[Updated] Premier Paula Cox, former Premier Dr Ewart Brown and political commentator Walton Brown will be speaking at the UCCI/UWI 50-50 Caribbean Conference to be held in the Cayman Islands from March 21 – 23.
Dr. Ewart Brown will present a paper on “Is the UK-OT Relationship Based on Mutual Interests? Bermuda and the Uighurs Case Study.” The conference website lists an abstract of his presentation saying, “The United Kingdom and the Overseas Territories have a relationship meant to be based on mutual interests.
“In a rapidly changing world it is becoming clear that UK interests and those of the OTs are not always aligned. A Bermuda case study illustrates this fact today.
“The decision by Bermuda to provide refugee status to four Uighurs detained in Guantanamo Bay caused significant tension in the UK-Bermuda relationship. While the UK stressed they have responsibility for Bermuda’s external affairs, Bermuda’s position is that it has responsibility for who is able to reside in the country.
“More importantly, Bermuda’s interests have often been aligned with the United States given the island’s close economic ties with that country and it makes sense to enhance the relationship.
“Taking four detainees to assist President Obama with his plans for closure of the bases helped to strengthen those ties. The paper explores the factors leading to the decision to offer refugee status, the internal and external political fallout and the impact on Bermuda-US relations.”
Walton Brown will present a paper on “New Millennium Colonialism: How the United Kingdom Sustains the UK-OT Relationship.”
The conference website describes his paper as, “The formal position of the United Kingdom towards its overseas territories on the question of independence is neutral: the territories will remain British for as long as the people wish. In practice, the UK not only seeks to strengthen its relationship with the OTs, it is actively devolving power back to the UK.
“The British have been pursuing a multi-pronged approach to achieve this goal – through an as yet unsuccessful effort at getting the OTs de-listed from the UN list of non-self governing territories, devaluing the OTs passport, and asserting UK authority over the constitutional powers previously granted to the OTs under the claim of “contingent liability” along with the claim the line of demarcation between foreign and domestic policy has become increasingly blurred.
“There is little public discussion on these issues in the Caribbean OTs (including Bermuda) and what the public sees as the maintenance of a status quo constitutional arrangement with the UK is in fact a constantly evolving and increasingly asymmetrical relationship.
“Given that UK interests do not necessarily align with the interests of the Caribbean OTs, the latter may well find their prospects for greater autonomy and democracy constrained in the years to come.”
Premier Cox will serve as a keynote speaker at the UCCI conference, and speak on the “Bermuda Success Story.” The conference will feature a number of other speakers from around the Caribbean including Barbados Leader of the Opposition Owen Seymour Arthur, former Minister of State for External Affairs of the U.S. Virgin Islands Dr. Carlyle Corbin, Harvard Professor Orlando Patterson, Chief Justice of the Cayman Islands Anthony Smellie and more.
Update Mar.15: We were unable to get any additional information about this from the Government, however Walton Brown has written a post on his blog saying, “Dr Brown and I are not part of any government delegation and we are certainly paying our own way.”