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David Davis, Theresa May, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Union

Brexit deal agreement in full: Read the report published after phase one of talks

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David Davis, Theresa May, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier meet at the European Commission in Brussels on Friday morning - REUTERS
 
David Davis, Theresa May, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier meet at the European Commission in Brussels on Friday morning – REUTERS

Negotiators from the European Union and UK Government have made a breakthrough in Brexit talks.

A joint report setting out progress during phase one of the divorce deal has been published. Here is the 7,200-word document in full:

Joint report from EU and UK Brexit negotiators

This report, presented jointly by the negotiators of the European Union (Union) and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), records the progress made in the first phase of negotiations under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) on the UK’s orderly withdrawal from the Union.

Both Parties have reached agreement in principle across the following three areas under consideration in the first phase of negotiations, on which further detail is set out in this report:

  1. protecting the rights of Union citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the Union;
  2. the framework for addressing the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland;
  3. and the financial settlement.

Progress was also made in achieving agreement on aspects of other separation issues.

The positions detailed in this report form a single and coherent package. Agreement in principle has been reached on the package as a whole, as opposed to individual elements.

Under the caveat that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, the joint commitments set out below in this joint report shall be reflected in the Withdrawal Agreement in full detail. This does not prejudge any adaptations that might be appropriate in case transitional arrangements were to be agreed in the second phase of the negotiations, and is without prejudice to discussions on the framework of the future relationship.

Citizens’ rights

The overall objective of the Withdrawal Agreement with respect to citizens’ rights is to provide reciprocal protection for Union and UK citizens, to enable the effective exercise of rights derived from Union law and based on past life choices, where those citizens have exercised free movement rights by the specified date.

To date, both Parties have reached a common understanding on the following.

The specified date should be the time of the UK’s withdrawal.

The use of Union law concepts in the citizens’ rights Part of the Withdrawal Agreement is to be interpreted in line with the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) by the specified date;

Union citizens who in accordance with Union law legally reside in the UK, and UK nationals who in accordance with Union law legally reside in an EU27 Member State by the specified date, as well as their family members as defined by Directive 2004/38/EC who are legally resident in the host State by the specified date, fall within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement (for personal scope related to frontier workers, see paragraph 15, and for social security, see paragraph 28);

Within the scope of application of this Part of the Withdrawal Agreement and without prejudice to any special provisions therein, any discrimination on grounds of nationality will be prohibited in the host State and the State of work in respect of Union citizens and UK nationals, and their respective family members covered by the Withdrawal Agreement;

Irrespective of their nationality, the following categories of family members who were not residing in the host State on the specified date will be entitled to join a Union citizen or UK national right holder after the specified date for the life time of the right holder, on the same conditions as under current Union law:

  1. all family members as referred to in Article 2 of Directive 2004/38/EC, provided they were related to the right holder on the specified date and they continue to be so related at the point they wish to join the right holder;
  2. and children born, or legally adopted, after the specified date, whether inside or outside the host State, where:
  • the child is born to, or legally adopted by, parents who are both protected by the Withdrawal Agreement or where one parent is protected by the Withdrawal Agreement and the other is a national of the host State;
  • or the child is born to, or legally adopted by, a parent who is protected by the Withdrawal Agreement and who has sole or joint custody of the child under the applicable family law of an EU27 Member State or the UK and without prejudging the normal operation of that law, in particular as regards the best interests of the child;

The UK and EU27 Member States will facilitate entry and residence of partners in a durable relationship (Article 3(2)(b) of Directive 2004/38/EC) after the UK’s withdrawal in accordance with national legislation if the partners did not reside in the host state on the specified date, the relationship existed and was durable on the specified date and continues to exist at the point they wish to join the right holder;

The right to be joined by family members not covered by paragraphs 12 and 13 after the specified date will be subject to national law;

Those who on the specified date are working as frontier workers, as defined under Union law, fall within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement;

The UK and EU27 Member States can require persons concerned to apply to obtain a status conferring the rights of residence as provided for by the Withdrawal Agreement and be issued with a residence document attesting to the existence of that right. Where the host State requires persons concerned to apply for a status, no status is obtained if no successful application is made, subject to paragraph 17e. The UK and EU27 Member States can also continue with the present system under which entitlement of rights under the Withdrawal Agreement may be attested by any other means of proof than a residence document;

 

Administrative procedures for applications for status will be transparent, smooth and streamlined,2 in particular:

  1. The Withdrawal Agreement will specify that the host State cannot require anything more than is strictly necessary and proportionate to determine whether the criteria have been met. The Withdrawal Agreement will contain provisions that follow a similar approach to the provisions on evidential requirements in Directive 2004/38;
  2. The host State will avoid any unnecessary administrative burdens;
  3. Application forms will be short, simple, user friendly and adjusted to the context of the Withdrawal Agreement. The host State will work with the applicants to help them prove their eligibility under the Withdrawal Agreement and to avoid any errors or omissions that may impact on the application decision. Competent authorities will give applicants the opportunity to furnish supplementary evidence or remedy any deficiencies where it appears a simple omission has taken place. A principle of evidential flexibility will apply, enabling competent authorities to exercise discretion in favour of the applicant where appropriate;
  4.  proportionate approach will be taken to those who miss the deadline for application where there is a good reason. Applications made by families at the same time will be considered together;
  5. and where an application is required to obtain status, adequate time of at least two years will be allowed to persons within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement to submit their applications. During this time period, they will enjoy the rights conferred by the Withdrawal Agreement. Residence documents under the Withdrawal Agreement will be issued free of charge or for a charge not exceeding that imposed on nationals for the issuing of similar documents; 

Pending a final decision by the competent authorities on any application made for status under the Withdrawal Agreement, as well as a final judgment handed down in case of judicial redress sought against any rejection of such application, the citizens’ rights Part of the Withdrawal Agreement will apply to the applicant. The host State may remove applicants who submitted fraudulent or abusive applications from the territory under the conditions set out in Directive 2004/38/EC, in particular Articles 31 and 35, even before a final judgment has been handed down in case of judicial redress sought against any rejection of such application;

Decisions taken under the procedure for obtaining status under the Withdrawal Agreement will be made in accordance with the objective criteria established in the Withdrawal Agreement (i.e. no discretion, unless in favour of the applicant). There will be safeguards in the Withdrawal Agreement for a fair procedure, and decisions will be subject to the redress mechanisms and judicial controls provided in Directive 2004/38/EC;

The conditions for acquiring the right of residence under the Withdrawal Agreement are those set out in Articles 6 and 7 of Directive 2004/38/EC, including the right to change status;

The conditions for acquiring the right of permanent residence under the Withdrawal Agreement are those set out in Articles 16, 17 and 18 of Directive 2004/38/EC, with periods of lawful residence prior to the specified date included in the calculation of the conditions set out in Articles 16 and 17 of Directive 2004/38/EC;

The UK and EU27 Member States can apply more favourable national provisions in accordance with Article 37 of Directive 2004/38/EC;

In order to obtain status under the Withdrawal Agreement by application, those already holding a permanent residence document issued under Union law at the specified date will have that document converted into the new document free of charge, subject only to verification of identity, a criminality and security check and confirmation of ongoing residence;

Systematic criminality and security checks can – in the specific context of acquiring status under the Withdrawal Agreement – be carried out on all applicants for status under the Agreement and applicants can be asked to declare criminality. Any consequences arising from such checks and declarations shall be subject to the procedures in paragraphs 17 to 19;

Persons who acquired the permanent residence rights in the host State under the Withdrawal Agreement can be absent from its territory for a period not exceeding five consecutive years without losing their residence right under the Withdrawal Agreement;

Any restrictions on grounds of public policy or security related to conduct prior to the specified date of persons covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be in accordance with Chapter VI of Directive 2004/38/EC;

Any restrictions on grounds of public policy or security related to conduct after the specified date will be in accordance with national law;

Social security coordination rules set out in Regulations (EC) No 883/2004 and (EC) No 987/2009 will apply. Social security coordination rules will cover Union citizens who on the specified date are or have been subject to UK legislation and UK nationals who are or have been subject to the legislation of an EU27 Member State, and EU27 and UK nationals within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement by virtue of residence. Those rules will also apply, for the purposes of aggregation of periods of social security insurance, to Union and UK citizens having worked or resided in the UK or in an EU27 Member State in the past;

Rules for healthcare, including the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme, will follow Regulation (EC) No 883/2004. Persons whose competent state is the UK and are in the EU27 on the specified date (and vice versa) – whether on a temporary stay or resident – continue to be eligible for healthcare reimbursement, including under the EHIC scheme, as long as that stay, residence or treatment continues;

For rights and obligations set out in Regulations (EC) No 883/2004 and (EC) No 987/2009 on the coordination of social security systems, a mechanism will be established to decide jointly on the incorporation of future amendments to those Regulations in the Withdrawal Agreement;

Equal treatment will apply within the limits of Articles 18, 45 and 49 TFEU, Article 24 of Directive 2004/38/EC and Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 including rights of workers, self-employed, students and economically inactive citizens with respect to social security, social assistance, health care, employment, self-employment and setting up and managing an undertaking, education (including higher education) and training, social and tax advantages;

Decisions on recognition of qualifications granted to persons covered by the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement before the specified date in the host State and, for frontier workers, the State of work (either the UK or an EU27 Member State) under Title III of Directive 2005/36/EC (recognition of professional qualifications where the person concerned was exercising the freedom of establishment), Article 10 of Directive 98/5/EC (lawyers who gained admission to the host State profession and are allowed to practise under the host State title alongside their home State title) and Article 14 of Directive 2006/43/EC (approved statutory auditors) will be grandfathered. Recognition procedures under these Directives that are ongoing on the specified date, in respect of the persons covered, will be completed under Union law and will be grandfathered.

Legal effects of the citizens’ rights part

It is of paramount importance to both Parties to give as much certainty as possible to UK citizens living in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK about their future rights. The Parties have therefore reached agreement on the following specific set of arrangements to implement and enforce the citizens’ rights Part of the agreement.

Both Parties agree that the Withdrawal Agreement should provide for the legal effects of the citizens’ rights Part both in the UK and in the Union. UK domestic legislation should also be enacted to this effect.

The provision in the Agreement should enable citizens to rely directly on their rights as set out in the citizens’ rights Part of the Agreement and should specify that inconsistent or incompatible rules and provisions will be disapplied. 

The UK Government will bring forward a Bill, the Withdrawal Agreement & Implementation Bill, specifically to implement the Agreement. This Bill will make express reference to the Agreement and will fully incorporate the citizens’ rights Part into UK law. Once this Bill has been adopted, the provisions of the citizens’ rights Part will have effect in primary legislation and will prevail over inconsistent or incompatible legislation, unless Parliament expressly repeals this Act in future. The Withdrawal Agreement will be binding upon the institutions of the Union and on its Member States from its entry into force pursuant to Article 216(2) TFEU.

Consistent interpretation of the citizens’ rights part

The Agreement establishes rights for both UK citizens living in the EU and EU citizens in the UK. To protect those rights and give citizens legal certainty, a consistent interpretation and application of the citizens’ rights Part is in the interest of both Parties to the Agreement and therefore appropriate mechanisms should be established to ensure this.

This Part of the Agreement establishes rights for citizens following on from those established in Union law during the UK’s membership of the European Union; the CJEU is the ultimate arbiter of the interpretation of Union law. In the context of the application or interpretation of those rights, UK courts shall therefore have due regard to relevant decisions of the CJEU after the specified date. The Agreement should also establish a mechanism enabling UK courts or tribunals to decide, having had due regard to whether relevant case-law exists, to ask the CJEU questions of interpretation of those rights where they consider that a CJEU ruling on the question is necessary for the UK court or tribunal to be able to give judgment in a case before it. This mechanism should be available for UK courts or tribunals for litigation brought within 8 years from the date of application of the citizens’ rights Part.

Consistent interpretation of the citizens’ rights Part should further be supported and facilitated by an exchange of case law between the courts and regular judicial dialogue. In the same vein, it is envisaged to give the UK Government and the European Commission the right to intervene in relevant cases before the CJEU and before UK courts and tribunals respectively.

The implementation and application of the citizens’ rights Part will be monitored in the Union by the Commission acting in conformity with the Union Treaties. In the UK, this role will be fulfilled by an independent national authority; its scope and functions, including its role in acting on citizens’ complaints, will be discussed between the parties in the next phase of the negotiations and reflected in the Withdrawal Agreement. There should be regular exchange of information between the UK Government and the Commission.

The approach agreed in the context of the citizens’ rights Part of the Withdrawal Agreement reflects both Parties’ desire to give those citizens certainty. It in no way prejudges discussions on other elements of the Withdrawal Agreement, including governance, other separation issues or any possible transitional arrangements, nor discussions on the future relationship.

Ireland and Northern Ireland

Both Parties affirm that the achievements, benefits and commitments of the peace process will remain of paramount importance to peace, stability and reconciliation. They agree that the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement reached on 10 April 1998 by the United Kingdom Government, the Irish Government and the other participants in the multi-party negotiations (the ‘1998 Agreement’) must be protected in all its parts, and that this extends to the practical application of the 1998 Agreement on the island of Ireland and to the totality of the relationships set out in the Agreement.

The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union presents a significant and unique challenge in relation to the island of Ireland. The United Kingdom recalls its commitment to protecting the operation of the 1998 Agreement, including its subsequent implementation agreements and arrangements, and to the effective operation of each of the institutions and bodies established under them. The United Kingdom also recalls its commitment to the avoidance of a hard border, including any physical infrastructure or related checks and controls.

Both Parties recognise the need to respect the provisions of the 1998 Agreement regarding the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the principle of consent. The commitments set out in this joint report are and must remain fully consistent with these provisions. The United Kingdom continues to respect and support fully Northern Ireland’s position as an integral part of the United Kingdom, consistent with the principle of consent.

The United Kingdom respects Ireland’s ongoing membership of the European Union and all of the corresponding rights and obligations that entails, in particular Ireland’s place in the Internal Market and the Customs Union. The United Kingdom also recalls its commitment to preserving the integrity of its internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it, as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union’s Internal Market and Customs Union.

The commitments and principles outlined in this joint report will not pre-determine the outcome of wider discussions on the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom and are, as necessary, specific to the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland. They are made and must be upheld in all circumstances, irrespective of the nature of any future agreement between the European Union and United Kingdom.

Cooperation between Ireland and Northern Ireland is a central part of the 1998 Agreement and is essential for achieving reconciliation and the normalisation of relationships on the island of Ireland. In this regard, both Parties recall the roles, functions and safeguards of the Northern Ireland Executive, the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the North-South Ministerial Council (including its cross-community provisions) as set out in the 1998 Agreement. The two Parties have carried out a mapping exercise, which shows that North-South cooperation relies to a significant extent on a common European Union legal and policy framework. Therefore, the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union gives rise to substantial challenges to the maintenance and development of North-South cooperation.

The United Kingdom remains committed to protecting and supporting continued North-South and East-West cooperation across the full range of political, economic, security, societal and agricultural contexts and frameworks of cooperation, including the continued operation of the North-South implementation bodies.

The United Kingdom remains committed to protecting North-South cooperation and to its guarantee of avoiding a hard border. Any future arrangements must be compatible with these overarching requirements. The United Kingdom’s intention is to achieve these objectives through the overall EU-UK relationship. Should this not be possible, the United Kingdom will propose specific solutions to address the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland. In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the allisland economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement.

In the absence of agreed solutions, as set out in the previous paragraph, the United Kingdom will ensure that no new regulatory barriers develop between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, unless, consistent with the 1998 Agreement, the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly agree that distinct arrangements are appropriate for Northern Ireland. In all circumstances, the United Kingdom will continue to ensure the same unfettered access for Northern Ireland’s businesses to the whole of the United Kingdom internal market.

Both Parties will establish mechanisms to ensure the implementation and oversight of any specific arrangement to safeguard the integrity of the EU Internal Market and the Customs Union.

Both Parties acknowledge that the 1998 Agreement recognises the birth right of all the people of Northern Ireland to choose to be Irish or British or both and be accepted as such. The people of Northern Ireland who are Irish citizens will continue to enjoy rights as EU citizens, including where they reside in Northern Ireland. Both Parties therefore agree that the Withdrawal Agreement should respect and be without prejudice to the rights, opportunities and identity that come with European Union citizenship for such people and, in the next phase of negotiations, will examine arrangements required to give effect to the ongoing exercise of, and access to, their EU rights, opportunities and benefits.

The 1998 Agreement also includes important provisions on Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity for which EU law and practice has provided a supporting framework in Northern Ireland and across the island of Ireland. The United Kingdom commits to ensuring that no diminution of rights is caused by its departure from the European Union, including in the area of protection against forms of discrimination enshrined in EU law. The United Kingdom commits to facilitating the related work of the institutions and bodies, established by the 1998 Agreement, in upholding human rights and equality standards.

Both Parties recognise that the United Kingdom and Ireland may continue to make arrangements between themselves relating to the movement of persons between their territories (Common Travel Area), while fully respecting the rights of natural persons conferred by Union law. The United Kingdom confirms and accepts that the Common Travel Area and associated rights and privileges can continue to operate without affecting Ireland’s obligations under Union law, in particular with respect to free movement for EU citizens.

Both Parties will honour their commitments to the PEACE and INTERREG funding programmes under the current multi-annual financial framework. Possibilities for future support will be examined favourably.

Given the specific nature of issues related to Ireland and Northern Ireland, and on the basis of the principles and commitments set out above, both Parties agree that in the next phase work will continue in a distinct strand of the negotiations on the detailed arrangements required to give them effect. Such work will also address issues arising from Ireland’s unique geographic situation, including the transit of goods (to and from Ireland via the United Kingdom), in line with the approach established by the European Council Guidelines of 29 April 2017.

Financial settlement

Both Parties have agreed a methodology for the financial settlement.

This methodology consists of:

  1. a list of components;
  2. a set of principles for calculating the value of the financial settlement and payment modalities;
  3. arrangements for continued participation of the UK in the programmes of the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) until their closure;
  4. and financial and related arrangements for the European Investment Bank, the European Central Bank, European Union trust funds, the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, Council agencies and also the European Development Fund.

Components of the settlement

UK participation in Union annual budgets to 2020

The UK will contribute to, and participate in, the implementation of the Union annual budgets for the years 2019 and 2020 as if it had remained in the Union (including revenue adjustments ), on the basis of the applicable Union legal provisions including the Own Resources legislation. By derogation, any amendments to the Multiannual Financial Framework Regulation or Own Resources Decision adopted after the date of withdrawal, having an impact on the UK’s financial obligations, will not apply to the UK.

The normal process of annual revenue adjustment in respect of the year 2020 will be completed in accordance with the Own Resources Decision and the other relevant Union provisions. Amounts to be returned to, or returned by, the UK will be calculated as if the UK had remained in the Union. The UK will also participate in the surplus exercise with respect to 2020. In the second phase of negotiations, some simplification of the revenue adjustment procedure including time limitation could be agreed between the UK and the Union.

Outstanding commitments at the end of 2020 – Reste à liquider (RAL)

The UK will contribute its share of the financing of the budgetary commitments outstanding at 31 December 2020 (RAL).

Liabilities, contingent liabilities and corresponding assets

The UK will contribute its share of the financing of the Union’s liabilities incurred before 31 December 2020 except for liabilities with corresponding assets and any assets and liabilities which are related to the operation of the budget and the Own Resources Decision.

The UK will remain liable for its share of the Union’s contingent liabilities as established at the date of withdrawal. For those related to guarantees given by the Union budget to support financial operations (e.g. back-to-back loans for financial assistance, financial operations managed by the EIB such as EFSI or the external lending mandate, financial operations managed by other financial institutions, Union budgetary financial instruments), the UK liability will be limited to decisions on each financial operation adopted prior to the date of withdrawal. By derogation, for contingent liabilities related to legal cases as a result of participation in the budget, programmes and policies, the cut-off date will be 31 December 20208 . In the event of triggering of the Union contingent liabilities for which the UK is liable, the UK will receive its share of any subsequent recoveries.

As the provisioning needs for the financial operations associated with these contingent liabilities decline, the UK share of the paid-in guarantees constituted from the budget until the end of 2020 will be returned to the UK, provided that it has not been used for covering losses on the underlying financial operations, as well as any gains from these financial operations to be returned to all Member States, even if such funds would be recommitted.

Similarly, as the financial operations supported by the net asset of the European Coal and Steel Community in liquidation and of the European Investment Fund decided before the withdrawal date, mature, the UK will receive its share.

Union assets relating to Union space programmes (EGNOS, Galileo & Copernicus) are not part of the financial settlement. The UK’s past contribution to the financing of space assets could be discussed in the context of possible future access to the services offered.

Principles for calculating the value of the financial settlement

The implementation of the agreed methodology and the schedule of payments will be based on the following principles:

  1. The UK will not finance any commitments that do not require funding from Member States, and will receive a share of any financial benefits that would have fallen to it had it remained a Member State. In particular, the value of the RAL, as audited by the European Court of Auditors, will be adjusted to take into account the actual implementation of the Union’s commitments, taking into account decommitments and assigned revenue. The UK opt-outs leading to non-participation in Union programmes existing at the date of withdrawal will continue to apply in respect of the financial settlement.
  2. Except for the UK payments relating to UK participation to Union annual budgets to 2020 as set out in paragraphs 59 and 60, the UK share in relation with the Union budget will be a percentage calculated as the ratio between the own resources made available by the UK from the year 2014 to 2020 and the own resources made available by all Member States, including the UK, during the same period.
  3. Payments arising from the financial settlement will become due as if the UK had remained a Member State. In particular, the UK will not be required to incur expenditures earlier than would be the case had it remained a Member State unless agreed by both sides.9 It may be appropriate for the UK and the Union to agree on a simplified procedure for settling some elements of the payment schedule in the second phase of negotiations. Such a procedure should be based on an agreed forecast and, where appropriate, provision for subsequent review and correction.

The financial settlement will be drawn up and paid in euro.

Data for the calculation of UK obligations will be drawn up from publicly available sources where possible, and audited by the European Court of Auditors. Additional information necessary for the calculation of the UK’s share of Union obligations will be transmitted to the UK. The Union will provide the UK with the management and accounting information necessary to verify the components of the financial settlement in a timely manner.

The second phase of the negotiations will address the practical modalities for implementing the agreed methodology and the schedule of payments.

UK participation in programmes of the MFF 2014-2020

Following withdrawal from the Union, the UK will continue to participate in the Union programmes financed by the MFF 2014-202010 until their closure (excluding participation in financial operations which give rise to a contingent liability for which the UK is not liable as from the date of withdrawal). Entities located in the UK will be entitled to participate in such programmes. Participation in Union programmes will require the UK and UK beneficiaries to respect all relevant Union legal provisions including co-financing. Accordingly, the eligibility to apply to participate in Union programmes and Union funding for UK participants and projects will be unaffected by the UK’s withdrawal from the Union for the entire lifetime of such projects.

In the second phase of negotiations it could be agreed that some rules related to Union programmes that would be considered as not relevant in relation to a departing Member State would not apply. As part of the second phase of negotiations, the Union and the UK could also decide to agree to simplified procedures so as to avoid unnecessary administrative burdens extending well beyond the end of the current multiannual financial framework, provided that they respect the sound financial management of the Union budget and do not result in discrimination in favour of the UK or UK beneficiaries. The UK and the Union could also agree on administrative procedures to facilitate the management of specific programmes.

The UK states that it may wish to participate in some Union budgetary programmes of the new MFF post-2020 as a non-Member State.

Other components of the settlement – Union bodies and funds related to Union policies

European Investment Bank (EIB)

The financial settlement should not disrupt the operational functioning of the EIB as a result of the UK withdrawal in relation to the stock of operations (i.e. loans and other financial instruments) at that point.

In this context, the UK will provide a guarantee for an amount equal to its callable capital on the day of withdrawal. This guarantee will be decreased in line with the amortisation of the stock of EIB operations at the date of withdrawal, starting on the date on which the outstanding stock reaches an amount equal to the total subscribed capital on the date of withdrawal and ending on the date it equals the total paid-in capital on the date of withdrawal, both as defined in the EIB statute.

The UK share of the paid-in capital will be reimbursed in twelve annual instalments starting at the end of 201911. The UK remains liable for the reimbursed amount of paid-in capital until the outstanding stock of EIB operations equals the total paid-in capital on the date of withdrawal, at which point the liability will start to be amortised in line with the remaining non-amortised operations.

Apart from these reimbursements, the EIB will not make any other payment, return or remuneration on account of the withdrawal of the UK from the EIB or on account of the provision by the UK of a guarantee.

Any call to the callable guarantee or the paid-in (cash or guarantee) will be “paripassu” with calls on or payments made by the Member States provided that it is used for covering operations at the withdrawal date or for covering risks (such as ALM (Asset-Liability management) risks or operational risks) attributable to the stock of operations at the date of withdrawal. For other such risks not associated with specific loans and not attributable to the stock of operations built after the date of withdrawal, the UK responsibility will be proportional to the ratio between the stock of outstanding operations and the total amount of operations at the date of the event.

The UK will maintain the EIB’s privileges and immunities under Protocols 5 and 7 annexed to the Treaties throughout the amortisation of the EIB’s stock of operations at the date of withdrawal.

The UK considers that there could be mutual benefit from a continuing arrangement between the UK and the EIB. The UK wishes to explore these possible arrangements in the second phase of the negotiations.

After the date of withdrawal, UK projects will not be eligible for new operations from the EIB reserved for Member States, including those under Union mandates.

European Central Bank (ECB)

The paid-in capital of the UK in the ECB will be reimbursed to the Bank of England (BoE) after the date of withdrawal. Modalities and other practical arrangements will be established by the ECB Governing Council following the rules of the Treaties and its Protocol 4.

Facility for Refugees in Turkey, European Union trust funds

The UK will honour the commitments it made before withdrawal for participating in the Facility for Refugees in Turkey and the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa. The existing modalities of payments will be maintained unless otherwise agreed in the second phase.

European Development Fund (EDF)

The UK will remain party to the European Development Fund (EDF) which is governed by a separate international agreement and is outside the Union budget until the closure of the 11th EDF. The UK will honour its share of the total commitments made under this EDF and the payments related to its share of the outstanding commitments made under previous EDFs. The existing modalities of payments will be maintained unless otherwise agreed in the second phase.

The UK share of the Investment Facility of the EDF from successive EDF periods will be returned to the UK as the investment matures. Unless agreed otherwise, the UK’s capital share will not be recommitted beyond the end of the 11th EDF commitment period or rolled over into subsequent periods. Reflecting the ongoing commitment in relation to the EDF, the UK and the Union will agree on governance arrangements in the second phase, that take into account the continued participation of the UK in the 11th EDF, that the EDF falls under a separate international agreement and the UK’s withdrawal from the Union.

The Commission welcomes the UK Government’s offer to discuss with Union Agencies located in London how they might facilitate their relocation, in particular as regards reducing the withdrawal costs.

Other separation issues

In the negotiations to date, both Parties have engaged in thorough discussion of the other separation issues in scope in this phase. These discussions have enabled good progress in identifying areas of convergence and divergence. The below text records the progress made in achieving agreement on a number of issues. There remain areas where further discussions will be required to reach agreement during the next phase of negotiations.

The UK and the Commission have both proposed further issues for consideration in this phase. However, where there was not mutual agreement that an issue should be discussed in this phase of the negotiations, it has been agreed to return to it later.

On Euratom-related (nuclear specific) issues both Parties have agreed principles for addressing the key separation issues relating to the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom. This includes agreement that the UK will be responsible for international nuclear safeguards in the UK and is committed to a future regime that provides coverage and effectiveness equivalent to existing Euratom arrangements. Both sides have also agreed the principles of ownership for special fissile material (save for material held in the UK by EU27 entities) and responsibility for spent fuel and radioactive waste.

On ensuring continuity in the availability of goods placed on the market under Union law before withdrawal both Parties recognise the need to provide legal certainty and minimise disruption to business and consumers. Both Parties have agreed the principles that the goods placed on the market under Union law before withdrawal may freely circulate on the markets of the UK and the Union with no need for product modifications or re-labelling; be put into service where provided in Union law, and that the goods concerned should be subject to continued oversight.

On cooperation in civil and commercial matters there is a need to provide legal certainty and clarity. There is general consensus between both Parties that Union rules on conflict of laws should continue to apply to contracts before the withdrawal date and non-contractual obligations where an event causing damage occurred before the withdrawal date. There was also agreement to provide legal certainty as to the circumstances under which Union law on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgements will continue to apply, and that judicial cooperation procedures should be finalised.

On police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters there is a need to provide legal certainty and clarity. Both Parties broadly agree on the principle that all structured and formalised cooperation procedures ongoing on withdrawal date that have passed a certain threshold (to be defined) should be completed under Union law.

On ongoing Union judicial procedures, both Parties have agreed that the CJEU should remain competent for UK judicial procedures registered at the CJEU on the date of withdrawal, and that those procedures should continue through to a binding judgment.

On ongoing Union administrative proceedings both Parties have deepened their understanding of the respective positions, and explored some areas, such as competition, state aid and examinations of the Community Plant Variety Office.

On issues relating to the functioning of the Union institutions, agencies and bodies, both Parties agree that an arrangement which closely mirrors Union privileges and immunities should remain applicable to activities that took place before withdrawal and as regards new activities foreseen in the Withdrawal Agreement; that both sides continue to ensure compliance with obligations of professional secrecy; and that classified information and other documents obtained by both sides whilst the UK was a Member State retain the same level of protection as before withdrawal.

This report is put forward with a view to the meeting of the European Council (Article 50) of 14 and 15 December 2017. It is also agreed by the UK on the condition of an overall agreement under Article 50 on the UK’s withdrawal, taking into account the framework for the future relationship, including an agreement as early as possible in 2018 on transitional arrangements.

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Raúl Castro defends more unity and integration Cuba-Caricom

Raúl Castro defends more unity and integration Cuba-Caricom

Antigua and Barbuda, Dec 8. 2017 – Cuban President Raúl Castro today called for unity in diversity, integration and genuine cooperation among Caribbean states to face common challenges and problems of the region and the world.

In a speech on the opening day of the 6th summit of his country and the Caribbean Community (Caricom), the head of state also warned of the dangers that loom and increase over the human species.

“How can we face the challenge of moving towards development in the midst of the deep economic, social, political and environmental crisis that this hemisphere and the world is suffering?”, Raúl Castro asked the Prime Ministers of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, and Granada, Keith Mitchell.

“The dangers for the survival of the human species increase. The consequences of the application of concepts not universally accepted as ‘humanitarian intervention” and “responsibility to protect”, are used to cover interventionist and aggressive actions that threaten international peace and security”, he said.

Such situations, the Cuban president said, “call us to defend international law and the full validity of the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations”.

Raúl Castro considered that the Caribbean countries should be articulated to demand a fair action by the industrialized powers in order to mitigate and adapt the effects of climate change, “particularly with financial resources and technology transfer”, he added.

Likewise, he said, “we should agree on approaches to the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and, especially, to collectively face the mechanisms of domination imposed on us by the unjust international financial system”.

In his address to the other leaders of the 14 nations of the regional body, the Cuban president expressed the will of Havana to promote and promote ties with its neighbors in various areas.

“I reiterate Cuba’s invariable position of supporting, in all circumstances, the right of small island states and developing nations to receive special and differential treatment in access to trade and investment”.

“We will continue to receive Caribbean students in our universities. The 5,640 young people of the Caribbean who have been trained and the 695 who are currently studying in them”, he emphasized.

Likewise, the Cuban leader considered that the thousand 762 Cuban collaborators present in all the countries of Caricom, of whom 1,469 in the health sector, “are part of Cuba’s contribution to the development of the Caribbean peoples”.

We intend to advance in the development of trade and investments. Between 2014 and 2016, commercial exchange grew by 70 percent. This year marches at a good pace, assessed.

He added that the “broad and diverse” participation of Caribbean companies and agencies in the recent International Fair of Havana augurs greater growth in that regard.

“We welcome the implementation in January 2018 of the Second Protocol to the bilateral Trade and Cooperation Agreement, a document that expands tariff preferences granted by Cuba and facilitates access to our markets”, said President Raul Castro. (PL)

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Director of Public Prosecutions D.P.P. Oris Sullivan

Doctor guilty on indecent assault charge

Indecent assault guilty verdict against doctor

Dr Franklin Perkins

The East Caribbean High Court in Montserrat concluded the week’s criminal assizes with the unanimous guilty verdict returned in the matter where a medical practitioner was charged with indecent assault of a patient in March this year.

The verdict has and will surprise many as the whole question of trial by ‘jury’ gets into the spotlight once again.

Our report posted on March 3 read as follows: On Wednesday evening (March 1) in the ZJB evening news a report which turned out to be shocking on the one hand and not so surprising on the other. “Police say they have arrested a medical practitioner for allegedly indecently assaulting a patient. A senior police officer told ZJB News that the investigation is in an infancy stage and that the medical doctor is now assisting the police with their investigation.”

Director of Public Prosecutions D.P.P. Oris Sullivan

Today it’s been reported: “A medical practitioner who was in February this year charged for indecently assaulting a patient has been found guilty. The nine-member jury of five women and four men, returned the unanimous guilty verdict against Dr. Franklin Perkins…”

Dr Perkins who was charged for indecently assaulting a nineteen-year-old female in his private surgery at Cudjoe Head, has been granted bail pending sentencing in March next year.

Reportedly, the sixty-seven-year-old doctor told the court that he has been practising on Montserrat for the past 27 years most of which have been in the employ of the government of Montserrat as an anesthesiologist.

 

Senior Counsel David S. Brandt

The court heard from five prosecution witnesses while the defence called Dr Perkins and his wife as witnesses. Director of Public Prosecutions D.P.P. Oris Sullivan, senior Crown counsel Kenroy Hyman and crown counsel Cora Galloway presented for the crown. While Dr. Perkins was represented by senior counsels, David S. Brandt and Karl Marham.

 

Doctors in back in March had expressed concern at the arrest of Perkins after they heard the preliminary charge. The doctors revealed that while in court they learnt that the charges were brought  on the accusation that the Doctor had touched the woman’s breasts, her abdomen and her buttocks.

Senior Counsel Karl Marham

One doctor said: “If you have to walk into a doctor’s office and get examined and you come out and you can go to the police station and accuse this person who you went to see as assaulting you with the mere fact that you have been examined, is really serious.”

Meanwhile the concern expressed by another doctor said: “As medical professionals we spend a lot of time with patients and therefore we’re particularly vulnerable to accusations like this,” adding, “and therefore I think as a team we’ve got to put things in place to make sure that such things don’t happen again…”
One other doctor who reportedly has since left the island, had said, the allegations against Dr. Perkins was a serious against the ‘medical profession’ in Montserrat. He had said he was very uncomfortable with the thought that he can end up in the ‘lock-up’, “so, I’m leaving – its goodbye Montserrat.”

 (see: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/doctors-plan-strike-in-indecent-assault-arrest/)

Posted in Court, Crime, Featured, Local, News0 Comments

Vice President Miss Jose White

Teachers frustrated with no communication from the Ministry of Education

Teachers under the Montserrat Union of Teachers (MUT) have, in a surprising if not unusual move invited the press to tell them of the union’s disappointment and frustration over the Ministry of Education’s alleged unwillingness to address health and safety hazards within the schools, salaries and training for teachers.

The press conference took place last Thursday November 23, 2017 at the Police Conference centre. where representatives of the teachers’ union say the Caribbean Union of Teachers is providing them with advice on how to move forward.

The Montserrat teachers say they are alarmed over the apparent unresponsiveness of officials regarding teachers’ concerns that were communicated to the Ministry of Education several times since January this year.

President Miss Denise Silcott

Miss Denise Silcott is the president of the MUT and with her other representatives explain: The current Executive Officers of the Montserrat Union of Teachers (MUT) were elected in November 2016. They then consulted with teachers in December 2016 and had an audience with the Minister of Education, Permanent Secretary and Director of Education in January. During this conference, they reported that they have received no substantive response from the Ministry.

Among the many issues they communicated with the Ministry are: For example, broken fences and windows, safety of stairs that are “slippery”; the longstanding need to replace the Brades Primary school’s bathroom, repairs to the roof of Salem Nursery School, inadequate pay, the need to recognise teachers as professionals, provision of training for untrained teachers, teachers being on probationary status for up to five years; a draft code of ethics that was based on the OECS code; their request for a salary increase of fifteen (15) percent given accumulated inflation over the years, and much more. 

Vice President Miss Jose White

As part of the list: teachers who are on a prolonged probationary status are blocked from getting bank loans for a house or the like, and this is part of why they request urgent action for such teachers.

They explained in addition, where also, if annual performance reports are delayed by superiors, teachers cannot get increments. Some of these specific concerns have indeed come up as line-items in the June 9, 2017 Budget or in the November 23, 2017 Supplementary Appropriation Bill, but the teachers’ key concern is the lack of regular two-way communication.

Secretary Miss Charliena White

As recently as October 2, MUT again says they wrote the officials. They requested a timeline for action but received no response. However, the teacher’s report, people have been observed inspecting some of the broken fences and the like.

On October 25, the MUT wrote a follow up letter, but again there has been no response up to November 23.

In the press conference, Miss Silcott, MUT President, argued that of the various challenges, “communication is the easiest to fix” and that if it is fixed “others will fall into place.”

Teachers – who are Civil Servants in Montserrat – received the recent 3% salary increase announced in the June 9, 2017 Budget presentation. In addition, some have received the additional 7 – 10% increase for those at the lowest levels of the Public Service. However, the MUT leadership reports that such an increase is grossly insufficient. For example, they note, a $132 per month “three percent” increase is subject to tax and is much less than the cumulative impact of inflation over the years. They also argue that if Montserrat’s teachers were recognised as professionals, they would be eligible for increments and allowances that come with that status. This is a part of the reason why the teachers have submitted a draft professional code of conduct and are awaiting the Ministry’s response.

Public Relations Officer (PRO) Ritchlyn Duke-Hackett

While the Ministry says little or ‘no comment’ except that ‘a response would be provided to the media in due course, the teachers say, “The easiest one of the lot to me, (Silcott) to fix is the communication issue. If the communication issue is fixed then the others would automatically fall in place. That is what you’ve noticed from what we’ve said is that we have highlighted these things it’s not that we don’t want to work with the ministry, we’re not hearing from them.”

The MUT leaders say strike action is not on their agenda, noting that under the General Orders, teachers, nurses and police are forbidden from taking strike action, so they are publicising their concerns and are appealing for support.

Posted in Education, Featured, Local, News, Regional1 Comment

EGYPT-UNREST-SINAI

At least 235 killed in Egypt mosque attack

CBS News

EL-ARISH, Egypt — Militants attacked a crowded mosque during Friday prayers in the Sinai Peninsula, setting off explosives, spraying worshippers with gunfire and killing at least 235 people in the deadliest ever attack by Islamic extremists in Egypt.

The attack targeted a mosque frequented by Sufis, members of Islam’s mystical movement, in the north Sinai town of Bir al-Abd. Islamic militants, including the local ISIS affiliate, consider Sufis heretics because of their less literal interpretations of the faith.

The ISIS affiliate has been waging a stepped-up campaign of violence in northern Sinai for years and has claimed deadly bombings on churches in the capital, Cairo, and other cities, killing dozens of Christians. It also is believed to have been behind the 2016 downing of a Russian passenger jet that killed 226.

But this was the first major militant attack on a Muslim mosque and the startling bloodshed eclipsed any past attacks of its kind, even dating back to a previous Islamic militant insurgency in the 1990s.

EGYPT-UNREST-SINAI

Egyptians walk past bodies following a gun and bombing attack at the Rawda mosque, roughly 40 kilometers west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish, on November 24, 2017. A bomb explosion ripped through the mosque before gunmen opened fire on the worshippers gathered for weekly Friday prayers, officials said. 

Stringer / AFP/Getty Images

The militants opened fire from four off-road vehicles on worshippers inside the mosque during the sermon, blocking off escape routes from the area by blowing up cars and leaving the burning wrecks blocking the roads, three police officers on the scene said.

Victims including some 130 wounded were rushed to local hospitals, they added, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to brief reporters.

No one claimed responsibility immediately following the attack, but ISIS has targeted Sufis several times in the area in the past, notably beheading a leading Sufi religious figure, the blind sheikh Suleiman Abu Heraz, last year and posting photos of the killing online.

President Donald Trump condemned the “cowardly” attack on Twitter, and took the opportunity to tout the need for a border wall and travel ban, even though his most recent ban doesn’t affect Egypt. He also said he would be speaking with Egypt’s president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, later Friday.

Images circulating on social media showed dozens of bloodied bodies wrapped up in sheets laid across the mosque floor, while others revealed dozens of relatives queuing up outside the hospital as ambulances raced back and forth.

Resident Ashraf el-Hefny said many of the victims were workers at a nearby salt firm who had come for Friday services at the mosque, which had contained some 300 worshipers.

“Local people brought the wounded to hospital on their own cars and trucks,” he said by telephone.

Egypt’s state news agency reported the casualty toll, citing “official sources,” revising it upward several times following the officials’ initial reports.

MENA reported that Egypt’s presidency declared a three-day mourning period, as President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi convened a high-level meeting of security officials.

Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi has condemned the extremist attack on a mosque in the troubled Sinai Peninsula, calling it “criminal” and “cowardly” and expressing condolences to the victims and their families.

In a statement after the meeting, el-Sissi said the attack “will not go unpunished” and that Egypt will persevere with its war on terrorism. The suffering of the victims was not in vain, he added, and will only “add to our insistence” to combat extremists. Addressing the nation later on television, he repeated his view that Egypt was fighting a battle for the rest of the world.

Cairo’s international airport boosted security following the attack, with more troopers and forces seen patrolling passenger halls, conducting searches and manning checkpoints at airport approaches.

 

State condolences poured in for Egypt, including messages from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, the U.S., Russia, France and Britain condemning the violence.

Security forces have been battling militants in northern Sinai for years, but attacks to date have focused on military and police assets, although assassinations of individuals ISIS considers government spies or religious heretics are not uncommon.

Hundreds of soldiers and militants have been killed in the conflict, although exact numbers are unclear as journalists and independent investigators are banned from the area.

In September, ISIS militants ambushed a police convoy in Sinai, killing 18 police and wounding seven others in one of the deadliest attacks this year in the restive region bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip. 

The ongoing violence in Sinai shows the resilience of the militants there in the face of a years-long campaign to eradicate them by the military and police, which between them command far superior firepower, air support, heavy armor and larger numbers.

Egypt is also facing a growing number of attacks by militants in its Western Desert, including an attack last month that killed 16 police, according to an official tally issued by the Interior Ministry. Security officials have told journalists that dozens more, including high-ranking counterterrorism officers, perished in the Oct. 20 attack some 135 84 miles southwest of the capital, Cairo.

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Claude Gerald

Marijuana Discussion Denied

Freedom of Expression sought and denied, but full-scale forum discussion follows

Claude Gerald

It was only a few months ago when a social commentator lost his case, and yet again, in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme and Appeal Courts when he challenged for being disallowed to exercise his freedom of speech in presenting on the medical uses of marijuana.

Claude Gerald was speaking on the Warren Cassell show when he assured he was in fact not addressing the illegality of the use of marijuana, but merely highlighting a study which spoke to the medical benefits of the plant.

Management of the radio station ZJB Radio Montserrat cut the program at the beginning, while on another occasion had refused him the privilege to speak on another health promotion topic, the benefits of coconut oil and aloe vera.

Gerald provides an account captioned: “Another Defeat for Social Activist Claude Gerald”

Claude Gerald lost his second outing in a civil court on Montserrat as his lawyer, Dr. David Dorsett did not convince the three-man Appeal Court Judges of their case.

Gerald, a proven campaigner for human rights and the right to hold and air an opinion, won a land mark case in the appeal court when he sued the Governor of Montserrat and others, for removing him from his position as Director of Agriculture and placing him on a desk at the Ministry of Finance in 2004. 

This time he sued the management of the local radio station, ZJB and the Attorney General’s Office, following his immediate removal as a guest commentator on a program hosted by Warren Cassell, a feature facilitator on radio.

Gerald an agricultural economist and natural health promoter, extolled the highly touted virtues and attributes of Canabbis Sativa, marijuana, claiming its benefits are superior for the health of a population fitting ‘hand in glove’ with human body needs.

He relied on the Montserrat Constitution, Sections 2 and 13, which afforded a right to freedom of expression. This principle is recognized by courts in the Commonwealth and the Privy Council. It is especially so when it comes to conveying ideas that are contrary to the established order, including the established legal order.

Mr. Gerald argued that his right to freedom of expression was infringed by the ‘in mid-air’ removal from the mid-morning live broadcast, less than 2 minutes into being heard.

ZJB management through the Attorney General’s Office argued that ‘the discussion on marijuana, 29th January 2014, was stopped because it would have appeared that Radio Montserrat, a Government owned radio station was supporting or promoting the use of marijuana, a substance which is illegal on Montserrat.’ Its actions were defended on the grounds of public order.

The following week the Activist was again interrupted when he began to speak on the benefits of coconut oil and aloe aloe vera, food items that alternate health promoters revere. This time it was argued that no permission was rendered for Mr. Gerald’s return to the air waves.

The appeal judges on Tuesday, recessed for two hours and gave an oral judgement to seal a much anticipated outcome.

There is a kind of irony in this case as the day the appeal was heard in Montserrat TMR’s Facebook page carried a news item two days before about a consultation on Marijuana use which would have been taking place the same day. We commented. “On the same day there may be heard in the Appeal Court a move by the Attorney General’s office to throw out an appeal in the matter where the discussion on medical benefits of marijuana, or maybe more appropriately a presentation on ZJB was halted by the management. This was challenged in the Court and the judge ruled in favour of the Radio Station and that was appealed. The discussion needs to take place.”

One week later there was information announcing a town hall consultation surrounding the use of marijuana in Montserrat.

Gerald did not mention his surprise at the Appeal Court’s decision to dismiss his appeal upholding Judge Redhead’s decision that the Radio station’s management had every right to stop any discussion on the illegality of the use of marijuana.

Gerald has not confirmed that he will take this matter further, as he is known not to back down on his conviction and of course waits for the advice of his counsel.

He had challenged on his constitutional rights being denied as per: Section 13(1) of the Montserrat Constitution. “13. (1) Except with his or her consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of expression, and for the purposes of this section the said freedom includes freedom to hold opinions and freedom to receive and impart ideas and information without interference, and freedom from interference with his or her correspondence and other means of communication.”

The court ruled in favour of the management in appears on “ensuring the proper performance of their functions,” on the following: “(2) Nothing in any law or done under its authority shall be held to contravene this section to the extent that it is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society—

  • in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health;

It is of serious note that following the discussions that took place as mentioned above, the ‘decriminalisation of marijuana use was discussed or received mention and explanation in the Legislative Assembly, yesterday. (see story “Montserrat promotes the marijuana discussion”}

ZJB Radio who had pulled the matter of its medical use on the station, in carrying the Legass discussion and excerpts from the CARICOM led discussion also carried an economist view point on the decriminalisation.

Indeed, the East Caribbean Court Supreme Court may well get a lesson on what was reasonably justifiable in all the circumstances today surrounding. Surely it ought not be possible to prevent anyone the freedom to express his or her disagreement with anything that is deemed illegal in a friendly and orderly manner. Was that even the issue in this case? The matter of creating disorder, that is!

TMR asks the question now, will Gerald be refunded his expenses in taking issue forward to protect the right taken away earlier. Perhaps it will take the Opposition to lead on this.

 

Posted in Court, Featured, Legal, Local, News0 Comments

MARIA 5

How to build back better after a hurricane with the next one a few months away

By Irwin LaRocque and Achim Steiner*

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Nov 17, CMC – Imagine relocating the entire population of your country in the face of a colossal hurricane and two months later still not being able to get back home. Now imagine spending several nights in a shelter and taking a stroll the next morning only to find what you used to call community, city or country reduced to an apocalyptic scene.

MARIA 5
Hurricane damage in Dominica (CMC Photo)

This is no fiction. Irma and Maria, two back-to-back Category 5 hurricanes, the most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic, swept across the Caribbean in September, cutting a swathe of destruction, taking lives, devastating infrastructure and severely damaging the economies of small climate-vulnerable countries.

Entire islands were decimated, like Barbuda, the smaller of the two-island state of Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica, both members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands were also devastated while The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands were severely affected. Haiti and St Kitts and Nevis also suffered damage. All of the islands are members or Associate Members of CARICOM.

The island of St Marten, divided between Sint Maarten, a constituent country of the Kingdom of Netherlands and St Martin, a dependency of France as well as Cuba and the Dominican Republic were impacted, in addition to Puerto Rico and Florida, in the United States.

The principal economic sectors of tourism and agriculture have been very significantly affected, the resulting loss of jobs compounding the anguish of the loss of homes. In-depth damage assessments in Barbuda and Dominica are still on going, but initial estimates indicate recovery costs could be more than three billion US dollars.

These hurricanes were a game changer. Not even in the Caribbean, which is the most natural disaster-prone Region in the world, had anything like this been experienced before. The occurrence of successive Category 5 hurricanes signals a dangerous change in the intensity and frequency of climate-related storms, and heralds the advent of a new normal.

The number of severe hurricanes is projected to increase by 40 percent, if global temperatures rise by 2°C and up to 80 percent should they rise by 4°, according to a World Bank report entitled “Turn down the Heat”. With the resulting sea-level rise, this will have devastating effects on all Small Island Developing States (SIDS), but particularly those in the Caribbean, this study confirms.

Since the hurricanes hit, the governments of Antigua and Barbuda and the Dominica along with the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) have been working on the ground hand-in-hand with UN teams, co-led by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) with an urgent task.

Also on the front line have been other CARICOM member states and specialised Institutions, France and its departments in the Caribbean, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, the United States and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Women and men are working around the clock to build back better. They need more resilient communities that are ready to cope with the next hurricane season only seven months ahead.

But rebuilding from the increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters will be impossible without international support, particularly considering the overwhelming climate-vulnerability and crippling debt burdens of these vulnerable SIDS.

The needs are urgent. But there are three crucial opportunities at hand. First, the Conference of The Parties (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, 6-17 November, is a vital moment for the world to come together and act on climate change.

Then, on 21 November at the UN headquarters in New York a UN-CARICOM pledging conference provides the opportunity for the world to support affected Caribbean countries as they build back better, especially considering that they have been bearing the brunt of climate change without having contributed to the problem.

Finally, now, more than ever, it is fundamental that the international community rethinks traditional criteria for concessional development financing based primarily on GDP per capita. These affected nations are being denied full access to such financing based on being ranked as Middle Income countries.

The criteria must take into account the economic and environmental vulnerability of SIDS.

Now is the time to act. If Caribbean countries are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 they need urgent accessing to financing—including for climate change adaptation. In view of such urgent needs, UNDP’s Caribbean Human Development Report “Multidimensional Progress: human resilience beyond income”, launched a year ago, called for improved standards that take into account multiple indicators, or well-being measurements beyond income alone.

If the world has vowed to eradicate poverty by 2030 it is crucial to invest in boosting communities’, countries’ and entire regions’ resilience in the social, economic and environmental fronts.

Building back better is an essential part of this effort. We invite the world to support the Caribbean countries through global action on climate and during the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference: Building a More Climate-Resilient Community. We must all act now, before it’s too late.

*Irwin LaRocque is the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

*Achim Steiner is UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator

Posted in Featured, Features, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

DSC_3165

Royal Bank of Canada, Montserrat celebrates its 100th year of presence

100 years – “no mean feat” a cause for celebration

It was described ‘as no mean feat’ as the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) today, Friday, celebrated the land mark existence which comes on Sunday, November 19, 2017 at its branch offices in Brades.

Clients, customers and well-wishers joined in the celebration with members of the local staff as well as visiting officials of the RBC family.

Branch manager Miss Lucille Irish was excited to be a part of the history of the bank as she recalls her own time with the bank. “It’s been an experience for me,” she said. “I came from town (the buried Plymouth) as a teller… I worked myself right up to being the bank’s manager right now. It’s been a challenge but it has been a good one,” she continued as she praised her support. “I had good strong support right throughout RBC with my boss, with the managing director, being my strength, my power and staff here and everybody throughout RBC.”

Visiting RBC Managing director and marketing head, personal banking of the Eastern Caribbean, Isaac Solomon, along with Regional vice president, Southern Caribbean Roger Cogel, were also on hand for the occasion.

Isaac spoke to the press in a very brief interview, aired live as Radio Montserrat obliged with their outdoor crew, setting up its broadcast for the middle of the day, morning into the afternoon, in the reception area of the Bank.

“It is a real pleasure for me to be here in Montserrat. So first of all let me thank the citizens of Montserrat our employees past and present and the business community citizens, who would have collaborated over those one hundred years,” he said.

“I want to say special thanks for your loyalty, he continued. “So 100 hundred-year milestone is significant by any measure, being many of us wouldn’t get to that age. And so for us to be celebrating 100 years of service to the people of Montserrat, is indeed significant.”

The MD on behalf of the bank recognized one of its longest serving members Erica Gibbs during the celebrations. Branch manager Irish introduced: “We’re going to give a presentation to Dr. Barbara Erica Gibbs. She’s one of our oldest clients; she’s been active, she actually comes to the bank and do all her banking still, so we’re going to give her a little token of appreciation and it will be presented by Mr. Solomon and Mr. Cogel.In presenting the token gift, Solomon spoke to Mrs Gibbs: “We want to thank you for your many years of loyalty. We wouldn’t have recognized that in spite of the fact that we’re here for one hundred years… there’s a significant part of that one hundred you were a part, one of our clients and we really want to thank you for your loyalty. It gives us great pleasure to show our appreciation by presenting this token to you today.”

Mrs. Gibbs wife of a former Administrator in Montserrat, responded with an explanation. “My husband and I came to Montserrat in 1964-65, he came in a hurry because the administrator who he was taken from was sick. Then I followed him with two children in 1965. We opened our account in 64 and you can work that out.” She then expressed her elation. “Well this is very, very special and unexpected,” she concluded.

The bank’s 100-year celebrations saw the Montserrat Children Society receiving a boost of cash. Mrs. Helena Dorsette received the donation delivered to her by the branch manager, Lucille Irish, in direct support of the Society’s support for the Dominica hurricane relief fund as the president and others of the society host Dominica children in Montserrat.

Throughout the day as Radio Montserrat broadcast live with JGP (George Piper), from the bank’s offices as he kept everyone listening, on location and the airwaves, with live interviews and brief intervention with local entertainers. There were lots of refreshments on the outside to include the national dish, the ever-popular goat water.

Posted in Entertainment, Featured, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Bungled arrests, Drug Charges, draw fines!

Bungled arrests, Drug Charges, draw fines!

Guilty pleaders free on fines, but held in detention, indefinitely

By Bennette Roach

The Director of Public Prosecution hints at appeal of sentence on charges which were compromised from Conspiracy to Engage in Drug Trafficking; Conspiracy to import a controlled Drug; Drug Trafficking; Possession of Cannabis Sativa with intent to supply; and, Possession of Cannabis Sativa; to a charge against Section 6 (3) (a) in contravention of Section 16 (ii) of the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act Cap 4.07.

The eventual charge to which the five defendants all pleaded guilty, was the offence of possession of a controlled drug to wit portions of the plant Cannabis Sativa for the purpose of drug trafficking. Novian Travis Mullings, however also pleaded guilty on another charge of possession of a controlled drug to wit 0.833 grams of the plant Cannabis Sativa, contrary to Section 7 (2) of the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act Cap 4.07 of the Revised Laws of Montserrat 2013.

The hearing dates according to court records were: 25 October 2017, 01 November 2017, 9 November 2017 and 10 November 2017, the last being the date when these men received sentences on what generally would have heavy fines and jail sentences, but for the explanation given by the Magistrate.

In his judgement on sentencing the Magistrate recorded: “I am satisfied on the facts provided by the Director of Public Prosecution that the question of sentencing can be disposed of before this Court and there was no need to exercise my power under section 26 of the Drug Prevention of Misuse Act Cap 4. 07. Their character and antecedents does not require a great(er) punishment that my jurisdiction in sentencing allows. The quantity and the street value in my opinion as regards sentencing can be disposed of in this Court.”

As police reports stated, the Magistrate found that two of the accused “Christopher and Richard Russel were found with Cannabis Sativa. They had ingested the packets and passed them out by vomiting and excretion.

Nothing was found on Shanardo Morrison or Allisteir Mighty but they all confessed to be a part of the scheme to get the drugs into Montserrat.” But the Jamaican resident Novian Travis Mullings on the other hand was guilty, in addition, with possession of 0.833 grams of Cannabis Sativa.

Sentencing

Novian Travis Mullings who had a prior conviction for possession of Cannabis Sativa was fined a sum of EC$3,500.00 for possession of Cannabis Sativa for the purpose of drug trafficking, in default one year imprisonment, time allowed one month. On the charge of possession of Cannabis Sativa Mullings was fined a sum of EC$750.00, in default nine months imprisonment, time allowed one month.

Allisteir Mighty was fined a sum of $3, 500. 00, in default nine months imprisonment, time allowed one month.

Shanardo Morrison was fined a sum $2,000.00 in default nine months imprisonment, time allowed one month.

Christopher Russell was fined a sum $3,500.00 in default nine months imprisonment, time allowed one month.

Richard Russell was fined a sum of $3,500.00 in default nine months imprisonment, time allowed one month.

Following the sentencing of the five young men, Mullings was the only one who went free. As many mulled how this matter had turned out the way it did with what they considered a let off, the attorneys said their clients were faced with additional problems as the others were held in detention at police headquarters up today. 

The Attorneys Warren Cassell and Lovetta Silcott said the detention was unlawful as were the processing of initial arrests and can cause an embarrassment to the OECS state, as may be deduced from the result of the hearings and fines.

Also the court in passing sentences heard hints of concern from the prosecution who hinted appealing. But the court had also heard from the attorneys that any jail term would have been challenged as unconstitutional.

The problem the police and immigration faced is that only one of the four was considered ‘landed’ in Montserrat as they were never processed to have been landed in Montserrat. Attorneys say that the men were not imprisoned and are therefore not subject to deportation. Meanwhile deportation might mean fines can go unpaid.

However, two men have paid their fines and have expressed a desire to leave Montserrat, but they are still held in detention where they complained up to Friday receiving only one meal per day.

On Friday by the end of day Attorney have filed writs of Habeas Corpus with the hope of obtaining the freedom the men having received sentences for their crimes.

So it is believed that the bungling continues, and the court having to convene soon to hear arguments on the writ, the matter may not yet be reaching closure, even after sentencing and payment of fines. There are hints that the authorities may even be considering approaching the Governor for ‘pardons’.

Posted in Court, Featured, Local, News, Police, Regional1 Comment

Dominica PM addressingindpendence

Dominica celebrates 39 years of political independence from Britain

ROSEAU, Dominica, Nov 3, CMC – Hurricane battered Dominica is celebrating 39 years of political independence from Britain on Friday with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit urging citizens not to be daunted by the tasking of rebuilding the island.

Hurricane Marie hit Dominica on September 18 as a Category 5 storm, killing at least 28 people and leaving billions of dollars in damage.

Unlike previous years when nationals were honoured for their contribution to the socio-economic development of the island, this year’s national awards ceremony has been postponed to next year.

Dominica PM addressingindpendence
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit delivering national
address at Independence Rally

In his address to the nation marking the independence celebrations, Skerrit said that the Dominica ‘is still standing” despite facing the “fiercest floods, the most ferocious winds.

“We are sorrow-stricken; we swallow hard, but it still catches in our throat; and we are still standing! Difficulties envelope every aspect of life, uncertainties swirl; and we are still standing! The outside world wondered aloud whether this is the kind of devastation from which you don’t recover. We are still standing.

“We, the children of Dominica, have shown the world that disaster is finite; but, hope is infinite! Maria stole everything money can buy, everything you can put a price on; but left what you cannot but… that which is priceless! We will determine the value of those things through our actions in coming days and weeks. A moment comes, but rarely in history, when a nation’s soul is revealed”

He told the Independence Day rally at the Windsor Park Stadium attended by thousands of people that how the island responds to the storm “will define us, will make us; will become us.

“In this solemn moment, let us all, Dominicans who reside here or abroad, let us chose today to renew our pledge to the service of Dominica, her people and to all humanity. Let us together renew our pledge to fight poverty and ignorance; build a prosperous, progressive nation; and to invest in institutions that safeguard justice and opportunity for all.

“Our nation’s doubters will say what is the point of such a small country having such high ambition at such a low time like this? We say that the measure of the greatness of a nation is not its size or what it aims for in comfort, but what it strives for in crisis.”

Skerrit said that the day following the hurricane he witnessed “total destruction” adding “I saw corrugated iron mangled and tossed aside, with everything else as if we had been ransacked by a giant burglar.

“I sensed uncertainty spiralling. I smelled fear. I also breathed in the deep indefatigable determination of the vast majority of our people to carry on and stand up. When faced with grave danger humans have evolved an instinct to fight or flee. We chose to fight! We chose to rise”.

He said he is confident that people who would have fled the island after the storm as they did in 1979 when Dominica was hit by Hurricane David, would soon return.

“Sometimes it takes a crisis to remind everyone of the importance of our journey. Remember, you only see the stars clearly at the darkest hour. Ladies and Gentlemen, on this our Independence Day, Dominica stands forth on the edge of a great triumph to come, on the edge of a triumph not just for Dominica but for the world.

“The disaster visited upon us has shown in so many ways how we are not an island onto ourselves. We are not an isolated fragment of humanity floating in the Caribbean Sea. Humanity is tightly knit. The industrialisation of others warmed the seas and brought hell and fury down upon us but we will not be helpless victims of this world”

Skerrit said humanity’s development has shaped Dominica and the island’s response must help to shape humanity’s course.

“It will be a measure of the maturity of our independence of its meaningfulness if we are brave enough and wise enough to accept that the challenge of our time is global warming and climate change. We must therefore grasp the opportunity to make a difference to the world to shine a light onto the right path for our planet.

“We do not lightly choose to rebuild better or to build the first climate resilient nation in the Anthropocene. The message has found us. We understand the task. We shall rebuild so as to bring a new hope into being for humanity. We must. We will. Our tryst with humanity’s destiny is not a chance thing.”

But he also acknowledged that the task before the island is “formidable,” adding “we have lost an estimated 200 per cent of our GDP (gross domestic product) and our goal is to rebuild better not just to replace what was lost.

“We must use the opportunity to move quickly to 100 per cent resilient and renewable energy. We must rebuild almost all of our schools and clinics in a smart, climate resilient way. We must build new roads bridges and put in place slope interventions. We must coordinate our rebuilding so that our cables run underground alongside this new infrastructure.”

Skerrit outlined new plans for the re-development of the island saying there are moves to establish the Climate Resilient Economic Agency of Dominica, (CREAD) to support the rapid implementation of the plans once they are funded.

He said following his visit to the United States, London and Brussels over the last few weeks over 50 per cent of the funding needed to rebuild the island had been forthcoming and that “we will be presenting our plans to a partners conference in New York later in the month to help raise part of the rest. We will support the private sector as it rebuilds and restores.

“We will facilitate insurance pay-outs the importation of rebuilding materials the forbearance of lenders and clamp down on price gouging.  For the balance of the resources we are pursuing innovative financial instruments that link the restoration of the rain forests and protection of our marine environment to new resources for rebuilding.

“It will require careful, thoughtful, strategic planning carried out at lightning speed, because we do not have the luxury of time. It will take unity of purpose. It will take courage, It will take fearlessness. It will take incessant striving. It will take every single Dominican to join the fight to feel its fierce urgency. It will also require a resoluteness of character. This is no time for ill-will. No time for petty and destructive criticism.”

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Featured, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

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