Ascension : Candidate for the Next By-Election
Submitted by The Islander (Ascension Island Government) 26.04.2012 (Article Archived on 10.05.2012)
In reality, the remit of a councillor on Ascension is limited and restricted.
In reality, the remit of a councillor on Ascension is limited and restricted. Regardless, I believe that in addition to providing a voice and representing the short and medium term interests of the electorate, an elected representative has an obligation to focus on the future and work for creditable progress with long-term aims to improve our community. In the past I have tried to do just that on the Island Council, according to the Constitution, but my sustained efforts were all too often tactically opposed by the FCO and local government officials. It was always difficult to achieve anything substantial that would make a difference for the good of our community. The common taxpayers make a huge financial contribution towards keeping the Ascension Island Government buoyant but receive no long-term benefits or options in return. To maintain the status quo on Ascension, is to continue making a mockery of democracy on Ascension.
I’m still interested in putting my name forward as a candidate for the next by-election, and if elected, I will serve to the best of my ability, but because of the uncertainties, I prefer not to provide an election manifesto as such.
The UK Government is to publish a new White Paper on the Overseas Territories; it will be interesting to see the direction it provides for the people of Ascension and in particular for our children – born and bred on Ascension. Some months ago I purposely attended a particular Council Meeting (The only member of the public to do so) to hear an FCO official speak on matters relating to the new White Paper. According to the Agenda, it was the last item scheduled in open secession - but I was patient. Unfortunately, the item was suddenly moved to closed secession, by the previous Administrator, and then I was asked to leave the room.
However, as I contemplate putting my name forward as a candidate for the next by-election and seek your support, I hope the following document will provide you with an insight into my current political thinking.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Administrator, Mr Colin Wells, for inviting me to meet the FCO official.
Thursday 8 March, 2012
Meeting with Mr Peter Clements the head of the South Atlantic Section (Overseas Territories Department), FCO.
In addition to our discussion, the following was submitted to Mr Peter Clements:
The UN Charter - Chapter X1 article 73 and the UK Government’s 1999 White Paper - Britain and the Overseas Territories provides a clear basis for “the people of Ascension” to have the right of self-determination, by virtue of which we can freely determine our political status, and freely pursue our economic, social and cultural development.
According to the Ascension Constitution, the UK Government recognizes “the people of Ascension” and “that all peoples have the right of self-determination, by virtue of which they can freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”
The Ascension Constitution describes the people of Ascension as resourceful and “are determined, with the United Kingdom Government and other members of the international community, to build a sound future on the islands for their local communities on the basis of this Constitution.” However, the United Nations, and the European Union, should know that in reality, the UK Government has positioned laws and policies as obstacles to creditable development and progress for the people of Ascension, and has consistently refused to remove the parameters and limitations.
As the United Kingdom, at enormous costs, in money and blood, promotes and defends democracy and human rights, freedoms and liberty in foreign lands throughout the world, the UK Government continues to refuse and limit democracy, rights, freedoms and options for progress to the people of the British Overseas Territory of Ascension.
The economic status in two of the South Atlantic Territories is changing significantly with the discovery of valuable natural resources in the Falklands and imminent air access for St Helena. Ascension’s links with both those territories provides unprecedented opportunities to capitalize on those developments for real progress for development on Ascension.
In consultation with the people of Ascension, please can the UK Government conduct a study of Ascension Island with the focus on political, economic and social development for the people of Ascension.
Understandably, the strategic importance of Ascension to the United States of America and the United Kingdom is always going to be the central consideration in pursuing development for creditable progress for the community in general on Ascension; it should not, therefore, continue to be the overruling governing factor within the constitutional democratic environment of Ascension.