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Funny Money

There are strange things going on in the world of banking at the minute. Additional security checks for money laundering and Russian Oligarchs having assets seized are slowing international payments down as fraud departments in banks are making sure they are not going to be fined by governments strapped for ready cash to pay for the plague shutdown and their excessive borrowing.

One of the most bizarre episodes is the sting carried out in the USA with the arrest of the premier of the British Virgin Islands by the DEA.

Along comes the British Government which announces its intention to impose direct rule from London. Of course the Treasury are not behind this at all are they?

A retired Judge, Sir Gary Hickinbottom, has headed a commission, that has concluded the government in the BVI is so corrupt that the BVI Constitution should be suspended and direct rule imposed.

This has not gone down well. The proposal has been firmly opposed by BVI politicians, including the acting premier, Natalio Wheatley, who took office after his predecessor Andrew Fahie, 51, was arrested on drug-running charges in Miami last week.

Also, the Organisation of East Caribbean States has also released a statement

The statement said: “It is clear to us that, in principle, it is ill advised to impose direct colonial rule and the history of such imposition in the Caribbean has never delivered the desired result.

“The OECS concurs with the elected representatives of the people of the BVI that abolition of Parliament with direct rule from London represents a retrograde step in the evolution of the democratic process that is inconsistent with the United Nations Proclamation of Human Rights to be free of colonial rule.

“The UN Declaration on granting independence to colonial countries and peoples – Resolution 1514 of 1960 is an international commitment to which Britain is itself bound.

“The historical responsibility for strengthening governance in the BVI must rest on the shoulders of the elected representatives and the people of the BVI themselves. That ultimately will be the guarantee of good governance and full, transparent accountability.”

The OECS is an International Inter-governmental Organisation dedicated to regional integration in the Eastern Caribbean.

The members of the seven-strong group are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The US, with the Monroe Doctrine, considers anything that happens in ‘ it’s backyard’ means it is permissible for it to interfere. Reagan invaded Grenada, forgetting to inform both Margaret Thatcher and the Queen who was head of State. This led to the ‘but Margaret but but but Margaret’ telephone call recalled by Tip O’Neill in his memories as Thatcher ripped into Reagan.

The sting carried out by the DEA was premeditated and was with the collusion of the British Government looking for ‘funny money‘ to seize.

The Foreign Office minister Amanda Milling has said a decision on whether to impose direct rule on the British Virgin Islands (BVI) has still be to be made following her return from a three-day visit to the overseas territory, but said its government must address endemic corruption.

Basically, she was sent away with a flea in her ear.

That the Foreign Office still thinks it has imperial ambitions, while waving Union Jacks is an anachronism in 2022.

Andrew Withers FRSA

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