Guest blog by Jonathan Sinclair, British High Commissioner to New Zealand and High Commissioner designate to Samoa One of the most interesting aspects of my job is the chance to work with different countries in the Pacific region, and learn about the relationships between them. As well as being High Commissioner in New Zealand, I’m also the Governor of Pitcairn and High Commissioner designate to Samoa. Taken together, those roles … Notes from a Small Island
A choice isn’t a choice when it is made with a gun to your head. Yet on Sunday, the people of Crimea will be asked to make an impossible choice: to vote to become subjugated by Russia; or to vote for independence – with no guarantee that Russia will show any more respect for the sovereignty of an independent Crimea than she did for the territorial integrity of an independent … A gun to the head?
During the day of 5 December 1952, a dry smoky fog, not particularly dense, was seen over London. This was an era in which most homes were heated by coal fires and such fogs were not unusual. However, as night fell, anticyclonic weather patterns caused the fog to thicken and visibility dropped to a few metres. The fog brought road, air and rail transport to a virtual standstill. The smoke-like pollution … Down in the dumps
In 1950 the UN General Assembly designated 10 December Human Rights Day, commemorating the date of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The Declaration, coming in the shadow of a hideous conflict that cost 60 million lives, rested on the bold proposition that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. Few will question that principle even when cruel realities are very … Human Rights Day: what does it mean for T&T?
Countries all over the world take different approaches to the policing of marijuana possession and consumption. In many places it is widely assumed that the drug is legal, whereas in fact it is technically illegal, but tolerated in specific circumstances, such as a decision not to prosecute those who possess small amounts for personal use. In the United Kingdom, marijuana is a “Class B” drug: it’s illegal. The maximum penalty for supplying … Policing marijuana – the UK experience
Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a series of measures imposing severe restrictions and punishments on individuals who reveal that they either are or defend the rights of others to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender. Progress (or not) of LGBT Rights
Last time I flew from Port of Spain to London it proved to be quite a networking opportunity. As I trudged down the ‘plane through the mysterious world of First Class – seats so large that an entire family might feel comfortable – I bumped into an Honourable Cabinet Minister and some of his colleagues from a state-owned enterprise, all pretty jolly at the prospect of luxury travel. Further down the … APD: let’s talk about the real issues
On Monday 17 June the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, is hosting the annual G8 Summit, with the Heads of State and Government of the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan. With these countries still comprising half of global GDP, the bold steps we take by working together through the G8 can make a real difference by driving prosperity, not just in G8 countries, but all over the world. … The G8 Summit: Trade, transparency and tax
For those of us who enjoy the rather incomprehensible sport of mountaineering – by which I mean climbing real snowy mountains and not just hiking up the beautiful green hills we have here in Trinidad – 29 May is a significant date. On 29 May 1953 Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary became the first people to stand on the summit of Mount Everest. Some claim that the mountain had already been … Sixty Years Ago – the Crowning Glory
Earlier this month the Foreign and Commonwealth Office published its annual Human Rights and Democracy report, which details the UK’s efforts to promote Human Rights during 2012. Necessarily it covers very broad territory: there is work in the UN, the forum in which the UK seeks to promote a coordinated response from the international community to human rights violations. There is a section on the UK’s Human Rights and Democracy Programme that … Human Rights: Believing in Progress