister in 2010 at the age of 43, assuming charge of the first coalition government in Britain since the Second World War.
The harrowing images of desperate refugees highlight the immigration crisis facing the European Union. Peter Young looks at the problem and its implications for Britain