Academics to mull future of overseas territories

| 25/05/2011

(CNS):The Cayman Islands’ status as a dependent territory will be the subject of high-level academic discussion next month according to the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA). At an annual conference in Curacao a panel of Caribbean academics will explore the challenges faced by Caribbean territories. Under the title "Unfinished Decolonization: Proposals and Uncertainties in the Non-Independent Territories of the Caribbean," panelists will present scholarly papers on the range of political status options available to the small island non self-governing territories, and will examine how present self-governing arrangements of independence, free association and integration actually operate in practice.

Specific attention will be paid to the present political dependency status of the six British dependent territories of the Caribbean/Atlantic region, in particular Bermuda, Turks and Caicos Islands, Cayman Islands Montserrat, British Virgin Islands and Anguilla.

The conference will convene from 30 June to 3 July at the World Trade Center in Curacao, the former capital of the Netherlands Antilles before its dismantling in 2010 to become the third autonomous Caribbean country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with Aruba and Sint Maarten.

The panel will be chaired by professor of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Dr. Aaron Gamiel Ramos, who will also present a paper on “The Limits of Representation: Regional Cooperation Efforts of Non-Independent Territories.” Ramos has published widely on non-independent Caribbean issues, and co-edited with UPR Professor Dr. Angel Israel Rivera the seminal text, "Islands at the Crossroads: Politics in the Non-Independent Caribbean."

The role of the United Nations in the decolonisation process of Caribbean and Pacific island territories will be examined in a second paper, "An Assessment of the Implementation of the International Decolonisation Mandate", to be presented by the eminent decolonisation expert Dr. Carlyle Corbin, international advisor on governance, former US Virgin Islands minister for external affairs and United Nations expert.

Corbin, who is the Executive Secretary of the Council of Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly (CPGA), will also make a presentation on Implementation of Decolonisation 2020 on a separate panel on "Identity in Non-Independent States."

The Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) is an independent professional organization devoted to the promotion of Caribbean studies from a multidisciplinary, multicultural point of view. It is the primary association for scholars and practitioners working on the Caribbean Region (including Central America and the Caribbean Coast of South America). Its members come from the Caribbean Region, North America, South America, Central America, Europe and elsewhere. The CSA was founded in 1974 by 300 Caribbeanists and now has over 1100 members.

The focus of the CSA is on the Caribbean Basin which includes Central America, the Caribbean Coast of Mexico, as well as Venezuela, Colombia, Northeast Brazil and the three Guianas. The Association serves a critical function for scholars providing one of the only venues for persons working on the Caribbean to come together to share their work, to engage in collaborative endeavors, to exchange ideas, to meet each other, and to develop the field of Caribbean Studies.

Members of CSA have played leading roles in the Caribbean, most notably in public service and inacademia. These include current and past service as leaders of governments, administrators in multilateral and bi-lateral regional organizations. Many current members serve in senior positions at Caribbean, North American, and European universities.

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