- Dependent States
▪ 2009IntroductionEurope and the Atlantic.In May 2008 Ilulissat, Greenland, was the site of an international summit on Arctic sovereignty attended by official representatives from the five countries that border the Arctic Ocean: Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the U.S. Although the countries' respective territorial claims were unlikely to be settled for years, the two-page Ilulissat Declaration, released at the end of the summit, provided a legal framework for Arctic development in the interim. In November the electorate in Greenland voted resoundingly in favour of greater autonomy from Denmark.In October New Scientist magazine reported the results of a yearlong study of Greenland's Jakobshavn glacier. Time-lapse photographs taken at least every six hours between May 2007 and May 2008 revealed that two rivers of ice on the glacier were draining Greenland's ice sheet and contributing to a rise in sea level. A report from Ohio State University's Byrd Polar Research Center confirmed that a massive 29-sq-km (11-sq-mi) chunk of Greenland's Petermann glacier broke loose in July.On January 19 the Faroe Islands held its first election to the new 33-seat Løgting (legislature) since the 2007 reforms that replaced proportional representation with a single constituency. Although the pro-independence Republican Party won the most seats (eight), the Unionist Party, with seven seats, remained at the head of a coalition led by Prime Minister Jóannes Eidesgaard. On September 26 Kaj Leo Johannesen was sworn in as prime minister in a realigned three-party coalition, with Eidesgaard as finance minister.A planned cull in April of up to 25 monkeys in Gibraltar triggered international protests. Some of the territory's famed Barbary macaques had invaded tourist areas, and the government expressed concern that the wild monkeys (which had been known to damage property, bite, and carry communicable diseases) were a threat to public safety.Sark's 600 residents voted in a referendum to endorse a new constitution to replace the Channel Island's feudal system of government (created in 1565) with a 28-member elected legislature. The U.K.'s Queen Elizabeth II approved the change, but several wealthy landowners and the neighbouring island of Guernsey, which claimed sovereignty over Sark, questioned the validity of the new constitution.Melinda C. ShepherdCaribbean and Bermuda.Puerto Rico's government-owned power company, PREPA, indicated in January 2008 that it wanted to reduce dependence on oil-fired electricity generation to 52% by 2010 and 33% by 2018. In 2008 oil accounted for 73% of generation fuel, with natural gas and coal making up the other 27%. A wind farm was planned for the island's southwest coast.Puerto Rican Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá was formally charged in March with 19 counts of campaign finance fraud, along with 12 associates in Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia area. The charges included collecting illegal donations to pay off political campaign debts, spending more than reported to U.S. federal election regulators, and using campaign money for personal expenses. Alric Simmonds, onetime deputy chief of staff for former U.S. Virgin Islands governor Charles Turnbull, was jailed for eight years in June for having stolen more than $1.2 million in government funds.The Dutch parliament in April was told by the minister responsible for kingdom affairs that the December 15 target for the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles could not be met and that a more realistic timetable was January 2010. Under the disintegration plan, St. Maarten and Curaçao would become autonomous states within the Dutch kingdom, while St. Eustatius and Saba would revert to the status of kingdom municipalities. In November Aruban authorities announced that they had new evidence in the 2005 disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway; the highly publicized case remained unsolved after more than three years.Concern over corruption in the Turks and Caicos government was heightened in March when the UK's House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee reported that it had received “the largest number of submissions” on the subject from any overseas territory. The British government appointed a commission of inquiry, which late in the year summoned Premier Michael Misick to testify and to produce vital documents that the commissioners said had been withheld. Cayman Islands Gov. Stuart Jack in September assured the public that the territory's judicial system would continue to function normally, despite the arrest of a senior judge, Alexander Henderson, for “misconduct in public life.” Another judge, Priya Levers, had been suspended earlier, pending investigation by a tribunal appointed by the governor.In early 2008 Bermuda's Ministry of Finance estimated that GDP would be in the range of 2.5–3% in fiscal 2008–09, with projected revenue of $985 million, but soaring food and oil prices caused the estimate to be downgraded in July to 2–2.5%. The economic downturn in the U.S., Bermuda's leading source of trade and tourism income, pushed the government in November to defer a planned pay hike for MPs.The Montserrat government switched coalition partners in February, striking up an alliance with the Movement for Change and Prosperity (MCAP) after having been partnered by the New People's Liberation Movement (NPLM) since June 2006. Lowell Lewis remained chief minister, and the new coalition had a majority of 6–3 in the legislative council.On April 17 Aimé Césaire (Cesaire, Aime-Fernand-David )—poet, politician, and cofounder of the Negritude movement—died in Martinique. In 2007 the airport there was renamed in his honour.David RenwickPacific Ocean.Niue hosted the 39th Pacific Islands Forum's Leaders' Summit on Aug. 19–21, 2008. Niue's new premier, Toke Talagi, welcomed some 350–400 delegates and others representing the 16 member states, including French Polynesia Pres. Gaston Tong Sang, who was attending his first forum summit. The influx increased the size of Niue's population by some 30% and placed huge pressures on the island's limited accommodations. The Niue meeting was said to be “more intimate and shorter” than previous annual forum meetings.In French Polynesia, Tong Sang, who had served as president in 2006–07, regained the post in April 2008 after his To Tatou Ai'a coalition won a majority in the January general election and forced a no-confidence vote against Pres. Gaston Flosse just 53 days after Flosse defeated Tong Sang for the presidency. The new French high commissioner, Adolphe Colrat, arrived in Tahiti in July. One of the first challenges he faced was a claim by President Tong Sang for financial compensation from France for planned reductions in the French Pacific Marine Infantry Regiment garrison and air base, both of which were important sources of territorial income. Meanwhile, yet another political party was formed by a member of the ruling coalition, Hiro Tefaarere.New Caledonia's first national anthem was performed in June to mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Matignon-Oudinot Accords, which provided for the territory's progressive movement toward greater autonomy from France and an eventual referendum on self-determination. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee in July named the Lagoons of New Caledonia, some 15,000 sq km (almost 6,000 sq mi) encompassing six lagoons in the world's second largest continuous coral reef, a World Heritage site.Guam spent 2008 preparing for the most profound transformation in its history. The island's population was expected to increase from 175,000 to some 225,000 between 2010 and 2014 as 8,000 U.S. Marines and 9,000 of their dependents were relocated from Okinawa. Preparations began for a $10.3 billion investment in military bases, housing, and utilities on Guam. The expenditure of the first $200 million in 2008 led to an increase in economic activity, but the planned infrastructure expansion would require significant inflows of skilled labour from beyond Guam.The highlight of American Samoa's year occurred in late July, when the territory hosted the quadrennial Festival of Pacific Arts. The festival saw some 2,100 artists and performers from 27 Pacific nations gather in Pago Pago for two weeks to demonstrate traditional arts and performances.The Cook Islands Council of Traditional Chiefs, or House of Ariki, in June strayed from its traditional role, announcing the dismissal of the elected government and asserting its control over the territory's land and sea. The chiefs were forced to renounce their claims several days later, however, after both the government and the public criticized the traditional leaders for jeopardizing the Cook Islands' international reputation for stability. The council reportedly had asserted its power to assume control over potentially lucrative mineral-exploration rights within the Cook Islands' huge exclusive economic zone and the potentially larger continental shelf.Cluny MacphersonIndian Ocean.Relations between France and the Comoros island group remained strained in 2008. At the UN General Assembly on September 25, Comoros Pres. Ahmed Mohammed Abdallah Sambi raised the issue of Mayotte's constitutional position. France planned to hold a referendum in 2009 on Mayotte's status. Sambi claimed that such a referendum would disrupt the harmony needed between the Comoros' four constituent islands.The dispute followed a crisis on the island of Anjouan, where Pres. Col. Mohamed Bacar refused to relinquish his presidency when his term of office expired in April. Instead, he held an illegal election, printed his own ballot papers, and in June declared himself the winner. After Comoran and African Union troops toppled his regime, Bacar and five members of his former government fled to Mayotte and thence to Réunion, where they were put under house arrest. (See Comoros .)After a 10-year legal fight, families evicted from their homes on Chagos Archipelago lost their battle to return when in October the U.K. House of Lords ruled in favour of the Foreign Office's appeal against a prior court decision that supported their return. The islanders, some of whom traveled to London from their current home on Mauritius for the ruling, were removed from Chagos in the 1970s to accommodate a U.S. military base on Diego Garcia. The disappointed Chagossians' leader, Olivier Bancoult, said that they were considering taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights.The Australian government in 2008 used the increased capacity of a newly built detention centre on Christmas Island to process asylum seekers. The facility on Christmas Island was Australia's last remaining offshore detention site in the country's Pacific Solution for unauthorized boat arrivals.A.R.G. Griffiths▪ 2008IntroductionEurope and the Atlantic.On April 2, 2007, ceremonies were held in the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas and in London to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the Falklands War between the U.K. and Argentina. Just days before the ceremonies, the Argentine government, which still claimed sovereignty over the islands, scrapped a deal that would have allowed Argentina and Britain to share revenue from oil exploration around the Falklands.On October 11 Gibraltar held its first general election under the constitution that went into effect on January 2. The new constitution retained the territory's ties of sovereignty to the U.K., which would continue to be responsible for external affairs and defense. Gibraltar, however, would exercise greater noncolonial self-governance. Chief Minister Peter Caruana's ruling Gibraltar Social Democrats won reelection, holding all 10 GSD seats in the 17-seat Parliament, with a slim 49–45% majority of the vote over former chief minister Joseph Bossano's Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party–Liberal Party coalition.St. Helena's new governor, Andrew Gurr, was inaugurated on November 11, after a six-month delay. In his inaugural address, Gurr stressed the need for increased transparency, openness, and consultation in local government. He sent separate messages to Tristan da Cunha and Ascension Island, which were also in his purview, promising to visit them in 2008.Greenland remained prominent in the international debate over global warming. (See Special Report (Climate Change-The Global Effects ).) In August a scientific expedition from Denmark set out to gather seismic data and map the seabed below the icebound Lomonosov Ridge, off Greenland. (See Map.) Meanwhile, Greenland residents were experiencing a longer growing and fishing season. In July researchers reported in Science magazine that DNA extracted from the 3-km (1.9-mi)-long Greenland Ice Core Project confirmed that some 450,000–800,000 years ago the southernmost part of the island was covered by boreal forests.Melinda C. ShepherdCaribbean and Bermuda.The debate continued throughout 2007 on whether Puerto Rico should become a fully fledged U.S. state, attain complete independence, or forge a new type of commonwealth relationship with the U.S. A U.S. congressional committee examined these options in various hearings. As usual, independence remained the least popular of the various possibilities. In April all government agencies in Puerto Rico were ordered to begin recycling programs as part of an effort to achieve the goal of recycling 35% of the territory's rubbish.At a constitutional conference in London in February, the British government agreed to devolve more power to the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Though the islands still remained a colony, the local chief minister and his cabinet would share responsibility for external affairs and internal security with the British-appointed governor. The number of “captive” insurance companies in the BVI numbered 400 in April, which made the islands the third largest insurance centre in the Caribbean. In the August general election, the National Democratic Party lost control of the government to the Virgin Islands Party (VIP), which obtained 10 of the 13 seats at stake in the 15-seat Parliament. VIP leader Ralph Telford O'Neal was sworn in as premier (as the former chief minister was now called under the revised constitution adopted in July).WAPA, the U.S. Virgin Islands power utility, in January presented a $1.2 billion, 10-year plan designed to break its dependence on oil-fired generation by substituting increasing amounts of renewable energy. WAPA's current generating capacity was 261 MW.The Netherlands Antilles islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba, which were due to achieve the status of Dutch local authorities in 2008 following agreement on a new constitution (which also conferred local autonomy on Curaçao and Sint Maarten), said in March that they would not permit same-sex weddings, even though such ceremonies were recognized in The Netherlands. The April 2006 elections that brought to power Prime Minister Emily de Jongh-Elhage would be the last held before the Netherlands Antilles was formally dissolved. Aruba received high marks in September from American ratings agency Fitch, which commented favourably on the island's market-friendly institutional environment, high per capita income, and political and social stability. In December officials on Aruba closed their investigation into the disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway, missing since 2005.The Turks and Caicos government acquired a fleet of American-operated helicopters to assist in the fight against crime and illegal immigration in March. Legislators insisted in May that Anguilla's tourism-based economy was being threatened by an upsurge in crime; a motion calling for “urgent action” by the government was approved by the House of Assembly. The volcano-wracked British colony of Montserrat required $187 million to achieve “economic sustainability” over the next five years, insisted Chief Minister Lowell Lewis in July. Damage to the economy from the Soufrière Hills volcano had been estimated at about $2 billion, according to Lewis.In the local elections on Bermuda on December 18, Premier Ewart Brown's Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) won 52.35% of the vote and 22 seats, compared with 47.25% and 14 seats for the United Bermuda Party. It was the PLP's third successive election victory and left the balance of parliamentary power unchanged.David RenwickPacific Ocean.French Polynesia had another tumultuous year in 2007 after the pro-independence government of Pres. Oscar Temaru was deposed in December 2006. Pres. Gaston Tong Sang, whose coalition advocated autonomy, announced that the territory would secede from France. Tong Sang was soon deposed by members of his own party, however, and Temaru returned in September to win election as president for the third time in three years. France, seeking a solution to the ongoing instability, proposed to shorten the local assembly's term and to change the electoral system. The reform proposal seemed to be universally unpopular in the territorial assembly, but given France's financial influence, it was likely to succeed.After temporary setbacks, two nickel-mining plants in New Caledonia were scheduled to go ahead. The $3.2 billion Goro nickel-cobalt project, stalled after cost blowouts of 72%, was now owned by the Brazilian company CVRD (renamed Vale in 2007) and was due to commence production in May 2009, with full production in 2011. The Koniambo project in the Northern Province also had a new owner, XStrata PLC of Switzerland, and construction was scheduled to begin in 2010. In May nearby Wallis and Futuna's traditional ruler, Tomasi Kulimoetoke II , died at age 89.The Cook Islands government, periodically destabilized by MPs' shifting political allegiance, moved to limit this with legislation that would prevent “party hopping.” The 2006 coup in Fiji and improved air services increased tourist numbers, which created a labour shortage in the Cook Islands, whose citizens traveled freely to New Zealand for better-paid work. The territory mourned the death in July of 90-year-old former prime minister Sir Thomas Davis. The first Cook Islander to qualify in medicine, Davis worked in the U.S. at NASA before returning to the Cooks, where he led a resurgence in the construction of traditional ocean-voyaging canoes.Niue's population declined to 1,200, leaving the island no longer workable as a state without $12.5 million in aid from New Zealand. The drop occurred despite attempts to persuade some of those who resided in New Zealand (roughly 90% of the Niuean population) to return home and forced the government to reconsider offering residence to non-Niueans in an attempt to remain viable. The premier was looking into land reform to gain access to areas that had been practically abandoned. In the meantime, pressure to meet the budget led to increases in the cost of living and to cuts in civil servants' salaries, which seemed likely to persuade more Niueans to leave.U.S. remilitarization of the Pacific led to an increase in the number of American soldiers in Guam. In August, as 22,000 U.S. troops were involved in exercises off Guam, Russia deployed two strategic bombers to the area for the first time since the Cold War.American Samoa experienced labour shortages as U.S. nationals traveled to the U.S. for job opportunities and local reservists departed for military service in Iraq and elsewhere. Despite its population of 59,000, the territory had to look to independent Samoa for labour for its tuna-canning plants. The American Samoan government commissioned a labour survey as part of a bid to secure new industries.Cluny MacphersonIndian OceanIn May 2007 the families who were expelled between 1967 and 1973 from the Chagos Archipelago to make way for a U.S. air base on Diego Garcia won their long battle to return home, defeating British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, who had taken the case to the court of appeal. Speaking amid triumphant scenes outside the Royal Courts of Justice, Richard Gifford, the solicitor for the islanders (known as Ilois), thanked Lord Justice (Sir Stephen) Sedley and the court for making the ruling that the ties that bind a people to a homeland were so fundamental that no executive order could abrogate them. It was third time lucky for Ilois leader Olivier Bancoult, who changed tactics and sought to return not to Diego Garcia itself (which would have deprived the U.S. of a vital strategic base in the Indian Ocean) but rather to other islands in the archipelago. Lord Justice Sedley explained that a natural or man-made disaster could warrant the removal of a population for its own safety, but the court could not condone the permanent exclusion of a whole population from its homeland for reasons unconnected with their collective well being.Illegal immigrants continued to drown while attempting to cross from the Comoros islands to the relatively prosperous island of Mayotte. In one incident in August, at least 17 people were confirmed dead and another 19 were missing when a primitive wooden vessel known as a kwassa-kwassa capsized in rough waters off Mayotte. French Immigration Minister Brice Hortefeux lamented the tragedy and vowed that the French government would fight against human traffickers seeking to exploit would-be migrants' poverty.A.R.G. Griffiths▪ 2007IntroductionEurope and the Atlantic.Two separate events in September 2006 brought positive changes to Gibraltar. On the 12th the European Court of Justice upheld the right of Gibraltarians to vote in EU elections. Spain in 2005 had filed a suit in which it argued that only citizens of EU member countries retained this right. The high court, however, ruled that the U.K.'s 2003 European Parliament Act, which granted voting rights to all Commonwealth citizens, lawfully extended the franchise to Gibraltarians. Less than a week later, Gibraltar Chief Minister Peter Caruana, British Minister for Europe Geoffrey Hoon, and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos met in Córdoba, Spain, for the Tripartite Forum, the culmination of almost two years of trilateral negotiations. The accords they signed on September 18 authorized improved telecommunications and border crossings between Spain and Gibraltar and the establishment of a Spanish council in the territory. Madrid also agreed to allow commercial air travel from Spain to Gibraltar and to permit other civilian flights to use Spanish airspace en route to Gibraltar, which would expand its airport. Gibraltarian opposition leaders repudiated the deal, but Lieut. Gen. Sir Robert Fulton, who arrived on September 27 to take over as the new governor, reiterated that British sovereignty over Gibraltar would not be affected.On February 20 the Argentine coast guard seized the John Cheek in the waters between Argentina and the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas. Argentina refused to recognize the fishing trawler's Falklands registration as valid and claimed that the vessel was poaching. Although British and Falklands officials insisted that the ship was fishing in international waters, the owner agreed to pay a substantial fine. The John Cheek was released in April.Greenland, Denmark, and the EU in June signed an agreement that conceded greater European control over scientific research and climate policies in Greenland in exchange for a €43 million (about $55 million) subsidy. Greenland was thought to have large reserves of offshore oil and natural minerals under its retreating ice sheet.Melinda C. ShepherdCaribbean and Bermuda.In the May 2006 general election in Montserrat, the Movement for Change and Prosperity obtained four of the nine seats, the largest number of any party, but the MCAP did not participate in the formation of the government that followed. The previous governing party, the New People's Liberation Movement, led by former chief minister John Osborne, retained three seats and joined forces with Lowell Lewis of the Montserrat Democratic Party and independent David Brandt to form the new coalition government. Lewis was named chief minister.Turks and Caicos Chief Minister Michael Misick reaffirmed in April that his Progressive National Party saw independence from Britain as the “ultimate goal” for the small multi-island territory, but not at the present time. The title of chief minister of the Turks and Caicos was changed to premier in August as part of a revised constitution for the colony. Meanwhile, British Virgin Islands Chief Minister Orlando Smith said in July that the colony was “considering” what relationship it should have with the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, of which it was not yet a member.Aruba's sovereign debt rating was raised from “negative” to “stable” by U.S. agency Fitch in June, on the basis of an overall improvement in the Dutch island's economic and financial position. The Port Authority of Sint Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles unveiled a major expansion plan in September, with more than $100 million to be invested in new cargo and cruise ship facilities.Martinique in September was the scene of demonstrations by nationals of neighbouring Saint Lucia, who were protesting new French immigration laws that, they claimed, targeted them unfairly. The protesters alleged that Saint Lucians who had lived in Martinique for as many as 30 years were being denied extensions to their resident visas.Federal criminal charges were filed in June regarding an elaborate conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Virgin Islands government, in which government employees were implicated. U.S. federal prosecutors alleged that a fictitious company had been formed in 2000 by a former official of the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, along with two other individuals, to tender for government contracts valued at some $1.4 million, though little or no work was actually done. All three defendants later pleaded guilty to the bribery and kickback scheme.Puerto Rico's credit rating began improving in July following action by the government to resolve a fiscal crisis that reached its peak in May, when the treasury ran out of funds to pay public servants and public services came to a partial standstill for a period of time. The government, Puerto Rico's biggest employer, with 200,000 people on its payroll, spent $500 million on salaries annually. A 7% sales tax, to take effect in November, was intended to help repay the commonwealth's debt.Bermuda Premier Alex Scott was replaced on October 30 by former deputy premier Ewart Brown, who had resigned from the government on October 12 to challenge Scott for the Progressive Labour Party leadership. Early polls indicated that potential voters viewed the new premier favourably.David RenwickPacific Ocean.In January 2006 French Polynesia's pro-independence Pres. Oscar Temaru dissolved the Intervention Group of Polynesia (GIP), created by (and reportedly under the control of) his predecessor and rival, Gaston Flosse. Despite the decommissioning of the GIP, Temaru faced industrial action by trade unions, and continuing strikes and blockades of the port of Papeete, Tahiti, were as much political as industrial. In October, while Temaru was at a Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Fiji, opposition elements occupied his palace in Papeete. At year's end Temaru was ousted by a parliamentary vote of no confidence and replaced as president by Gaston Tong Sang.New Caledonia's Future Together (AE) party moved ahead with major new nickel mines—at Goro in the wealthy, mainly white Southern Province and at Koniambo in the poorer, mainly indigenous Kanak Northern Province. The aim was to attract some $4 billion of investment to stimulate economic growth in the north and to reduce dependence on French aid, which totaled approximately $1 billion annually. Mounting opposition (on political and environmental grounds) and legal challenges produced delays, but by midyear the projects were progressing. The two mining concerns were expected to produce growth of 6.45% in 2006. Labour unrest persisted, however, over high inflation and the recruitment of some 2,500 Filipino workers to build the mine and smelter complexes.Prime Minister Jim Marurai of the Cook Islands avoided calling Parliament into session until June, partly because of a lack of government business and partly to avoid a no-confidence motion threatened by former prime minister Sir Geoffrey Henry, who retired from politics in August. The queen's representative was forced to dissolve Parliament, and a snap election, held on September 26, returned the Democratic Party with a slim majority. China invested some $4.5 million in public buildings during the year and designated the islands as a “favoured destination,” but the Cooks continued to lose population to New Zealand. Continuing emigration to New Zealand had reduced Niue's population to a level at which financial aid donors were again questioning the dependency's viability. In May Niue's sole generator plant burned down, and the island was left without power for 10 days until a new generator arrived from New Zealand. A referendum in February on ending New Zealand's rule over Tokelau fell just short of the necessary two-thirds majority.Guam's economic outlook changed dramatically with the announcement that the U.S. would relocate some 8,000 Marines and 10,000 dependents to that island from the Japanese island of Okinawa between 2006 and 2014. The move would involve capital expenditure of some $15 billion on new infrastructure and could revitalize Guam's economy. The American Samoa Political Status Study Commission, the first since 1969, reviewed the future of American Samoa and concluded that independence was probably not a serious option. A delegation from the U.S. House of Representatives' International Relations Committee visited the unincorporated territory in August. American Samoan citizens suffered the highest per capita death rate of any U.S. state or territory in the Iraq conflict.Cluny MacphersonIndian OceanSovereignty over the Indian Ocean island of Mayotte remained a source of discord between the Comoros and France in 2006. Comorian Pres. Ahmed Abdallah Sambi avoided raising the issue when he met French Pres. Jacques Chirac at a francophone heads of state and government meeting in Bucharest, Rom., in September, but Sambi was nevertheless determined to find a prompt diplomatic solution and expressed his resolve to press Chirac hard during a planned trip to France.Mayotte and Réunion participated in the first Indian Ocean-wide meeting on tourism, held near Port Louis, Mauritius. By participating in a coordinated conference on tourism, infrastructure, and marketing strategy, the dependencies hoped to create new investment in their region. Réunion was badly affected by a mosquitoborne chikungunya epidemic, and tourism slumped when Europeans decided to shun the Indian Ocean. Holidaymakers then spent their vacations in the Caribbean instead. So great was the economic crisis that the French government was compelled to inject €76 million (about $91 million) into Réunion's economy.To the annoyance of many Christmas Island inhabitants, the island's moribund detention centre was reopened in November 2005. In January 2006 a group of 43 West Papuan asylum seekers found on Queensland's Cape York was transferred to Christmas Island to be interviewed by Australian immigration officials. The Papuans were flown to the island as part of the Australian government's long-standing policy to process unauthorized arrivals offshore.On March 30 a group of 102 exiled Chagos islanders, or Ilois, set sail from Mauritius for their first authorized return visit to the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory). The British government had evicted the Ilois from the archipelago between 1967 and 1973. The High Court of London ruled on May 11 that the government had acted unlawfully when it failed to comply with a 2000 ruling overturning that eviction. The case continued on appeal.A.R.G. Griffiths▪ 2006IntroductionEurope and the Atlantic.It was reported in May 2005 that as of January 1, Greenland had 56,969 inhabitants, including 14,874 in the capital, Nuuk. The ruling coalition of Prime Minister Hans Enoksen's centrist Siumut Party and the Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) collapsed amid budget negotiations in September. In the subsequent general elections on November 15, Siumut retained its 10 seats in Greenland's 31-seat parliament. After more than a week of deliberations, Enoksen formed a new “Northern Lights coalition” with the IA (seven seats) and the centre-right Atassut party (five seats). Denmark and Canada reached agreement in September on the means to resolve their dispute over the ownership of tiny uninhabited Hans Island, which lies between Greenland and Ellesmere Island. There was speculation that claims over northern fishing grounds, the development of undersea resources, and access to a potentially ice-free Northwest Passage (should global warming make the route more viable) were as much at stake as the issue of sovereignty.On May 9 the U.K.'s Queen Elizabeth II and the duke of Edinburgh visited Guernsey and Jersey as part of the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Channel Islands' liberation from Nazi occupation. Late in the year, Jersey followed Guernsey's lead in the creation of a new ministerial system of government. On December 5 Frank Walker was elected Jersey's first chief minister at the head of a nine-member Council of Ministers. Guernsey's first chief minister, Laurie Morgan, had been elected in May 2004. Sark, the smallest of the four main Channel Islands, held its last election under its ancient system of feudal law on December 7; a new constitution was scheduled to go into effect in 2006. The annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region conference took place in Jersey in June. At that meeting and at various other international forums during the year, Gibraltar Chief Minister Peter Caruana and opposition leader Joe Bossano spoke out in defense of the right of self-determination not only for Gibraltar but also for the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas.Melinda C. ShepherdCaribbean and Bermuda.On Nov. 26, 2005, the Dutch government signed a formal agreement resolving that the Netherlands Antilles would cease to exist as a group on July 1, 2007. Aruba, which had long enjoyed control of its own internal affairs, would be joined by Curaçao and Sint Maarten as separate “countries” within the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius opted for a slightly different status as “royal” islands. The Netherlands would retain all responsibility for foreign relations and defense. In March the Dutch government dispatched additional police and customs personnel to the Netherlands Antilles, primarily Curaçao, to intensify the anti-drug-trafficking effort. Venezuela filed a formal protest over the visit of a U.S. warship to Curaçao, but local authorities in Willemstad explained that such visits were normal and that the government would not permit any act of aggression to be launched from Curaçao. The disappearance on May 30 of American teenager Natalee Holloway, who was last seen leaving a nightclub on Aruba, drew worldwide media attention but had little effect on Aruba's legislative elections in September. The ruling People's Electoral Movement campaigned on the issues of immigration and economic growth and easily retained its majority.Puerto Rico's Planning Board projected in February that the economy would grow by 2.3% in 2005, compared with the 2004 growth rate of 2.8%. Gov. Aníbal Acevedo-Vilá stressed the importance of reducing the size of the public sector in Puerto Rico, where 25% of the workforce, or 250,000 people, were government employees; he promised in March to eliminate 23,000 government jobs and close several public agencies. Two months later Moody's Investors Services cut Puerto Rico's credit rating from Baa1 to Baa2. In April a U.S. government audit criticized the U.S. Virgin Islands Port Authority for “mismanaging” millions of dollars on 11 government projects, mainly by not following the rules on competitive bidding.The Anguilla United Front (AUF), led by Osbourne Fleming, retained its hold on power with a four-seat majority in Anguilla's February general elections. The AUF campaigned on its development record, specifically the $25 million expansion of the island's airport. The Anguilla National Strategic Alliance (two seats) remained the official opposition party. In the Cayman Islands the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) was voted out of office in the May general elections. The People's Progressive Movement, led by Kurt Tibbets, won 9 of the 15 legislative seats, while the UDP retained only 5 seats, including that of its leader, McKeeva Bush. Montserrat, which had been virtually cut off from the outside world following the 1995 volcanic eruption, had commercial air links finally restored in July, when a scheduled service with Antigua was inaugurated.Throughout 2005 Bermuda celebrated its quincentennial, the 500th anniversary of the first sighting of the island by Spanish explorer Juan de Bermúdez. The Bermuda Independence Commission, which pro-independence Premier Alex Scott had appointed in December 2004, issued its report in September 2005. Although the British government had indicated that it was open to discussions on independence for the overseas territory, polls showed that a majority of Bermudians remained opposed. Scott made the issue the centrepiece of the government's annual speech from the throne, which was delivered in November by Prince Andrew, duke of York, in his role as the U.K.'s official representative for the occasion.David RenwickPacific Ocean.In French Polynesia in 2005, there was continuing political instability, which reflected the rivalry between pro- France and pro-independence groups. After disputed Territorial Assembly elections in May 2004, a court ruling identified electoral irregularities in the Windward constituency and declared void results in 37 of the 57 seats in Tahiti and Moorea. In the subsequent by-election in February 2005, a six-party coalition headed by pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru secured an overall majority, and Temaru assumed power.Leadership struggles within the pro-French Rassemblement-UMP party had little impact on New Caledonia's political life, which was dominated by a pro-independence coalition. Goro Nickel, a $1.8 billion venture, secured tax concessions of some $500 million from the French government. The company's local position was also strengthened by the sale of a 10% stake to provincial governments. France settled a dispute on Wallis Island between customary leaders by reaffirming its support for 86-year-old King Tomasi Kulimoetoke, the last remaining monarch in the French state.Following contentious legislative elections in September 2004 and weeks of uncertainty, Jim Marurai emerged in December 2004 as the Cook Islands' new prime minister. Marurai emphasized the importance of political stability and public-sector reform. The Cook Islands were affected by five cyclones early in the year, with the capital, Rarotonga, and the northern islands of Pukapuka and Nassau the worst affected. Marurai met in October with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark to discuss repairs and reconstruction of damaged areas. Elections in Niue in April installed three new members (and three women) in the 20-member parliament; Young Vivian was reelected as premier. A year after being devastated by Cyclone Heta, Niue escaped any serious damage from the 2005 cyclones. Construction began on a replacement hospital, to be funded by New Zealand, and plans were under way for an industrial and commercial park.American Samoa, following allegations that Samoans were abusing the U.S. territory's 14-day permit system, tightened controls. Samoa did likewise and then insisted that all travelers carry passports. This particularly affected visitors who traveled on U.S. military IDs, especially American Samoan military reservists. In March armed FBI agents arrived in American Samoa's capital, Pago Pago, to execute search warrants as part of an ongoing investigation into public corruption. Despite the protests of local officials, the agents removed a number of individual and company tax records.Guam projected a significant deficit for 2005 after government finances were affected by U.S. federal tax cuts, volatility in the tourism industry, and overexpenditure by government. The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas faced similar difficulty, with an accumulated deficit exceeding $100 million, much of it arrears in contributions to the retirement fund for government employees. The local tourism industry coped with an anticipated decline of 45% after Japan Airlines suspended flights between Tokyo and the Marianas, and the local garment-manufacturing industry, which was based on immigrant labour, dealt with the implications of increases in the U.S. minimum wage.Barrie MacdonaldIndian Ocean.Problems continued in 2005 with illegal travel from Comoros to Mayotte, which had voted to remain under French jurisdiction when the other three islands (Anjouan, Grand Comore, and Mohéli) in the archipelago formed independent Comoros in 1975. The Italian-based Missionary International Service News Agency estimated that some 60,000 Comorans were in Mayotte illegally. In response, François Baroin, the French minister for overseas territories, considered radical steps to fight illegal immigration. These measures included a review of the right to nationality based on place of birth, a principle that allowed anyone born in a French territory to acquire French citizenship. Meanwhile, activists seeking to reintegrate Mayotte into Comoros established committees on Mayotte throughout the archipelago and in France.On Christmas Island work continued on the construction of a $220 million “immigration reception and processing centre” despite concerns that the structure was not needed and warnings by Christmas Island shire Pres. Gordon Thompson that there were no psychiatric services on the island should asylum seekers require them. The facility, which was being paid for by the Australian government, was intended to replace a detention centre that was closed in July. It was reported in November, however, that the shuttered facility would be temporarily reopened to house a group of seven Indonesian detainees. Christmas Island's isolation was reduced in 2005 when Air Pacific, Fiji's national airline, began a new service from Nadi, Fiji.A.R.G. Griffiths▪ 2005IntroductionEurope and the Atlantic.On Aug. 4, 2004, the 300th anniversary of the day that Gibraltar was captured from Spain by an Anglo-Dutch fleet, some 17,000 Gibraltarians (roughly half the colony's population) linked hands in a human chain that encircled the famous Rock. As part of the yearlong tercentenary celebration, the U.K.'s Princess Anne made a formal visit in June. British Defense Secretary Geoffrey Hoon attended the official ceremonies on August 4, despite protests from Madrid. On June 10, over the objections of the Spanish government, Gibraltarians voted in the European Parliament elections. Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, meeting in October with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, acknowledged for the first time that the citizens of Gibraltar should be consulted regarding the colony's future.The no-fly zone that Buenos Aires had instituted in late 2003, denying airplanes (mainly tourist charters from Chile) bound for the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas the right to fly over Argentine territory, seriously hurt the British islands' economy. In March 2004 the U.K. filed a formal protest that the Argentine ship Almirante Irizar had entered Falklands waters and harassed fishing vessels that were legally licensed by the Falklands government.At a ceremony in Greenland, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller, and Greenland's local home-rule government minister Josef Motzfeldt signed a historic agreement granting the U.S. permission to upgrade its strategically important Thule Radar Station in Greenland as part of an expanded missile-defense program. Inuit who had been evicted from the region in 1953 took their fight to regain the land to the European Court of Human Rights in May.A divided vote in the January 20 general election in the Faroe Islands led to intense negotiations to form a new government. Although the pro-independence Republican Party had the most seats (8) in the 32-seat Lagting (parliament), on February 3 the Union, Social Democratic, and People's parties—each with 7 seats—formed a broad-based coalition, with Social Democrat leader Jóannes Eidesgaard as prime minister.Melinda C. ShepherdCaribbean and Bermuda.The British colony of Montserrat decided in June 2004 to set up a regional disaster-management centre, which would facilitate experts from elsewhere in the region in conducting field-based disaster-management studies. Earlier in the year, the Royal Society had strongly criticized the U.K. government for failing to use Montserrat as a location for ongoing research into the behaviour of volcanoes. In July the European Union approved a $20 million grant to Montserrat for the construction of a new capital in Little Bay. The former capital, Plymouth, had been destroyed when the Soufrière Hills volcano first erupted in 1995.In August the Cayman Islands government vehemently denied a report in the American press that Cuban refugees under detention had paid bribes to be released from prison. In September, Hurricane Ivan struck, with 50% of the 15,000 homes on Grand Cayman reportedly suffering some form of damage. The government strongly rejected accusations that it had covered up the scale of the destruction, which some estimated as high as $1 billion, so as not to lose its prized offshore financial-services businesses. The scheduled November 17 general election was postponed until May 2005.The trial of former British Virgin Islands (BVI) financial secretary L. Allen Wheatley ended in January with his receiving a nine-month jail sentence for having approved an airport telecommunications contract based on inflated pricing that had cost the government $450,000. Wheatley had pleaded guilty in exchange for a lighter jail term. Former BVI budget coordinator Bevis Sylvester, former director of the Telephone Services Management Unit Berton Smith, and businessman Albion Hodge, who also were implicated in the overpricing scheme, followed Wheatley's example and were handed six-, nine-, and six-month jail terms, respectively. In an effort to help preserve the Caribbean Sea, the BVI signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. in August that committed the latter to helping clean up oil or other noxious substances discharged into BVI waters. Earlier in the year, some 750 litres (200 gal) of oil had spilled into the sea during oil-transfer operations by a visiting tanker.The Netherlands Antilles faced political upheaval in 2004. In April, Prime Minister Mirna Louisa-Godett and Bernard Komproe, the current justice minister and former prime minister, were forced out of office in a parliamentary no-confidence vote. Komproe was arrested on charges of corruption, and in October he died after gastric surgery while in prison. In November, Saba voted in a referendum to break from the Netherlands Antilles and be administered separately, similar to Aruba. A 315,000-bbl-per-day oil refinery, one of Aruba's principal sources of revenue, changed hands in February when it was sold by El Paso Corp. to Valero Energy Corp. for $365 million.After 60 years the U.S. Navy officially closed Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station in eastern Puerto Rico in March, following the cessation of bombing practice on nearby Vieques Island in May 2003.Although Bermuda was not directly affected by the 2004 hurricanes, local businesses, notably insurance companies, suffered owing to the severe damage in the Caymans. In February banking giant HSBC Holdings completed its $1.3 billion takeover of the Bank of Bermuda.David RenwickPacific Ocean.Pitcairn Island became the focus of world media attention in 2004 as seven men from the island's population of 47 faced trial over sexual assaults, some dating back to the 1960s. As trials began in September, it became clear that there had been a culture of underage sex on the island for generations and that although the practice was publicly acknowledged and was usually consensual, that was not always the case. The men faced more than 50 charges of rape, sexual assault, and gross indecency; six men no longer resident on the island also were facing charges. After lengthy preliminaries that challenged British sovereignty over the island as well as trial procedure, the trials opened on Pitcairn with judges brought in from New Zealand and a television link to New Zealand for witnesses unable or unwilling to travel to the island. After a three-week trial, six of the seven defendants were convicted; one was acquitted. Sentences ranged from community service for two men to prison terms of two to six years, but the men remained free pending appeal and the clarification of legal issues.Cook Islands Prime Minister Robert Woonton faced a general election in September. He narrowly held his own seat, but the election was tied after electoral challenges had been resolved. Two factions emerged, each seeking to form a government with the former opposition. The government was placed in the hands of the queen's representative while negotiations continued. A recent estimate put the resident population at 13,200, which reflected a continuing migration to New Zealand, where Cook Islanders had citizenship and a right of free entry. In January Niue was devastated by Cyclone Heta, with winds reaching 300 km/hr (185 mph). The storm destroyed or badly damaged crops, the island's hospital, and most government buildings and houses. The impact of the cyclone again raised doubts about the viability of the island; only about 1,300 people remained resident, with most Niueans living in New Zealand.U.S. Pres. George W. Bush declared the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Guam disaster areas in July after Cyclone Tingting brought heavy rain, flooding, and mud slides. Under a new funding regime, the CNMI would receive some $12.4 million for capital projects in 2005, subject to an accountability protocol. The CNMI budget for 2004 was $226 million, with a heavy emphasis on health, education, and public safety.In French Polynesia a new statute opened the way to greater autonomy from France. Elections in June saw the defeat of longtime Pres. Gaston Flosse and, for the first time, the election of a pro-independence coalition government, led by veteran politician Oscar Temaru of the Tavini Huiraatira party. The new government lasted for less than four months before it was defeated through a vote of no confidence in the Territorial Assembly. France refused to allow new elections, which thus opened the way for Flosse's return to power. New Caledonia's economy had benefited from strong nickel prices as well as a stable tourism market.Barrie MacdonaldIndian Ocean.The continuing negotiations over the future of the Chagos Archipelago, or British Indian Ocean Territory, focused on economic matters when British Foreign Minister Jack Straw met Mauritian Foreign Minister Jayen Cuttaree in London in October 2004. The meeting foreshadowed the possibility that British Prime Minister Tony Blair might help Mauritian Prime Minister Paul Bérenger in his dispute with the United States over sovereignty in the archipelago, which included the U.S. military base at Diego Garcia atoll. Britain maintained its position that the archipelago would be returned to Mauritius when it was no longer necessary for Europe's security. The archipelago and other Indian Ocean dependencies were not seriously damaged by the devastating December 26 tsunami.Elections held in Réunion during 2004 saw the country divided between radicals and conservatives. The Regional Council was won by a left-wing coalition headed by Paul Vergès of the Réunion Communist Party. The General Council, however, fell comfortably into the hands of the right.Brigitte Girardin, the French minister for overseas territories, visited Mayotte on January 24–25. Discussions during the trip were devoted to the struggle against illegal immigration, which the minister intended to stop by increasing the frontier police force by 50%. Girardin also announced plans to build an improved maritime surveillance system. Penalties for the traffickers and the employers of illegal immigrants were also increased. Girardin judged that more than a quarter of the island's population were clandestine arrivals.Christmas Island continued to be used as a detention centre for illegal migrants seeking to enter Australia. In the 2004 election campaign, Australian Prime Minister John Howard praised Christmas Island's major role as part of the successful “Pacific solution” to stop boat people who were attempting to reach the Australian mainland.A.R.G. Griffiths▪ 2004IntroductionEurope and the Atlantic.On Jan. 15, 2003, Greenland's government, formed after the December 2002 election, collapsed when the pro-independence Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA), with 8 seats in Parliament, withdrew from its coalition with Siumut (the largest party, with 10 seats), in protest against the handling of alleged cronyism. Jens Lyberth, the government's administrative manager and a friend of Prime Minister Hans Enoksen, drew criticism when he hired a spiritual healer to drive out “negative energy” from government offices. Enoksen fired Lyberth, and on January 17 Siumut and the conservative Atassut (seven seats) formed a new coalition. In September Finance Minister Augusta Salling, of Atassut, refused to resign after a €13 million (about $14 million) budget error. The prime minister dissolved the government and agreed on a new coalition with IA.In May Enoksen and Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller signed an agreement that would give Greenland a greater say in negotiations on the status of Thule Air Base, which the U.S. wanted to enlarge as part of an expanded missile defense system. Inuit continued to protest their 1953 eviction from the region, but in November the Danish Supreme Court ruled against additional compensation for a group of Inuit hunters and their families. The Nalunaq gold mine, the first new such mine in 25 years, opened in southern Greenland; it was expected to yield an initial annual gold production of at least 130,000 oz (3,685,000 g).Also in May, Gibraltar's new British governor, Sir Francis Richards, was sworn in. In June Denis MacShane, the U.K.'s minister for Europe, reiterated that Britain would not share sovereignty over the territory with Spain without the consent of the local population. In September the European Court of Justice ruled that the EU's single-market directives did not apply to Gibraltar. The arrival in November of a British cruise ship on which more than 430 passengers had been taken ill caused Spain to close down the border with the territory temporarily, stranding thousands of workers and tourists for hours and triggering British protests. In the election to the House of Assembly on November 28, the ruling Gibraltar Social Democrats won 8 of the 15 seats.In August Gov. Howard Pearce of the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas returned to the U.K.; Harriet Hall was sworn in as acting governor, the first woman to hold the post.Melinda C. ShepherdCaribbean and Bermuda.Puerto Rico's largest bank was fined $21.6 million in January 2003 by the U.S. Department of Justice for allegedly having allowed millions of dollars in drug money to be laundered because of a failure to report suspicious activities to the authorities. The head of the Cayman Islands' Financial Reporting Unit, Brian Gibbs, resigned and left the region following the collapse of a high-profile money-laundering case involving four officials of the offshore Euro Bank Corp., which later closed. Gibbs admitted having shredded vital evidence in the case, which damaged the prosecution's arguments and led to not-guilty verdicts. The Cayman Islands' legislature in February unanimously voted to censure Attorney General David Ballantyne, who was subsequently removed from office by the British government.The British Virgin Islands' Parliament voted in April to curtail the level of secrecy afforded to international business companies (IBCs) resident in the islands. In the future, IBCs would have to reveal the identities of their directors and shareholders to regulators and law-enforcement officers. In 2003 the British Virgin Islands had more than 500,000 IBCs, with about 380,000 regarded as “active.” In June the Virgin Islands Party, led by Ralph O'Neal, lost office after 17 years when the National Democratic Party won the general election by eight seats to five. D. Orlando Smith became the new chief minister.Political parties in Sint Maarten, in the Netherlands Antilles group, reemphasized in February that they wished greater autonomy on the model of Aruba. In a referendum on December 7, French Saint Martin, which shared the island with Sint Maarten, and Saint-Barthélemy voted in favour of separate status with France, as distinct from being subprefectures of Guadeloupe. Meanwhile, Guadeloupe and Martinique rejected Paris's proposed merger of their regional and general councils.The People's Democratic Movement (PDM), led by Derek Taylor, won an unprecedented third straight term in the April general election in Turks and Caicos Islands but remained in office for only four months because the Supreme Court ruled that the results in two constituencies had been influenced by “errors” and “irregularities.” By-elections in August reversed the April result by adding the two contested seats to the six the Progressive National Party (PNP) had obtained earlier, which left the PDM with five. PNP leader Michael Misick was appointed chief minister.Montserrat's Chances Peak volcano erupted again in July as part of the dome collapsed and ash was spewed up to 12,200 m (about 40,000 ft). The southern half of the island continued to be uninhabitable, and some 4,000 residents remained squeezed into the northern half. Britain extended $1.5 million in emergency assistance following the eruption.In early September Bermuda suffered massive damage from Hurricane Fabian, the worst storm to hit the island in some 50 years. Prime Minister Alex Scott's pro-independence government, which had won reelection in July, refused British assistance in the cleanup.David RenwickPacific Ocean.There was a focus on the French Pacific territories in 2003, with French Pres. Jacques Chirac's first visit to the region and constitutional changes that would increase French Polynesia's representation in the French Senate and open the way to greater autonomy. In July Chirac met Pacific islands leaders in Papeete, on Tahiti, and announced a 50% increase in French aid to the region during 2004–07. A November 2002 census had counted the population of French Polynesia at some 245,000, 75% of whom lived in Tahiti and Moorea. There remained political tensions in New Caledonia, with some groups demanding greater recognition of indigenous rights and even independence. The debate was sharpened when the planned census there was dropped after Chirac criticized the inclusion of questions concerning ethnic origin. In March Cyclone Erica caused widespread damage and two deaths.American Samoa's governor, Tauese Pita Fiti Sunia, died in March while traveling to Hawaii for medical treatment. He was succeeded by Lieut. Gov. Togiola Tulafono. In May, American Samoa experienced heavy rain, which caused floods, landslides, and four deaths. A census in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas showed that less than half of the 80,000 population had been born there; more than 35,000 guest workers laboured in the garment industry, which enjoyed preferential trade with the U.S. but could operate outside the U.S. minimum-wage laws. Guam continued to suffer the effects of Typhoon Pongsana, which had hit the island in December 2002. The government sought compensatory funds from the U.S. for the collateral effects of new Compacts of Free Association reached between the U.S. and the former Trust Territories, especially in regard to costs incurred by migrants to Guam from those countries.In the Cook Islands the formerly estranged factions of the Democratic and Democratic-Alliance parties reunited, ousting the Cook Islands Party from power early in the year and installing Terepai Maoate as deputy prime minster. In November, after divisions within the cabinet, Maoate presented a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Robert Woonton, which led to the suspension of House proceedings. An MP for Aitutaki resigned over budget allocations to his island but then returned victorious as the only candidate standing in the by-election. The government abolished the parliamentary seat for Cook Islanders living overseas and opened the way to reducing the parliamentary term from five years to four. The government also took steps to reduce its offshore banking business and increase the transparency of its financial arrangements in order to ensure the removal of the Cook Islands from an Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development blacklist of money-laundering states. Niue had taken similar steps in 2002, and it sought to build its economy by increasing vanilla production, tourism, and fisheries output.Barrie MacdonaldIndian Ocean.The French government's policy regarding economic decentralization and privatization had notable repercussions for Réunion in 2003. The Overseas Act passed on June 30 introduced a set of economic and fiscal measures with the objective of encouraging private initiative, above all in small and medium-sized companies in such areas as hospitality and tourism. In the media sector a new private television station was launched. In spite of occasional reforms, for some 20 years the Réunion station RFO had represented the voice of metropolitan France. In the future the competition between public and private sectors would force the station to reposition itself within the Indian Ocean zone.The year's most important sociopolitical event was the unexpectedly widespread and violent response against the French government's planned education reforms. Unrest during April–June (including teachers' strikes, demonstrations, class closings, and the postponement of exams) was particularly virulent in Réunion. Baccalaureat (secondary-school senior exams) results in Réunion showed a higher rate of success in 2003 (82.07%) than in 2002 (72.73%), and for the first time Réunion surpassed the national average rate for metropolitan France (80.1%).The Mayotte assembly's vote to amend the “personal status” code in 2003 sparked a debate between religious conservatives and reformers. The amendment aimed to abolish polygamy and the repudiation of women by their husbands, as well as to establish sexual equality in matters of inheritance and the settling of estates. It was expected to be a difficult adjustment for the predominantly Muslim population.In October a British High Court justice ruled that the Ilois, who had been displaced from the Chagos Archipelago, or British Indian Ocean Territory, more than 30 years earlier, could not claim additional compensation. The archipelago's Diego Garcia atoll was the site of a strategically important U.S. naval support base. (See Sidebar (Diego Garcia: A Strategic Base ).)Charles Cadoux▪ 2003IntroductionEurope and the Atlantic.(For a list of populated Dependent States, see Table (Dependent States).)On April 2, 2002, Argentine officials and war veterans commemorated the 20th anniversary of their country's invasion of the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas. Pres. Eduardo Duhalde declared his intention to negotiate with the U.K. for the island group's eventual return to Argentina. On June 14, however, a ceremony and parade in Stanley, the Falklands' capital, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the islands' liberation from Argentine occupation. Adam Ingram, the U.K. minister of state for the armed forces, represented the British government at the June ceremony and reiterated “the Falkland Islanders' right to self-determination.”Halfway around the world, Gibraltarians watched with increasing bitterness and fear as London and Madrid continued to discuss joint British-Spanish sovereignty over Gibraltar. Protest marches in May and September drew more than 20,000 of the dependency's 30,000 residents, and U.K. Foreign Minister Jack Straw was jeered when he arrived in Gibraltar for talks in May. Straw reported in July that an agreement with Spain had been reached “in principle.” On November 8 Gibraltar's chief minister, Peter Caruana, announced the results of a referendum held the previous day—17,900 (98.48%) of the 18,176 Gibraltarians who cast ballots (an 87.9% turnout) voted “no” on the question of joint Spanish sovereignty, with only 187 (1.03%) voting “yes” and 72 ballots left blank. Straw dismissed the unofficial referendum as “eccentric” and meaningless.In December voters in Greenland gave a majority of seats to parties advocating independence from Denmark. The ruling Siumut party, with 28.7% of the vote and 10 seats in the 31-seat parliament, formed a coalition government with the Inuit Brotherhood (25.5% and 8 seats). The new government, headed by Siumut leader Hans Enoksen, pledged to push for greater autonomy and to hold a referendum on independence in 2005. In April elections pro-independence parties in the Faroe Islands captured 17 of 32 legislative seats and formed a coalition government, although the Union Party, which opposed independence from Denmark, received the largest number of votes (26%).Caribbean and Bermuda.The handling of government contracts by officials in the British Virgin Islands became the subject of a review that commenced in March 2002 against the background of the arrest of the territory's financial secretary, L. Allen Wheatley, for misconduct and conspiracy to defraud in connection with construction of the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport. The chief auditor had expressed “concern” about a number of other contracts in which required procedures had not been followed. In April the British Virgin Islands joined other Caribbean offshore financial centres by making a commitment to improve the transparency of its tax and regulatory systems and to exchange information on criminal tax matters with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). From July 1 it became mandatory for local auditing firms to sign off on the accounts of Cayman Islands-registered mutual funds, a policy designed to ensure that firms issuing auditing opinions were subject to the jurisdiction of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.The Netherlands Antilles signaled its willingness to cooperate in criminal tax investigations by signing a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the U.S. in April. The provisions of the agreement were similar to those previously signed with other offshore centres. The Netherlands Antilles government indicated in October that tougher visa restrictions on nationals of Colombia, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic were being implemented following 26 execution-style murders that had taken place in Curaçao since January. The killings were blamed on professional assassins from the countries concerned, particularly Colombia.The U.S. Navy resumed target practice off the coast of Puerto Rico on Vieques Island in April, and the inevitable protests followed. Puerto Rican authorities reiterated their conviction that U.S. Pres. George W. Bush would stick to his pledge to halt the bombing and close the Vieques naval base by May 2003. A poll of Puerto Rican opinions in April, however, found that as many as 43.8% of those surveyed wanted the navy to retain a presence in Puerto Rico.A sharp rise in crime in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the effect this could have on tourism prompted Gov. Charles Turnbull to announce the introduction in May of a string of unprecedented measures, including a reduction in the age at which a minor could be prosecuted as an adult for murder (from 14 to 13 years) and the enforcement of curfews obliging minors to be off the streets by 10 PM. Funds were also made available for additional police personnel and vehicles. In June Carnival Cruise Lines blamed crime for its decision to cancel calls to the islands by its ships during the 2002–03 winter season.A new threat from the Soufrière Hills volcano, which had been disrupting the lives of Montserrat's inhabitants since 1995, forced the evacuation of five areas on the island's northern side in October. Shortly after the evacuation had been completed, mudflows from the buildup of debris on the outside of the volcano, activated by heavy rain, buried cars and buildings.Pacific Ocean.French Polynesia Pres. Gaston Flosse continued to pursue constitutional changes that would increase French Polynesia's autonomy while retaining its connection to France. In October agreement was reached on France's financial assistance to the territory, with the provision of €150 million (about $155.6 million) for 2003. The new Economic Restructuring Fund replaced grants made in 1996 as compensation for the loss of spending following the closure of France's nuclear-testing facilities at Moruroa.In New Caledonia, with a quarter of the world's nickel reserves, there were several proposals for new nickel ventures under consideration. With regional governments acting as partners in joint ventures, there were concerns over internal competition and the viability of some projects. A major venture at Goro in the south, which was proceeding with the support of the South Province government, was deferred because of cost escalations. Indigenous Kanak groups opposed this proposed development and another at nearby Prony because of environmental concerns and the low financial returns to New Caledonia. Despite assurances that France would respect the territory's wishes on future constitutional status, France's overseas minister, Brigitte Girardin, was greeted in December by widespread protests, especially on mining issues, social security, and the employment of foreign workers.In April Niue held the world's smallest national election, with some 800 voters taking part from a resident population of 1,800. All 20 sitting Assembly members were returned, but Premier Sani Lakatani lost his office to former premier Young Vivian. In May Niue joined French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, and several other South Pacific countries and territories in declaring its Exclusive Economic Zone to be a whale sanctuary. In October Niue was removed from the OECD's blacklist of money-laundering states in recognition of steps taken to counter the illegal practice.The Cook Islands, on the other hand, remained blacklisted and, despite some reform, would remain so, at least until 2003, when an inspection visit from the International Monetary Fund was expected. In February, Prime Minister Terepai Maoate was replaced by his former deputy, Robert Woonton. In its July budget the new government announced increased spending on welfare and raised the lower threshold for the payment of income tax.In the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, garment manufacturers reached a major legal settlement and agreed to compensation payments for as many as 30,000 Asian workers who allegedly had been made to work under “sweatshop” conditions in Saipan. Nearly half of Saipan's population of some 64,000 were migrants, mostly Filipinos and Chinese working in the garment industry. In October the government reached agreement with the U.S. on a $120 million financial-assistance package over 11 years to be introduced when the current agreement expired in 2003.In January the UN General Assembly removed American Samoa from the list of colonial territories, accepting that it was a U.S. territory with no desire to seek independence. The U.S. Department of the Interior approved a fiscal-reform package of $4.3 million. Meanwhile, Eni Faleomavaega, the delegate representing American Samoa in the U.S. House of Representatives, continued a campaign for the renewal of a U.S. tax law allowing concessions to major fish canneries operating in American Samoa. In this context, one of the canneries StarKist, announced a $2.5 million expansion.Indian Ocean.On May 20, 2002, East Timor (Timor-Leste) officially celebrated its independence. The new country had been under UN administration for three years. (See East Timor .)The development of “renewable energy” (including biomass, solar, and wind power) was the order of the day in Réunion, where these sources represented 42% of total energy production in 2002. Air transport, however, was in a serious crisis, faced with privatization and competition between national carrier Air France and other companies, financial difficulties, and trade union resistance. The situation risked compromising the Principle of Territorial Continuity, to which the French government had been committed for so long. According to this principle, air service to the islands of the French Republic—including Réunion and other overseas departments and territories—had to be guaranteed at comparable prices to all citizens, regardless of the distance involved.Mayotte, which was also affected by the air-service problems, hoped for an improvement of its department collectivity status with the next Overseas Law, announced for the end of 2002 by the newly elected conservative government in France. Mayotte's geographic (and geopolitical) location halfway between the Comoros Islands and Madagascar once more exposed the island in 2002 to the social and political instabilities of its surroundings. The island of Anjouan in the Comoros continued its secessionist tendencies, and Antsiranana remained one of the six traditional provinces of Madagascar that expressed a desire for greater autonomy, even independence.The American naval base on Diego Garcia in the Chagos Archipelago, or British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), was preparing for another Gulf War against Iraq. As of October, approximately 1,900 troops were stationed on the island, as well as material for two brigades (of ground troops and marines) and 10 B-2 stealth bombers. Meanwhile, the Ilois, who were evicted from the BIOT between 1967 and 1973, continued their legal battle for compensation and the right of return. The Australian government, which expressed increasing concern over the threat of international terrorism, announced that an additional detention centre for illegal immigrants would be constructed on Christmas Island.Charles Cadoux; Barrie Macdonald; David Renwick; Melinda C. Shepherd▪ 2002IntroductionEurope and the Atlantic.On May 7, 2001, the British nuclear submarine HMS Tireless, which had been stranded in Gibraltar for repairs for nearly a year, finally set sail. The crippled Tireless had limped into Gibraltar, the nearest port, on May 19, 2000, with a leak in the nuclear reactor's coolant system; repairs took far longer than anticipated. Concern over possible radiation leaks had triggered months of demonstrations by environmental activists in Gibraltar and in nearby Spain, as well as formal protests from Madrid. In November, Gibraltar Chief Minister Peter Caruana boycotted new talks between the U.K. and Spain on the territory's future status. London and Madrid declared that an agreement on Gibraltar would be reached by mid-2002, but Caruana reiterated that no settlement could be valid unless it was approved by Gibraltarians, who would never accept Spanish sovereignty.In the South Atlantic a fire inadvertently started by British troops on tiny South Jason Island seriously damaged a major seabird nesting site in January; it was feared that hundreds of black-browed albatross and rockhopper penguin chicks might have perished. In March the last British troops were withdrawn from the island of South Georgia to make way for the new British Antarctic Survey base. Future security for the island would be provided by troops based in the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas. A month earlier 59 young reindeer, part of a herd introduced in the early 19th century, had been transferred to the Falklands from South Georgia. After the remote island of Tristan da Cunha sustained severe hurricane damage in May, Falkland Islanders sent more than £9,000 (about $13,000) in disaster aid.Faroe Islands Prime Minister Anfinn Kallsberg in March announced that the semiautonomous territory's referendum on independence from Denmark, scheduled for May, would be postponed indefinitely. Internal differences among the three-party ruling coalition had led Kallsberg to abandon the strict timetable on independence, although he insisted that the Faroes would still seek full sovereignty. In July offshore test drilling for oil began almost a year after the Faroes had awarded seven oil-exploration licenses to 12 oil companies organized into five groups.Caribbean and Bermuda.Sila María Calderón of the Popular Democratic Party was sworn in as governor of Puerto Rico on January 2. (See Biographies (Calderon, Sila Maria ).) Although Calderón supported Puerto Rico's status as a commonwealth with the U.S., she pledged in July to hold another referendum in 2002 on whether the territory's 3.8 million people wished to retain their present status, become a full-fledged state of the U.S., or opt for independence. In the last such vote, in 1998, the majority came out strongly for maintaining the commonwealth relationship.The antibombing lobby in Puerto Rico prevailed against the U.S. government in June when Washington announced it would cease using Vieques Island for target practice by navy pilots from May 2003. Opposition to the bombing policy had been increasing since 1999, when one civilian was killed and four persons were injured. The White House had previously insisted that Vieques was critical to maintaining U.S. military readiness. This position might still cause the deadline to be pushed back, however, especially in light of the war against terrorism following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.Seven policemen were injured during violent protests in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, in June. The situation was triggered by the refusal of shop owners to observe May 27 as the anniversary of the abolition of slavery on the island. The union had urged businessmen to shut up shop on that day and reacted strongly against those who did not. The arrest of a union leader sparked the demonstrations.As a sign of the gradual disappearance of the artificial barriers that had long existed between Caribbean territories with different colonial histories, Saba, a Dutch Antillean territory with a population of only 2,000, indicated in August its keen interest in joining the English-speaking Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.The self-governing Dutch territory of Aruba was commended by the International Monetary Fund in September for having improved surveillance and detection procedures relating to its growing offshore-banking sector. The opposition People's Electoral Movement (MEP) emerged victorious in the September election, taking 12 of the 21 seats in the Aruba legislature. MEP leader Nelson Oduber became prime minister.The New People's Liberation Movement, led by former chief minister John Osborne, won the April general election in the volcano-ravaged island of Montserrat, taking seven seats in the nine-seat legislature. The National Progressive Party obtained the other two. The new government said it would concentrate on restoring jobs lost as a result of the still-active Soufrière Hills volcano, which erupted again in July following a partial collapse of the lava dome.In June the Cayman Islands was removed by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) from the “blacklist” of states said to be lax in tackling money laundering in the Caribbean region. Inclusion on the list had affected the Caymans' reputation as a respectable offshore tax haven. The FATF commended the Caymanian authorities for having made “significant improvements” to anti-money-laundering systems. In Bermuda former prime minister Pamela Gordon resigned as leader of the opposition in October.Pacific.In May elections in French Polynesia, the pro-autonomy Tahoeraa Huiaatira (TH) party was again successful, winning 28 of 49 seats; the leading pro-independence party secured 13 seats. Gaston Flosse of the TH was returned as territorial president by the assembly, which for the first time was chaired by a woman, Lucette Taero, a former minister of employment with responsibility for women's affairs. The new government placed a high priority on economic development, with special emphasis on tourism, pearl farming, fisheries, and agriculture. Earlier in the year the government had introduced financial incentives for tourism investment, but in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on September 11, tourist numbers fell by nearly one-quarter. Flosse advocated an expansion of local responsibilities under the constitutional arrangements with France, as well as increased formal representation in the French government through the Senate.In New Caledonia rivalries within the pro-independence movement created a degree of political uncertainty. In April Pierre Frogier was elected president of the territory's government. Tourism development struggled, with a continuing decline in air services from France and, as a consequence, fewer tourists from Europe. There were further difficulties in the latter part of the year arising from the impact of international terrorism on major airlines and related tourism activity. Potential for growth in the nickel industry was confirmed with major new investments proposed for nickel and cobalt deposits in both the northern and the southern regions.Both the Cook Islands and Niue were warned by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that continuing failure to ensure tighter controls on money laundering would give rise to sanctions. Niue's prime minister, Sani Lakatani, called for small Pacific nations to stand together against bullying from large and powerful countries. Tourism in Niue had been affected in March, and some resorts closed when the airline responsible for most international links was grounded for safety reasons. Subsequent negotiations with other airlines were affected by the events of September 11, which added to—but did not originally cause—difficulties faced by other regional carriers. In the Cook Islands, where tourism accounted for half of gross domestic product, the economy also suffered a serious downturn resulting from the fall in tourist travel and other airline difficulties after September 11. In an attempt to stimulate economic growth and address rising inflation, the government had earlier approved the introduction of a consumption tax.The terrorist attacks on September 11 had a major impact on U.S. dependencies in the Pacific. Andersen Air Force Base in Guam assumed greater importance for both staging and training, while the bombing range on the uninhabited Farallon de Mendinilla in the Northern Mariana Islands was put to greater use. Tourism was seriously affected in all dependencies but particularly in Micronesia, which depended on tourists from Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. The U.S. Office of the Inspector General criticized the Guam Economic Development Authority for unauthorized tax rebates and abatements that affected tax revenues for the territory. In October Guam experienced a magnitude-7 earthquake, which caused only minor damage to buildings but disrupted power and water supplies.In American Samoa, Gov. Tauese Sunia expressed concern over the possible implications for the territory of tax cuts proposed by U.S. Pres. George W. Bush, and legislation to prevent flow-on of any such measures was introduced. The government also attempted to tighten immigration controls by deporting those who were discovered after a brief amnesty to have overstayed their visas and proposing to hold the passports of visitors. It also adjusted employment laws to facilitate employment in the fish-canning and garment-manufacturing industries.Indian Ocean and Southern Asia.In July 2001 Mayotte officially became a French dependent collectivity. The change to a full French departmental collectivity would take place over 10 years, with the administrative and political systems adapting to a basically Muslim society. Although French since 1841, the island had historic links to the Comoros. Illegal immigration to Mayotte (about 2,000 people annually) persisted in 2001, especially from the island of Anjouan, where a secessionist movement continued to disrupt life. (See Comoros .)In Réunion local elections in March gave a large victory to the right, which was generally hostile to the island's being divided into two separate departments. The government withdrew the bill proposed in 2000. Administrative reforms were not the population's first concern, however; high unemployment and the rapidly expanding population were the root causes of the island's social problems.In October Diego Garcia, the largest atoll in the Chagos Archipelago, or British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), once again became a strategically important military base, as it had been in 1991 during the Gulf War. Diego Garcia was the main American naval and air backup base in the war in Afghanistan. In November, exactly a year after a U.K. High Court ruling in their favour, the Ilois, the BIOT's former population, continued to demand the right to return to the 65-island group.Christmas Island was in the news several times during the year. Australia in June announced plans to build a space launch centre on the island. In August the Norwegian cargo ship Tampa, having picked up a boatload of illegal immigrants in distress, was refused permission by Australia to disembark them on Christmas Island. (See Australia .) An Australian military ship eventually transported the immigrants to Nauru and New Zealand, which had accepted them temporarily. By mid-November, however, several hundred other asylum seekers had been placed in a detention centre on Christmas Island.In East Timor the UN mandate ended in 2001 and prepared the way for independence. Indonesian Pres. Megawati Sukarnoputri recognized the island's sovereignty by making the first official visit to the capital, Dili, in September. The Timorese voted in August by universal suffrage for a Constituent Assembly of 88 members, who within three months were to prepare the first constitution of the new state. Of the 16 rival parties, the Revolutionary Front of an Independent East Timor (Fretilin), the former movement for national independence, won a comfortable majority. Fretilin's charismatic leader, Xanana Gusmão, was expected to win the presidential elections in April 2002, and East Timor was scheduled to gain independence a month later.Charles Cadoux; Barrie MacDonald; David Renwick; Melinda C. Shepherd▪ 2001Christmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsNorfolk IslandFaroe IslandsGreenlandFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaGuadeloupeMartiniqueMayotteNew CaledoniaRéunionSaint Pierre and MiquelonWallis and FutunaArubaNetherlands AntillesCook IslandsNiueTokelauAnguillaBermudaBritish Virgin IslandsCayman IslandsFalkland IslandsGibraltarGuernseyIsle of ManJerseyMontserratPitcairn IslandSaint HelenaTristan da CunhaTurks and Caicos IslandsEast TimorAmerican SamoaGuamNorthern Mariana IslandsPuerto RicoVirgin Islands (of the U.S.)See as table:1Excludes territories (1) to whichAntarctic Treaty is applicablein whole or in part, (2) withoutpermanent civilian population,(3) without internationallyrecognized civilian governmentrepresenting unadjudicatedunilateral or multilateralterritorial claims.▪ 2001Introduction(For a list of populated Dependent States, see Table (Dependent States ).)Europe and the Atlantic.In March 2000 negotiations between Denmark and the Faroe Islands on Faroese secession appeared to be at an impasse. Copenhagen rejected a Faroese plan in which Danish bloc subsidies, which made up as much as one-third of the protectorate's budget, would be “gradually eliminated” over 15 years. Denmark said it would not oppose independence for the Faroes but would provide financial subsidies for no more than four years after separation. Advocates of independence said that the money might be made up through the sale of publicly owned property and offshore oil drilling. There also were reports that the Faroese government had amassed a large budget surplus. In November Faroese leader Anfinn Kallsberg announced that a referendum on sovereignty would be held in April 2001.A Danish newspaper reported in August that an unexploded hydrogen bomb had been located in the wreckage of an American B-52 that crashed and sank off Greenland in 1968. U.S. and Danish authorities denied the report, claiming that all weapons aboard the bomber had been accounted for. In July NASA scientists reported that Greenland's ice cap was shrinking at a net rate of 51 cu km (12.2 cu mi) of ice per year.In July the European Court of Human Rights refused to review a case concerning two Argentine sailors killed during the 1982 Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas war between Argentina and the U.K. The court ruled that the lawsuit, which had been filed in June by relatives of the sailors seeking compensation from the British government, was made outside the legal time limits. On September 1, presidents of 12 South American countries convened at a summit in Brasília, Braz., reiterated their support for Argentina's long-standing claim to the islands.In Gibraltar Chief Minister Peter Caruana was reelected in February by a vote of approximately 58–41% over his more radical predecessor, Joe Bossano. Caruana's Gibraltar Social Democrats won 8 of the 15 elected seats in the House of Assembly; Bossano's Gibraltar Socialist Labour alliance captured the remaining 7. In April the U.K. and Spain reached a landmark agreement that would permit Gibraltar-issued identity cards to be recognized as valid travel documents within the European Union and would allow Gibraltarian financial authorities to implement EU directives. Caruana later claimed that, despite the agreement and the improvements made to end smuggling in the colony, relations with Spain showed no improvement.A British nuclear submarine, HMS Tireless, limped into Gibraltar's port in May with a coolant leak in the propulsion system. Local protesters demanded that the submarine be removed to the U.K. for repairs, but the Royal Navy issued assurances that there was no chance of radiation leakage. At year's end, repairs still had not begun on the crippled Tireless.Caribbean and Bermuda.The use of live ordnance in bombing practice by U.S. Navy pilots on the island of Vieques remained a contentious issue throughout 2000 in the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Pres. Bill Clinton had temporarily halted bombing in 1999 after one civilian was killed by accident and four others injured. News that the bombing might be resumed brought an estimated 85,000 people out into the streets in February to demonstrate their disapproval; 55 protesters cut their way into Vieques base in May. Four members of the Puerto Rican Independence Party who had refused to post $1,000 bail bonds after being accused of trespass at Vieques were released from prison in September. Environmentalists and other concerned individuals moved to file a restraining order when bombing recommenced in October.The fact that the Financial Stability Forum ranked Bermuda only in category two (countries said to be in need of remedial action) on its list of offshore financial jurisdictions in May did not seem to disturb investors. The Bermuda Monetary Authority reported that in the first six months of 2000 alone, 1,093 applications were received for the establishment of new companies and partnerships, compared with 699 for the same period in 1999. Companies involved in Internet commerce were said to account for a large proportion of the applicants.In the Cayman Islands, another well-known offshore financial centre, the government was unsuccessful in persuading the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to remove it from the “blacklist” of countries around the world deemed “uncooperative” in money-laundering matters. At a meeting with FATF officials in Spain in October, the Caymans was “commended” for its legislative efforts but told it would continue to be “monitored.”British Virgin Islands Chief Minister Ralph O'Neal dismissed his deputy, Eileene Parsons, in July, claiming that she had been part of a “coup” plot by the opposition against his administration. Parsons promptly quit the governing Virgin Islands Party and joined the recently formed National Development Party.Having suffered an inexorable loss of population over the five years following the initial eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano in 1995, Montserrat began to attract back residents during 2000, though the volcano showed little sign of stabilizing. The number of inhabitants rose to about 5,000 at midyear, compared with 3,400 in 1998; the number had stood at 11,000 in 1995. In June 68.9% of those participating in a referendum in St. Maarten indicated preference for the island's becoming a separate entity within the The Netherlands rather than remaining part of the Netherlands Antilles federation. Aruba had chosen this path 14 years earlier, but the Dutch government promptly squashed any hope of St. Maarten's following suit by declaring the idea to be “out of the question.”French Pres. Jacques Chirac gave a clear hint in March that the hitherto highly centralized relationship between Paris and French overseas departments (DOMs) might be relaxed in favour of a looser arrangement. He said that the era of “uniform status” was over and that DOMs such as Martinique and Guadeloupe might enjoy more local control in the future.Pacific.In the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, major concerns over relations with the U.S. and the state of the local economy came together over the status of the Marianas' $1 billion garment industry. Some 90% of the Marianas population comprise foreign migrant labour, mostly Filipino and Chinese. Under a 1986 agreement, the garment industry was exempt from U.S. tariffs, minimum wages, and immigration standards; was permitted to use a “Made in the USA” label; and had free access to the U.S. market. The industry generated nearly $80 million a year for the local government, $42 million in users' charges, and $17 million in income taxes. Against the protests of local businesses, the U.S. was considering legislation that would apply tighter controls.An initiative to recall Guam Gov. Carl Gutierrez over budget difficulties in the legislature failed for lack of a Senate majority. The development of Anderson Air Force Base as a forward operational location for long-range bombers was completed; cruise missiles had not previously been located at Anderson, the first such missile deployment outside the continental U.S. Late in the year the U.S. Army announced it had destroyed the last chemical weapons stored on Johnston Atoll, where chemical munitions had been stockpiled since 1971.After years of litigation the California Appeals Court upheld a lower court ruling that awarded the government of American Samoa damages of $48 million against unpaid insurance claims arising from Typhoon Val in 1991. Additional punitive damages of $82 million originally awarded were rejected on appeal. American Samoa's $199 million budget for 2001 was approved by Gov. Tauese Sunia; additional funds of $33 million were provided by the U.S. government.In October New Caledonia was host to the South Pacific Festival of Arts, attended by 27 Pacific nations. The occasion marked the further emergence of New Caledonia into a regional role following the signing of the 1998 peace accords between Caucasian settlers and their Francophone political allies and Kanaks (the indigenous people), who were pro-independence. Also following from the accords were the appointment of an ombudsman to mediate disputes between the government and its citizens and the government's announcement of a “social pact” to address issues of employment and the provision of social services. The economy, heavily dependent on nickel exports, showed strong growth in the first part of the year.French Polynesia's left-wing politicians continued to seek an inquiry into the economic, social, and environmental repercussions of the nuclear-testing program carried out in the territory for 35 years until the facilities were dismantled in 1996. During 1997–99 the territory experienced strong tourism growth of 26%, with current visitor numbers over 90,000 a year, almost half from Europe and one-third from North America.Niue's government canvassed opinions on the country's constitutional future and found that about 70% favoured the status quo and 24% endorsed full integration with New Zealand; only 7% favoured full independence for the island with its resident population of 1,865. The budget for the year was approved at $NZ 20 million (U.S. $8 million).In the Cook Islands tourism showed growth as a consequence of political instability in Fiji and because of the weak Australian and New Zealand dollars against the U.S. dollar. Tourist numbers for 2000 were on track to exceed the previous record of 57,000 visitors set in 1994. Following international criticism of the Cook Islands offshore banking system, a Money Laundering Authority was established to provide greater surveillance and control over foreign companies conducting transactions through the Cook Islands banking system.Indian Ocean and East Timor.In 2000 East Timor began its first full year under the auspices of the UN Transitional Administration for East Timor (UNTAET), which had taken control after the territory's referendum on independence in August 1999 triggered bloodshed. Tens of thousands of East Timorese who had fled the fighting remained in squalid refugee camps in Indonesian-controlled West Timor. At least 100,000 refugees had returned to East Timor, but continuing violence and intimidation by pro-Indonesian militia had prevented many more from returning. In December the UN indicted 11 suspects for crimes against humanity committed during the postreferendum violence. Although nine of those charged were in custody, two were still being sought, notably Lieut. Sayful Anwar of the Indonesian special forces.In July the National Consultative Council (NCC) announced the formation of a provisional coalition government composed of half East Timorese and half UNTAET officials. A new 36-member National Council (NC) was approved in October to replace the NCC. Xanana Gusmão, president of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT), was elected president at the NC's first session on October 23. José Ramos-Horta, CNRT vice president and co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1996, was named foreign minister. Sergio Vieira de Mello of Brazil, the special representative of the secretary-general and transitional administrator for East Timor, reported that elections for the territory's first independent government could be held in late 2001.Residents of Mayotte voted 73–27% in a July 2 referendum on changing the island's status from that of a “territorial collectivity” to a “departmental collectivity” with closer links to France. Comoros, from which Mayotte had acrimoniously separated in the mid-1970s, denounced the referendum's results and reiterated its claim to the island. In October the French National Assembly voted to split the island of Réunion into two separate departments in January 2001.On November 3 the U.K.'s High Court ruled that the Ilois, the former population of the Chagos Archipelago, or British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), had been unlawfully expelled from the 65-island group. Between 1967 and 1973 the U.K. had relocated the Ilois to Mauritius and the Seychelles more than 1,600 km (1,000 mi) away as part of an agreement with the U.S. to build an American military base on Diego Garcia, the BIOT's largest atoll. The lawsuit had been brought before the High Court in July 2000. The court's ruling was a major setback for the British Foreign Office, which had opposed the Ilois' return. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook announced that the British government would not appeal the decision, however, and the Ilois, who by 2000 numbered some 5,000 people, would be allowed to return to all the islands except Diego Garcia, which remained under U.S. control.Barrie Macdonald; David Renwick; Melinda C. Shepherd▪ 2000IntroductionEurope and the Atlantic.In 1999 British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook confirmed that, in addition to Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas, residents of the other 11 United Kingdom Overseas Territories (formerly Dependent Territories) would be offered British citizenship on condition that those territories reformed their internal laws to conform with international standards.Complaints in January by Spanish fishermen that they had been unlawfully denied access to the waters off Gibraltar increased tensions once again between Spain and the U.K. The European Commission postponed consideration of subsequent accusations that Spanish authorities were deliberately causing long delays at the Spain-Gibraltar border.In March Britain's Prince Charles was welcomed to the Falklands at the end of his tour of South America, which included a strained trip to Argentina. In July, after weeks of negotiations—including the first formal talks held between Falklanders and Argentines since the 1982 war—air links between the islands and Chile, suspended since April, were reestablished. Argentine journalists, who were among the first to fly to the Falklands, reported a hostile reception.St. Helena faced a crisis in November when the RMS St. Helena, the remote island's only form of transport for goods and passengers, broke down and was stranded for repairs in Brest, France, unable to make its semiannual delivery. Authorities eventually arranged for temporary help from a passenger ship, a chartered freighter, and two container ships.In February elections to Greenland's 31-seat home-rule parliament, the main government party, Siumut, remained the largest party, despite having dropped from 14 to 11 seats. In August a court ruled in favour of 53 Inuits who had sued the Danish government on behalf of 611 families who lost their homes and hunting grounds to make way for the expansion of a U.S. air base in 1953; the plaintiffs won collective compensation and received a formal apology from Denmark's Prime Minister Poul Rasmussen.Caribbean and Bermuda.The governing coalition retained office in the March general election in Anguilla. The Anguilla United Party and its ally, the Anguilla Democratic Party, each won two of the seven seats in the House of Assembly; the Anguilla National Alliance won the other three. In the Turks and Caicos, the incumbent Peoples Democratic Movement captured 10 of the 13 Legislative Council seats in the general election, while the Progressive National Party held on to the remaining 3 seats. The Virgin Islands Party fought off a challenge from the newly formed National Democratic Party and actually improved its position, capturing 7 of the 13 Legislative Council seats in the British Virgin Islands; the NDP won 5.In the Netherlands Antilles, however, no party secured a dominant position in the Curaçao elections in May. The National People's Party, led by federal Prime Minister Susanne (“Suzy”) Camelia-Römer, obtained the same number of seats (five) as its main rival, former prime minister Miguel Pourier's Antillean Restructuring Party. Other parties won varying numbers of seats, which made it difficult to put together a working coalition.The opposition United Bermuda Party, defeated in the November 1998 general election by the Progressive Labour Party for the first time in 30 years, spent most of 1999 attempting to restore its appeal to voters and jettison its perceived image as a “white party,” unwelcoming to black voters.Problems associated with offshore banking continued to bedevil the Cayman Islands, where a disgraced New York banker's accusations that the islands knowingly abetted tax evasion caused a flurry of denials by officials in August. In September the government was obliged to agree to an investigation of two accounts (amounting to U.S. $2.7 million) in the Cayman branch of the Bank of New York, held in the name of Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin's daughter. U.S. officials were investigating the New York bank for money laundering.Two U.S. military aircraft bombed a lookout post in Puerto Rico by accident during exercises over the island of Vieques in April, killing one civilian and injuring three others and a military observer. Residents of Vieques, 75% of which was occupied by the U.S. Navy, had been campaigning for years against the use of the island for bombing practice. Puerto Rican Gov. Pedro Rossello wrote to Pres. Bill Clinton requesting an “immediate” and “permanent” end to weapons training on the island. This was granted temporarily.Pacific and East Asia.Despite exports of canned tuna to the U.S. market worth some U.S. $400 million a year, the government in American Samoa struggled to meet its obligations. In October the governor had to approve a budget for only three months because of uncertainties over revenue. Fish processor Starkist agreed to pay corporate tax in advance to meet the government payroll; the government placed a freeze on new spending. Meanwhile, the developing garment industry attracted controversy over conditions for immigrant Asian labour.In the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the government opposed U.S. proposals to extend federal immigration law, a measure that would seriously affect the viability of the garment industry there. On Saipan the spreading effects of polychlorinated biphenyl chemical waste dumped in the 1960s brought about the closure of the Tanapag cemetery and neighbouring areas as well as a debate on responsibility for clearance. At Johnston Atoll the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency secured permission to incinerate previously undiscovered chemical waste from mortar and rocket components. The U.S. government confirmed that, along with Hawaii, Johnston Atoll, Guam, and Midway had all been storage centres for nuclear weapons.In June New Caledonia's new, elected Assembly, which had limited legislative powers in domestic affairs, met for the first time. The conservative Rally for Caledonia in the Republic, which won the largest number of seats, could not secure a majority and shared government with the pro-independence Kanak National Liberation Front. New Caledonia was admitted as an observer to the 1999 South Pacific Forum, but the Melanesian Spearhead (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu) decided to maintain its monitoring of progress toward self-determination for New Caledonia. In French Polynesia the government was fined CFPF 204 million (nearly U.S. $2 million) for having failed to maintain public order during demonstrations over the French government's resumption of nuclear testing in 1995.Elections brought about the return of a Cook Islands Party–National Alliance Party coalition, but shortly after the election there was a change of prime minister from Sir Geoffrey Henry to Joe Williams. The government struggled to maintain a majority, especially when a postelection hearing resulted in one seat's being declared vacant. The government survived a confidence vote (13–12) in September but was destabilized by opponents. Williams dismissed two ministers and then resigned before the new parliamentary session. The new prime minister was Terepai Maoate.In March elections in Niue, former premier Frank Lui lost his seat, and Sani Elia Lakatani was chosen as his replacement. The government faced a confidence vote in November, but Lakatani survived. In June ministerial salaries had been cut by 40%. Despite assurances given in 1975, New Zealand indicated its intention to phase out aid.Macau, the last dependent state in East Asia, peacefully reverted from Portuguese to Chinese sovereignty in December 1999. (See Sidebar. (Macau's Return to China ))Barrie Macdonald; David Renwick; Melinda C. Shepherd▪ 2000Christmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsNorfolk IslandFaroe IslandsGreenlandFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaGuadeloupeMartiniqueMayotteNew CaledoniaRéunionSaint Pierre and MiquelonWallis and FutunaArubaNetherlands AntillesCook IslandsNiueTokelauMacauAnguillaBermudaBritish Virgin IslandsCayman IslandsFalkland IslandsGibraltarGuernseyIsle of ManJerseyMontserratPitcairn IslandSaint HelenaTristan Da CunhaTurks and Caicos IslandsEast TimorAmerican SamoaGuamNorthern Mariana IslandsPuerto RicoVirgin Islands (of the U.S.)See as table:1Excludes territories (1) to whichAntarctic Treaty is applicablein whole or in part, (2) withoutpermanent civilian population,(3) without internationallyrecognized civilian governmentrepresenting unadjudicatedunilateral or multilateralterritorial claims.▪ 1999Christmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsNorfolk IslandFaroe IslandsGreenlandFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaGuadeloupeMartiniqueMayotteNew CaledoniaRéunionSaint Pierre and MiquelonWallis and FutunaArubaNetherlands AntillesCook IslandsNiueTokelauMacauAnguillaBermudaBritish Virgin IslandsCayman IslandsFalkland IslandsGibraltarGuernseyIsle of ManJerseyMontserratPitcairn IslandSaint Helena Tristan da CunhaTurks and Caicos IslandsAmerican SamoaGuamNorthern Mariana IslandsPuerto RicoVirgin Islands (of the U.S.)See as table:1Excludes territories (1) to whichAntarctic Treaty is applicablein whole or in part, (2) withoutpermanent civilian population,(3) without internationallyrecognized civilian governmentrepresenting unadjudicatedunilateral or multilateralterritorial claims.▪ 1999IntroductionEurope and the Atlantic.In January 1998 the U.K. announced that its 13 remaining dependent territories would be recategorized as British overseas territories (BOTs). The question of British citizenship for 11 of the BOTs, which had been debated since before the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, remained under review. Residents of two BOTs, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas, already had British citizenship.Spain appeared to reverse its long-held policy of refusing direct talks with Gibraltar when it issued an invitation in April to the territory's chief minister, Peter Caruana. Spanish Foreign Minister Abel Matutes later seemed to back away from the invitation, however, and at year's end no talks had been scheduled. In July the U.K. and Spain settled one bilateral dispute and agreed to allow NATO to expand its use of Gibraltar as a communications centre. Relations with Argentina improved somewhat in October, when Pres. Carlos Menem expressed regret over Argentina's participation in the 1982 war with the U.K. over the Falkland Islands and made his first visit to the U.K. Shortly before Menem's historic visit, however, the Argentine Senate reasserted the country's claim of sovereignty over the islands, passing bills that would impose fines on firms drilling for offshore oil around the Falklands and on boats found fishing in the same waters.Denmark faced new governments in both of its overseas territories in 1998. In Greenland Jonathan Motzfeldt, who had been prime minister during 1979-91, was returned to office in late 1997. He vowed to push for more local input in upcoming negotiations between the U.S. and Denmark concerning U.S. military bases on the island. Motzfeldt's government also approved a second permit for offshore oil drilling in June. Spiraling unemployment (mainly due to a slump in fisheries) and Danish involvement in a 1993 local banking scandal continued to stir anti-Copenhagen sentiment in the Faroe Islands. Parties seeking greater independence made gains in elections to the Faroes' 32-seat Loftingid (parliament) in May. The new three-party coalition comprised Prime Minister Anfinn Kallsberg's pro-autonomy People's Party (8 seats), the pro-independence Republican Party (8 seats), and the Home Rule Party (7 seats).Caribbean and Bermuda.The opposition Progressive Labour Party (PLP) finally ended the United Bermuda Party's (UBP's) 30-year hold on power in Bermuda in November, when it won the general election by 26 seats to 14. Since its establishment in 1963, the PLP had primarily represented the interests of the majority black population, whereas the UBP was largely supported by the white electorate and the business community. The challenges facing Prime Minister Jennifer Smith's new administration included safeguarding privileges for offshore banks, which were under threat by the European Union (EU), and dealing with a nascent drug-transshipment problem.The government of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) also reacted angrily to proposals from the EU on so-called unfair tax competition, which sought to deprive offshore banking havens of their tax-efficient status. Small, mainly colonial, territories like the BVI and Bermuda traditionally earned a substantial part of their revenue from registration fees paid by offshore banks and other financial institutions. With the U.K.'s remaining Caribbean colonies due to assume a new status as BOTs, BVI and other offshore havens insisted they would fight to preserve their tax privileges.The Chances Peak volcano in the Soufrière Hills in Montserrat continued to rumble during the year. Eruptions of hot rocks and ash persisted into mid-November, and the central and southern portions of the island remained uninhabitable. Experts warned that those areas would continue to be threatened by the volcano for several years. The U.K., meanwhile, had drawn up a £75 million (about U.S. $125 million) development program for the north, to be undertaken during 1998-2001. The British government admitted having made mistakes in its handling of the volcano crisis. The island's resident population was estimated to be down to a mere 3,200, compared with 11,000 when the volcano came to life in 1995.Anguilla began moves during 1998 to upgrade its constitution to one similar to that of Bermuda and hoped to have it in place by the time of the next general election, due in March 1999. Chief Minister Robert Hughes launched a public debate on the matter during the year. In 1998 the British-appointed governor had complete executive authority over the island.The Netherlands Antilles acquired a new government in June, after months of uncertainty following the January 1998 elections. The new administration was headed by Prime Minister Susanne ("Suzy") Camelia-Römer of the National People's Party and contained representatives from six different parties.On December 13 a slight majority (50.2%) of Puerto Ricans voted for "none of the above" in a plebiscite ballot and thus rejected full independence from the U.S., quasi-independence known as "free association," and statehood in favour of continuing as a commonwealth. It was the second time in a decade Puerto Rican voters had chosen to retain the status quo.Pacific.In American Samoa the government faced a financial crisis, defaulting on payments on highway construction, harbour maintenance, and medical treatment in Hawaii. The situation was eased by a temporary short workweek, a freeze on government hiring, increased taxes on alcohol and tobacco, and advance tax payments from the area's largest company. The budget for financial year 1998-99 was set at $216 million, including $33 million in U.S. federal grants. The economy was also hit by the planned closure (because of immigration difficulties and federal trade laws) of a garment factory employing 300 workers, mostly Chinese on short-term work permits. In September an attempt to impeach Gov. Tauese Sunia for abuse of office was initiated. In the November general elections U.S. Rep. Eni Faleomavaega was reelected with 86% of the vote, but in elections for the local House of Assembly, 7 of 13 sitting members were defeated. El Niño weather patterns brought problems to American Samoa and other Pacific islands throughout the year. (See El Niño's Impact on Oceania (El Nino's Impact on Oceania ).)Talks between the U.S. government and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands over relative rights and powers made little progress. The federal government sought to control immigration and wages in the territory in light of concerns over the garment industry. With more than 30 factories and 40,000 Asian migrant workers, the Northern Marianas' economy was seriously affected by the Asian economic crisis, which also caused a collapse in tourism. A budget of $249 million was approved for the 1999 financial year, with the government finding it difficult to raise the matching funds necessary to maximize opportunities for federal grants.In November 1997 Manihiki in the northern Cook Islands had been struck by Cyclone Martin, which killed 19 people, destroyed most of the houses and crops, and led to about half of the island's population's being evacuated to Rarotonga. The government continued with its program of economic restructuring, which had seen the public service halved and more emphasis on private-sector development. One consequence was a sharp increase in out-migration, mostly to New Zealand, with a population decline from 19,000 to 16,500. The government's budget for 1998-99 projected revenue of $NZ 46 million (U.S. $23.2 million) and expenditure of $NZ 43 million (U.S. $21.7 million).In July the French government announced the demolition and closure of the Mururoa nuclear-testing site, leaving only basic infrastructure facilities, including the harbour, airport, and protective sea walls. France, which had conducted 193 nuclear tests in Polynesia during 1966-96, mostly at Mururoa, would continue to monitor the health of those living around the former test zone. After the 1996 elections were annulled in 11 of the 41 seats for the Territorial Assembly, new elections were held in May 1998. Seven of the 11 seats went to the supporters of the territorial president, Gaston Flosse. The elections were followed by allegations of vote buying.In a November 1998 referendum, New Caledonians voted overwhelmingly for continuing ties with France but having a greater degree of autonomy. The referendum (confined to those who had resided in the territory continuously since the signing of the Matignon Accords in 1988) was based on the Nouméa Accord negotiated in April, which recognized indigenous rights and cultures and provided for future governance through provincial and territorial assemblies. France would retain control over foreign affairs, defense, public order, security, and finance. New Caledonia was invited to join the South Pacific Forum from 1999 with observer status.East Asia.Hong Kong marked its first full year as a special administrative region of China by holding the first free and open election under the Chinese flag on May 24. The election to the Legislative Council brought back into office most of Hong Kong's well-known democratic leaders, including Martin Lee, who had refused, as a matter of principle, to serve on the interim, appointed provisional legislature. Against all expectations, the voter turnout rose dramatically, 53% against 36% in the last election before the handover. The year's second landmark event was the opening on July 6 of a new $20 billion airport built on a reclaimed island off Chek Lap Kok Island.The jobless rate in Hong Kong reached a 15-year high of 5% by mid-1998, and the year was marred by a deepening recession, worries over the stability of the local currency, and an unprecedented decision by the government to intervene massively in its local stock market. The government spent approximately $15 billion of its $96.5 billion in foreign currency reserves buying shares in top local companies. (See China , below.)Negotiations continued during 1998 for the smooth transfer of Macau from Portuguese to Chinese sovereignty on Dec. 20, 1999. In March China established a Preparatory Committee of the Macau Special Administrative Region, which passed a motion in November that would allow Sino-Portuguese residents of mixed parentage to retain their Portuguese passports after the handover. Chinese triad gangs were blamed for the ongoing violence in Macau, which included gangland-style shootings and car bombs. The Portuguese governor general, Vasco Rocha Vieira, said local police (aided by reinforcements from Portugal) were making progress in the fight against organized crime in the colony, which boasted popular—and lucrative—gambling casinos. In September China triggered concerns when it announced plans to deploy troops in Macau to handle national security after the handover.TODD CROWELL; BARRIE MACDONALD; DAVID RENWICK; MELINDA C. SHEPHERD▪ 1998IntroductionEurope and the Atlantic.In late 1997 the ongoing dispute between Spain and Great Britain over the status of Gibraltar threatened to derail reforms that would integrate Spain more fully into NATO's military structure. In December Britain backed off on a threat to veto the creation of a NATO command in Madrid, and Spain agreed to lift restrictions on the use of Gibraltar in NATO operations—but only on a case-by-case basis. The question of the territory's status was at a stalemate, however, as Spain proposed shared sovereignty leading to eventual return of the British colony to Spanish control, whereas Gibraltarian Chief Minister Peter Caruana offered a counterproposal that would end Gibraltar's colonial status while allowing it to remain under British sovereignty.On St. Helena, 1,950 km (1,200 mi) west of Africa, there were reports of antigovernment riots and arson in April after two members of the five-member Executive Council resigned in protest against budget cuts and Gov. David Smallman's "dictatorial" rule. The island's 6,800 residents, who had been deprived of British citizenship by the U.K.'s Nationality Act of 1981, faced unemployment of up to 18%, inadequate job training, and high costs accrued in the continuing fight to regain citizenship. Smallman called new elections for July 9. The 300 residents of Tristan da Cunha raised the same question of British citizenship during Smallman's annual visit in January. A 10-year contract to operate Tristan's lucrative lobster-fishing concession, which was awarded in 1996 to a South African firm, went into effect on January 1.On November 11 an agreement was signed establishing a maritime boundary between the islands of Jan Mayen, Greenland, and Iceland. The 1,934-sq km (747-sq mi) area of Arctic Ocean had remained a source of contention since 1993, when the International Court of Justice settled the rival claims between Norway and Denmark covering most of the region.Caribbean and Bermuda.Gov. Pedro Rosselló was sworn in for a second term in Puerto Rico in January. In a message to mark the occasion, U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton promised to support legislation in Congress to allow the holding of a referendum on Puerto Rico's future political status. Puerto Ricans had last voted on various constitutional options in November 1993, when the continuation of commonwealth status was confirmed by a narrow margin.The Soufrière Hills volcano worsened during the year in Montserrat, with the capital, Plymouth, destroyed and the southern and central parts of the British colony having to be evacuated. Only about 4,000 people were left in the northern "safe zone" after thousands had moved to nearby Antigua, Britain, or other parts of the Caribbean. A new chief minister, David Brandt, took over in August from Bertrand Osborne, who resigned when residents protested against inadequate conditions in evacuation centres. A new British governor was appointed in September, and, in keeping with its responsibilities to the islanders, the U.K. announced a £41 million assistance package that consisted of emergency aid for housing and other amenities, budgetary support, and capital grants. Nineteen people were killed in June in the worst of the many eruptions of hot rocks and gas that had been taking place at intervals since the volcano roared back to life in July 1995.Strong opposition from the business community and the general public in March forced the Cayman Islands to withdraw tax and duty increases imposed in the 1997 budget. Following consultations on alternative revenue-raising measures, the government agreed to increase the ceiling on its authorized borrowing instead. In Anguilla in June it was announced that a new airport, with almost double the present runway length, would be built. The $25 million cost would be borne by private investors. In July the British Virgin Islands government approved a three-year development plan, which included the expansion of the existing cruise-ship pier at a cost of $2 million and construction of a terminal building and a tourism information centre.The Aruba legislature was dissolved in September following a dispute between the two main parties in the governing coalition led by Prime Minister Henny Eman. The argument centred on allegedly insulting remarks made by a member of the Aruba People's Party, the senior coalition partner, against the Aruban Liberal Organization, the junior partner. The balance of power in the legislature was unchanged after the December 12 election, with the coalition retaining a 12-9 majority over the opposition People's Electoral Movement.Environment Minister Pamela Gordon was named leader of the ruling United Bermuda Party and, therefore, prime minister of Bermuda in March. She succeeded David Saul, who said that he was resigning because he wanted to devote more time to his own business activities.Pacific.The Cook Islands were the focus of regional attention in 1997, especially on November 1, when Cyclone Martin, arguably the Pacific's most severe storm of the century, caused heavy damage, especially on the northern islands, which were mostly low-lying atolls. Virtually all buildings were destroyed on Manihiki, where 9 people died and 10 were missing. In December Cyclone Pam caused damage (but no loss of life), mostly on Rarotonga. Earlier in the year Rarotonga was host to the South Pacific Forum, which had been the scene of strong debate between small island states and their metropolitan neighbours, Australia and New Zealand, over global climate change and the control of greenhouse-gas emissions. A drop of 16% in the Cook Islands' gross domestic product was predicted for 1997, even before the hurricane damage, and under a public-sector reform initiative with assistance of the Asian Development Bank, about 50% of those employed in the public service had been laid off. The projected sale of rights to manage the national airport and other utilities prompted debate and widespread opposition. Tokelau, one of the world's smallest dependencies, linked its islands to one another and to the outside world through the installation of a modern telephone system.French Polynesia was also hit by Cyclone Martin, causing the loss of nine lives and widespread damage. In the French elections, Ai'a Api Party candidates secured both territorial seats in the French Assembly, but the party's decreased support was indicative of dissatisfaction with the local government over the brief resumption of nuclear tests at Mururoa atoll in 1995. Economically, the territory continued to benefit from the $200 million a year payable until 2003 to compensate for the economic adjustment that was required following the cessation of testing. In New Caledonia the Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front continued to confront the government in its attempts to secure nickel-mining rights in that part of the northern province over which it had political control. A proposed joint venture with a Canadian partner would generate substantial economic development but would threaten other nickel interests.American Samoa protested in July when the neighbouring nation of Western Samoa adopted "Samoa" as its official name, arguing that this implied an assumption of paramountcy over all of the Samoan group of islands. In April American Samoa mourned the death of Peter Tali Coleman, who formerly had served as governor for 11 years in three terms, despite his administration's being charged with overspending and mismanagement.After an inconclusive first round of gubernatorial elections in November 1996, former lieutenant governor Tauese Sunia was successful in the second round. In the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the reelection of Pedro Pangelinan Tenorio as governor was challenged on constitutional grounds because he had served two terms in the 1980s. In Guam the legislature switched from Democratic to Republican in the 1996 elections.East Asia.The history-making handover of Hong Kong from British to Chinese sovereignty at midnight on June 30/July 1 divided 1997 neatly in half. Other than a plethora of Chinese and new Hong Kong flags around the city immediately after the big event, the transformation was not obvious. Just beneath the surface, however, were a multitude of significant changes that could be expected to shape Hong Kong in the years to come.Tung Chee Hwa ) (Tung Chee-hwa ) became the first chief executive of the Hong Kong special administrative region and, therefore, the first ethnic Chinese to rule this city of some 6.3 million people, 95% of them Chinese. A 60-person legislature, about half of whom were popularly elected in 1995, was disbanded as of July 1 to make way for a temporary body selected by a Beijing-endorsed group of Hong Kong politicians and businesspeople. Balloting was scheduled for May 1998 to elect a new legislative body.In the months following the handover, as protesters criticized the new Hong Kong government and China with rare police intervention, the signs were good that civil liberties would survive in Hong Kong under Chinese stewardship. The style of government in Hong Kong did, however, change slightly. The U.K. had not introduced territorywide democracy until the waning years of its reign, but the last British governor, Chris Patten, had frequently emphasized his support of democracy and civil liberties. After he was replaced by Tung, however, the emphasis shifted onto such bread-and-butter issues as the rising price of housing in Hong Kong, the quality (and deficiency) of education, and the lack of a mandatory retirement plan for local workers.Throughout the hottest months, which produced the wettest year for the territory in more than a century, the local stock market thrived. Tourism was disappointing, but the economy in general was strong. Although the Hang Seng stock index fell in the autumn, Hong Kong generally avoided the currency turmoil that swept much of the region and remained a relatively safe haven for business. .) (Hong Kong's Return to China )The political atmosphere in nearby Macau, a Portuguese colony that was scheduled to be returned to China on Dec. 20, 1999, was decidedly calmer than in Hong Kong. Gang violence, often revolving around gambling, plagued the city, however, and early in the year drive-by shootings and gangland-style executions seemed an almost weekly occurrence. By the fourth quarter, prominent business figures in the territory such as Stanley Ho, one of the richest men in Asia and the one who controlled gambling in Hong Kong, had apparently put a stop to the violence.TIM HEALY; BARRIE MACDONALD; DAVID RENWICK; MELINDA C. SHEPHERDMacropædia articles HONG KONG; PACIFIC ISLANDS; The WEST INDIES.▪ 1997Introductionand the Atlantic.On May 16, 1996, legislative elections in Gibraltar signaled a new direction for the British colony. After eight years in office the chief minister, Joe Bossano, a former trade unionist and leader of the Socialist Labour Party, was replaced by Peter Caruana, whose pro-business Social Democrats won 53% of the vote (in a 90% turnout) and 8 of the 15 elected seats in the House of Assembly. Caruana promised to be tougher on drug smuggling in the region and to establish Gibraltar as an offshore banking centre. He also sought to improve the colony's relations with both Spain and the U.K. and to renegotiate a controversial 1987 agreement on the dual use of the colony's airport, an agreement that Bossano had blocked. Despite his more conciliatory style, however, Caruana agreed that the issue of Gibraltar's sovereignty was not negotiable. Later in the year, NATO announced plans to close its regional command centre in Gibraltar.On Jan. 8, 1996, Richard Ralph was sworn in as the new governor of the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas. In April the government published the results of the latest five-year census. The population of the Falklands increased slightly from 2,210 in 1991 to 2,221 in 1996, while the population of Stanley, the capital, rose from 1,557 to 1,638. Despite improved Anglo-Argentine trade and diplomatic relations, sovereignty over the Falklands remained a thorny issue. Argentina filed a complaint in March after British fishing authorities demanded a $110,000 licensing fee (later refunded) from an Argentine-registered boat fishing in the waters around South Georgia Island. In October an Argentine oil company, in partnership with British Gas, applied for a joint offshore drilling license. At year's end Argentine Pres. Carlos Menem's offer of joint sovereignty over the islands was abruptly dismissed by British Defence Minister Michael Portillo.Offshore oil was also in the news in the Danish dependencies of Greenland and the Faroe Islands in 1996. The Faroese government announced in November that it was satisfied with the results of test drilling and would soon open the bidding for the first real drilling rights. It was expected to take about one year to issue the first licenses. The next month Greenland signed an oil-exploration agreement that would give four companies, including the government-backed Nunaoil, Inc., the concession to explore and extract oil from the Fylles Bank 150 km (90 mi) west of Nuuk.Caribbean and Bermuda.The Chances Peak volcano in Montserrat continued to dominate life on the island throughout 1996. The volcano did not actually erupt but spewed ash and pebbles, causing the authorities to order at least three evacuations from the south of the island to the north during the year. The volcano had been behaving this way since July 1995, and the long-running uncertainty was having a debilitating effect on the economy. In the November election to the Legislative Council, the Movement for National Reconstruction (NRC), the People's Progressive Alliance (each with two of the seven elected seats), and one nonpartisan member formed a coalition government, with Bertrand Osborne of the NRC the new chief minister.Both the government and opposition parties in the Turks and Caicos Islands spent most of the year trying to persuade Great Britain to remove the colonial governor, Martin Bourke, but London rejected a petition for his recall, signed by both sides. The hostility to Bourke was based on his alleged "abuse of power" and "lack of respect" for the islanders. His term of office was due to expire normally at year's end.Vigorous opposition continued to the decision of the U.S. Congress to phase out section 936 tax privileges to U.S. firms in Puerto Rico, the principal fiscal instrument behind the island's development. Various substitutes were proposed, including a wage-credit scheme. Hurricane Hortense in September caused the deaths of 24 people in Puerto Rico and inflicted damage estimated at $175 million.Two ministers resigned from the Netherlands Antilles government during the year—Labour Minister Jeffrey Corion, over problems related to the government's structural adjustment program, and Health Minister Stanley Inderson, following the deaths of nine patients at the dialysis centre in the hospital in Curaçao.The Cayman Islands anti-money-laundering regime was adjudged "well regulated and supervised to a high standard" by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force in September. Cayman became the first territory in the region to receive the organization's endorsement.In June Bermuda's House of Assembly passed a motion of censure against Prime Minister David Saul, accusing him of having contravened a Bermuda Monetary Authority 1995 circular by authorizing a McDonald's hamburger facility owned by his predecessor, Sir John Swan. Frederick Wade, leader of the opposition Progressive Labour Party, died in August.Pacific.In 1996 France, which terminated its final nuclear testing in French Polynesia, was readmitted as a dialogue partner by the South Pacific Forum and signed the protocols to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty. The dismantling of the test facility at Mururoa commenced under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency. France agreed to provide $200 million per annum for 10 years as compensation for the loss of revenue previously accruing from testing and the associated military presence. In May Paris approved a new statute of internal autonomy that gave French Polynesia more control over immigration, marine resources, and relations with other Pacific nations. Following New Caledonia's territorial elections in October, the balance of power was held by a new, centrist political grouping (A New Caledonia for All), which aligned itself with the independence parties. Francis Sanford, independence campaigner and founder of the Ai'a Api ("New Land") Party, died in December.American Samoa continued to have difficulty in balancing its budget and paying for government services. Samoa received approximately half of its revenue from U.S. congressional allocations and federal grants. In the November elections, Samoan Gov. A.P. Lutali lost his bid for a third term. Tiny, unpopulated Palmyra Island, one of the northern Line Islands, attracted international attention when a commercial venture to establish a storage dump for nuclear materials from Russia was announced. Guam landowners, in a dispute with the government over former military land, asked for Guam to be included on the UN list of non-self-governing territories.The Cook Islands faced economic crisis, with a deficit in excess of $NZ 150 million and the government near bankruptcy. These problems followed a financial scandal in 1995 and difficulties with New Zealand over allegations of tax avoidance by means of Cook Islands financial institutions. Under pressure from aid donors, and with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank, the Cook Islands government agreed to halve the public sector, cut salaries and expenses, and privatize some government services. Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Henry resisted calls for his resignation.Following Niue's elections in February, Frank Lui secured a second term as premier. The main election issues were the measures that had been taken by the outgoing government to reduce the size of the public sector and to privatize services. In Tokelau revised constitutional arrangements brought increased responsibility for elected leaders and devolution of representative institutions, in keeping with Tokelauan traditions.East Asia.The men and women who were to lead Hong Kong as control of the territory changed hands from Britain to China at midnight on June 30, 1997, were selected at the end of 1996. At the same time, details of the handover ceremony itself, which had been the subject of considerable debate between China and Britain, were hammered out. Tung Chee Hwa, a Shanghai-born, British-educated shipping magnate, was elected the new chief executive by a Beijing-backed 400-person committee.Hong Kongers protested vociferously over what country held sovereignty over a small group of islands between Japan and China north of Taiwan. Tokyo, Beijing, and Taipei all claimed the islands—called Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan. The protests served as a patriotic rallying point for Hong Kong Chinese. In September Hong Kong activist David Chan led a flotilla of boats from Hong Kong and Taiwan to the islands, but he accidentally drowned while trying to swim past a Japanese blockade. Three days later 40,000 people attended a candlelight memorial in Chan's honour.The entire issue of whether politically motivated protest in Hong Kong would be permitted by Chinese authorities after the handover simmered throughout the year. A top Chinese official made a point of saying that Beijing would not tolerate advocacy in Hong Kong of independence for Tibet or Taiwan. Political liberals in Hong Kong decried what they saw as Beijing's interference in Hong Kong's freedoms of speech, press, and assembly.In June a trade dispute with the U.S. erupted in which American trade officials complained that the colony was putting "Made in Hong Kong" labels on textiles actually sewn in southern China. The U.S. adopted new trade rules, which prompted angry denunciations in Hong Kong of U.S. interference and reinforced already tight business relations between Hong Kong and the mainland. Economic growth for the year hovered near 5%. In the ocean off Savannah, Ga., windsurfer Lee Lai Shan easily won the territory's first-ever Olympic gold medal and was besieged by corporations and government officials hoping to use her image on their behalf.In Macau the last democratic elections before the Portuguese colony was handed over to China at the end of 1999 produced a surprising victory for pro-business political groups over others seen as pro-Beijing. With a depressed property market plagued by oversupply and unemployment at about 5%, Macau voters seemed determined to focus on the territory's economy. Unlike in Hong Kong, the legislature in Macau was on a "through train" and was expected to survive the handover.(TIM HEALY; BARRIE MACDONALD; DAVID RENWICK; MELINDA C. SHEPHERD)This article updates Hong Kong; Pacific Islands; West Indies.▪ 1996Introductionand the Atlantic.In July 1995 the government of Gibraltar's chief minister, Joe Bossano, facing tight border controls by Spain and intense pressure from the U.K., approved legislation designed to end drug and cigarette smuggling in the territory. The legislation triggered demonstrations by both those who supported the crackdown and those who opposed it. Spain eased the border controls immediately, and by early September London and Madrid agreed that the smuggling problem had been resolved.On September 27 the European Court of Human Rights narrowly ruled that the 1988 shooting of three Irish Republican Army terrorists by Special Air Service British commandos in Gibraltar had breached international conventions on the use of excessive force. The decision reversed a ruling by a Gibraltarian court. The families of the three killed, alleging that British authorities had engineered a cover-up, demanded an investigation by the UN.Relations between Britain and Argentina improved in 1995 as the two signed an agreement for joint oil exploration and possible exploitation in the waters around the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas. It was also agreed that talks on regulating the local squid catch should resume.In a general election in Greenland in March, the ruling centre-left coalition, led by Prime Minister Lars Emil Johansen, remained in power with 58.8% of the vote. After years of silence, Copenhagen admitted that a former Danish prime minister had broken official policy by allowing U.S. planes carrying atomic weapons to overfly Greenland during the Cold War. In October the Danish government said it would pay compensation to 1,500 Greenlanders (including the families of those who died) who had been exposed to nuclear debris after a plane carrying such material crashed near the Thule Air Base in 1968.Faroese leaders expressed anger over Danish economic intervention after the collapse of the local fishing industry and the failure of Føroya Banken, the island's largest bank, had forced Thorshavn to turn to Copenhagen for a bailout. The Faroese government, which took control of Føroya Banken in 1992, claimed that the bank's finances were far worse than they had been led to believe. Outside observers noted that most of the islands' problems were the result of overfishing, overspending, and overborrowing in the 1980s. Negotiations with the U.K. over the boundary between the Faroes and the Shetland Islands continued.Caribbean and Bermuda.Hurricanes in September severely disrupted the economies of several dependent states in the Caribbean and set back economic progress for some time to come. It was the worst Atlantic hurricane season in decades. The U.S. Virgin Islands were the hardest hit, with damage to property, utilities, and business installations put at a staggering $3 billion. Anguilla suffered damages of $28.8 million and lost 50% of its housing. In Sint Maarten, in the Netherlands Antilles, long regarded as the region's premier yacht haven, hundreds of yachts were sunk or damaged, and five deaths were reported. On the French side of the island, St. Martin, one person died and 80% of the buildings were affected. In Guadeloupe the key banana crop sustained damages estimated at F 735 million.Montserrat spent much of the year living under a threat from the Chances Peak volcano in the south of the island, which seemed ready to erupt for the first time in 100 years. Half the population was evacuated to the north. In September the international scientific team monitoring the volcano declared an eruption unlikely in the near future.In the Cayman Islands the opposition People's Democratic Movement defeated the Progressive National Party in the general election in January, winning 8 out of 10 legislative council seats. Derek Taylor became chief minister. One of his most pressing problems was the question of Cuban refugees. More than 1,000 Cubans landed on the islands during the year, an influx the Cayman economy and social services system were ill-equipped to handle. Under an agreement hammered out with the U.S., most refugees were transferred to the naval base at Guantánamo, Cuba. Only those who could prove political refugee status were allowed to stay.Chief Minister H. Lavity Stoutt, the leading political figure in the British Virgin Islands for years, died in May, only three months after being returned to office in a general election. He was succeeded by his deputy, Ralph O'Neal.The Antillean Restructuring Party (PAR) in the Netherlands Antilles consolidated its position in May by becoming the major partner in a coalition government formed following island council elections in Curaçao. This came on the heels of PAR's victory in the Netherlands Antilles federal elections in February 1994.In a referendum in Bermuda in August, 74% of the voters rejected the idea of independence from Britain, thus putting to rest a subject of long-standing controversy in the colony. Prime Minister Sir John Swan (see BIOGRAPHIES (Swan, Sir John William David )), who had supported independence, resigned and was succeeded by former finance minister David Saul.Pacific.French Polynesia became the focus of world attention when France resumed nuclear testing at Mururoa atoll in September 1995. At the atoll itself, a peace flotilla of yachts from Australia and New Zealand challenged France's 12-mi exclusion zone, which resulted in the arrest of several demonstrators and the seizure of three Greenpeace vessels. In Papeete, Tahiti, antinuclear protest became closely linked to the pro-independence movement (supported by some 15% of the population), and large public demonstrations escalated into strikes and violence. After a second test in October, the South Pacific Forum suspended France as one of its dialogue partners.In New Caledonia there were continuing differences over the future of the territory. The conservative Rally for Caledonia in the Republic (RPCR) wanted the 1998 referendum canceled and a 30-year agreement of cooperation and development with France. The Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) demanded a negotiated independence and an early return of sovereignty. The administration's budget was attacked by the FLNKS because it would promote the capital, Nouméa, and the southern area, where European settlement dominated, and because low income tax, the absence of a tax on mining, and high indirect taxes discriminated against low-income Kanaks. In provincial elections in July, the RPCR was challenged by a new party—New Caledonia for All.Allegations that New Zealand companies had avoided tax through the complicity of Cook Islands companies and tax-haven agencies were the subject of a commission of inquiry. The government of the Cook Islands also became embroiled in a scandal over letters of guarantee (signed by Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Henry) that potentially exposed the government to losses of $NZ 1.1 billion. An inquiry concluded that the government had been the gullible victim of attempted fraud. In June the Cook Islands currency was virtually abandoned when the government faced a cash crisis. In replying to attacks on his government, Henry blamed the U.S. CIA and the international news media for attempting to undermine his administration.In Niue the Niue People's Party, led by Premier Frank Lui, survived the year despite a deadlocked parliament. Lui refused to resign, and his opponents could not obtain a majority for a vote of no confidence. In October a compromise allowed the budget to proceed on the understanding that there would be an early general election.American Samoa was forced to cut public services by 20% early in 1995. To that point 80% of government income was required for the payment of 4,000 public employees. The government carried a debt of $20 million to $30 million in an annual budget of $140 million, of which more than half was provided by the U.S. government. In September a U.S. court ordered the American Samoan government's insurer to pay out a further $29 million for damage incurred during Typhoon Val in 1991 and added $57 million in punitive damages. An appeal was expected.East Asia.Events in 1995 clearly indicated that British authority in Hong Kong was on the wane. After long delays Sino-British negotiators finally agreed on the setup of the Court of Final Appeal, which was not to begin hearing cases until after the July 1, 1997, handover of the territory to China. Critics of the deal said that the British had capitulated to the Chinese, dropping their previous demand that the crucial court be established before the transition. After Britain and China signed an agreement on the financing for a new airport, the Hong Kong government announced that the facility, originally scheduled to open in 1997, would not be completed until 1998.The year in Hong Kong was capped by Legislative Council (Legco) elections on September 17—the first time the chamber had been wholly elected. Twenty seats were determined by geographic area, while 30 were chosen by professions or "functional constituency" and the remaining 10 by district board electors. These were the first legislative polls held under electoral reforms introduced by Gov. Christopher Patten and, to China's dismay, approved by Legco in 1994. With just 35.8% of eligible voters turning out, "pro-democracy" forces won 29 seats, nearly half of the 60 on offer. Two "pro-China" parties together took 17 seats, while a quarter of the posts went to independents. China promised to disband Legco after the handover and hold fresh polls.While Beijing continued to snub Patten, his second-in-command, Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On Sang, revealed that she had met senior Chinese officials during a clandestine visit to the mainland. In October there were signs that London and Beijing were seeking to improve ties. Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen visited Britain, and both sides agreed to work more closely as the transition approached. At year's end, however, Beijing announced that it would not permit Patten to attend the official handover ceremony in June 1997. China also released a list of 94 Hong Kong citizens named to the 150-member transition committee. None of the appointees represented the DP.Economic growth moderated to about 5%, while inflation hovered above 8%. Unemployment hit a record-high 3.5% as more factories moved across the border to China.Macau continued to enjoy smooth relations with China. In November the Portuguese-run territory's new international airport began operations. The facility was expected to lure traffic away from Hong Kong's congested airport once Macau's fledgling regional airline had begun unprecedented same-plane flights linking Taiwan and the mainland with a stopover in the enclave.(BARRIE MACDONALD; DAVID RENWICK;ALEJANDRO REYES; MELINDA C. SHEPHERD)This updates the articles Hong Kong; Pacific Islands; West Indies.▪ 1995Introductionand the Atlantic.Relations between Spain and the U.K. continued strained in 1994 as the two countries commemorated 10 years of attempted negotiations over the future status of Gibraltar. While Gibraltar Chief Minister Joe Bossano sought greater autonomy under British rule and eventual independence, Madrid demanded the colony's return to Spanish sovereignty under the terms of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, which ceded Gibraltar to Britain only as long as it remained a dependency. In June Spain issued a formal protest against alleged drug smuggling through Gibraltar. Late in the year Spain set up double checkpoints at the border, but these were lifted in late December when Britain agreed to joint measures against illegal trafficking.Talks between the U.K. and Argentina over the disputed Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas also showed little progress, although general relations improved. Fishing rights remained the most immediate issue, but the potential revenue from offshore oil reserves was also at stake. Islanders accepted an offer from Buenos Aires for help with disposal of land mines left behind after the 1982 Falkland Islands war. In October the Argentine government reportedly offered as much as $1.5 million to each Falkland Islands resident in exchange for repudiation of British citizenship. In November Argentine Pres. Carlos Menem's brother and the Duke of York, who served in the British navy during the war, exchanged official visits.In the Faeroe Islands the opposition Union Party increased its share in the 32-seat Lagting (parliament) to 8 seats in the general election on July 7 and took over at the head of a four-party coalition. Edmund Joensen was sworn in as prime minister on September 15. The Faeroes authorized seismic studies to search for offshore oil in 1994. It was hoped that new oil discoveries could help the islands' economy, which had been hit hard by overfishing, the lowering of fish prices, and austerity measures imposed by Denmark in exchange for increased aid.Caribbean and Bermuda.Anguilla gained new leadership in March 1994 when Hubert Hughes, the former opposition leader, was sworn in as head of a coalition government after the general election that month failed to produce a majority for any party. Hughes had led the Anguilla United Party in the election.A new government took office also in Aruba following the general election in July. It was headed by Prime Minister Henny Eman of the Aruba People's Party (AVP), which won 10 of the 21 seats. The Aruban Liberal Organization, which obtained two seats, joined the AVP to give it a working majority.In the Netherlands Antilles, Miguel Pourier of Curaçao was sworn in as federal prime minister on March 31. Pourier's Antillean Restructuring Party, which had won a majority in the February election, dominated the coalition. The new administration said at midyear that it would set up a fiscal fraud squad to combat tax evasion and other financial crimes. This followed the jailing of the leader of the St. Maarten's Democratic Party, Claude Wathey, for perjury and forgery in connection with expansion schemes at the international airport. In June the island governments on Curaçao and St. Maartens both collapsed. New lieutenant governors were appointed, effective from September 1. In October Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maartens followed Curaçao's example and voted to remain within the Netherlands Antilles federation.It was confirmed during the year that both the foreign military installations in Bermuda would be closed, which posed a major threat to the economy. The British navy yard was to cease operations in April 1995, only five months before the U.S. government was due to withdraw funding from its naval air station. The Bermuda House of Assembly in May passed a motion rejecting a government proposal for a commission of inquiry into the issue of independence from Britain. This put a brake on the independence momentum for the time being.The U.K. announced in March that it would enlarge the British Virgin Islands Legislative Council for the next election in February 1995, adding four new seats to the existing nine, to be voted for on a nonconstituency basis. Chief Minister Lavity Stoutt protested the lack of "consultation" with his government over the plan. In the Cayman Islands in February, constitutional changes came into effect under which executive council members became ministers, but there was no provision for a chief minister to be de facto head of government. Later in the year the Caymans sought British help in dealing with increasing numbers of Cuban refugees.Guadeloupe was declared a disaster zone at the end of August following the worst drought in 30 years. The drought took a severe toll on the island's vital sugar and banana industries. The declaration would enable farmers to receive extensive financial assistance. Puerto Rico also announced a $2.4 billion water-development program to combat a severe shortage there. The program would be spread over seven years.Pacific.Early in the year, Pres. François Mitterrand confirmed that France would undertake no further nuclear testing during his term of office. While the suspension of testing was welcomed by Pacific Islands leaders, it had serious implications for the economy of French Polynesia, where gross domestic product had dropped by 28%, the number of army personnel based on Mururoa had been halved to about 1,000, and army spending was down by 40%. The French government agreed to make compensatory payments of $118 million a year. There was tension between the territorial president, Gaston Flosse, and the French high commissioner in July when the latter boycotted anniversary celebrations of a decade of autonomy because the local flag and anthem were given precedence over the French national symbols. A major strike affecting fuel supplies seriously disrupted the economy in October.In New Caledonia there was growing evidence that political parties across the spectrum favoured a negotiated constitutional settlement in 1998 rather than a simple referendum on independence. Despite these suggestions of accommodation political sparring continued, with anti-independence leader Jacques Lafleur being severely critical of financial arrangements for a ferry service run by the pro-independence Loyalty Islands provincial government.In a March general election in the Cook Islands, the Cook Islands Party led by Sir Geoffrey Henry was returned to power in a landslide, winning 20 of the 25 seats in the Legislative Assembly. Voters also endorsed the status quo on the territory's name, national anthem, and flag. Henry's victory was achieved despite continuing controversy over a major tourist hotel development, which had suffered from serious financial and management difficulties, and from allegations that the tax-haven facilities of the Cook Islands had been misused to disguise mismanagement and tax evasion by New Zealand companies. Meanwhile, Niue legislated to provide a tax haven, though on a more modest scale. Niue, which had a resident population of 2,300 (with 14,400 Niueans living in New Zealand), hoped to make some $NZ 4 million a year to replace some New Zealand aid.The most significant development in the U.S. Pacific dependencies was the independence of Palau following a referendum that allowed the Compact of Free Association to override Palau's antinuclear constitution. (See Palau, below.) Early in the year the U.S. passed legislation to allow the return to the Guam government of some 1,295 ha (3,200 ac) held by the federal government. The move was the first step toward the return of much larger holdings once the U.S. military bases on the island closed from April 1995. In the Northern Mariana Islands, the election of Democratic Gov. Froilan C. Tenorio brought early controversy when he instigated reforms to the local garment industry that depended on low-paid migrant labour, mostly from the Philippines. He also signaled a hiring freeze on government positions, measures to secure compliance with taxes and regulations, and checks on the misuse of government resources.East Asia.Tension between the U.K. and China over Hong Kong grew worse in 1994. In June electoral reforms proposed by London-appointed Hong Kong Gov. Chris Patten two years earlier were passed 32-24 by the territory's Legislative Council. The measures included lowering the voting age to 18 and widening the franchise in legislative elections for "functional constituencies" based on professional groups. In response, China said that once it assumed sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, it would dismantle the three tiers of councils and hold new polls, thus abandoning the "through-train" concept by which those elected before 1997 would serve afterward. The Beijing (Peking)-appointed Preliminary Working Committee (PWC), set up to give advice on Hong Kong's post-1997 institutions, took a more prominent role. In December the PWC announced that China would appoint a provisional legislature to govern Hong Kong through the transition for up to a year.The first elections under Patten's reformed system were held for neighbourhood-level district boards in September. Parties described as "pro-democracy" won 30% of the seats, compared with 19% for "pro-China" groupings. About half the posts went to independents.In a speech in October, Patten said Britain and Hong Kong wanted to cooperate with China, but he continued to forbid formal contacts between civil servants and the PWC. He also proposed an ambitious but controversial social program that would increase spending on the elderly, the disabled, education, and housing.In November China and Britain finally agreed on the financing of a new airport and connecting railway, already under construction. The Hong Kong government was to provide at least $7.7 billion in equity and borrow $3 billion to pay for the projects. Economic growth remained above 5%, while inflation stood just below 10%.In September Macau Gov. Vasco Rocha Vieira paid an official visit to Beijing and won its agreement not to impose the death penalty in the Portuguese-run territory after it reverted to Chinese sovereignty in December 1999. In anticipation of completion of the territory's first airport in mid-1995, a Macau-based regional airline was set up.(BARRIE MACDONALD; DAVID RENWICK; MELINDA C. SHEPHERD; BERTON WOODWARD)This updates the articles Hong Kong; Pacific Islands; West Indies.▪ 1994Introductionand the Atlantic.Disputes over fishing rights took centre stage across the Atlantic in 1993. After months of talks, Argentina and the U.K. signed an agreement in November that would permit Argentina to increase its squid catch in waters off the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas. The accord marked a turning point in the strained relations between the two countries. Earlier in the year tempers flared in the U.K. when a French flotilla sailed into the main harbour at Guernsey in March to protest restrictions on fishing near the British-controlled Channel Islands. Fishing boats from Guernsey and neighbouring Jersey sailed into Cherbourg, France, in protest a few days later after officials repudiated the informal agreement reached by the local fishermen.In June the International Court of Justice ruled that the waters between Greenland and the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen should be divided equally between Denmark and Norway, but the dispute with Iceland and Russia over Norway's self-declared 200-nautical-mile protective zone around Svalbard remained at issue. Meanwhile, the collapse of the fisheries industry in the Faeroe Islands triggered the resignation of the Faeroese government in April and forced Denmark to increase its aid to the colony to help stave off economic disaster.In March Britain officially met with Spain for the first time in two years to discuss the future of Gibraltar. As in the past, no representatives from Gibraltar were included in the talks, which failed to end the continuing stalemate. In a speech before a UN committee in October, Gibraltar's chief minister, Joe Bossano, accused the British government of neglecting the colony's interests and emphasized Gibraltar's desire to seek economic independence and full sovereignty.Caribbean and Bermuda.On November 14 Puerto Ricans voted by a slim margin of 48% to 46% to retain the island's commonwealth status with the U.S. rather than apply for statehood. The option of seeking full independence received less than 5% of the vote. Gov. Pedro Rosselló, who was elected in 1992 on a pro-statehood platform, agreed to abide by the results, while the opposition leader, Miguel Agosto, vowed to seek expanded links with the U.S.Politicians and businessmen in Puerto Rico were preoccupied throughout most of the year by the threatened withdrawal by the U.S. government of Section 936 tax-code privileges, which allowed profits made in the territory by U.S. companies to remain tax free if they were reinvested in Puerto Rico. About 100,000 Puerto Ricans were directly dependent on employment generated by Section 936 companies. Congress eventually moderated the proposals, leaving existing profits in banks untaxed but imposing low tax rates on future profits.The Cayman Islands became an unofficial transshipment centre for Cuban refugees during the year with the arrival of over 150 Cubans seeking passage to the U.S. Local residents protested the proposed construction of a "tent city" for the refugees. Since 1989 more than 250 Cubans had arrived in the Caymans en route to the U.S.The ruling United Bermuda Party (UBP), led by Sir John Swan, was returned to power in Bermuda's general election in October, winning 22 of the 40 seats in the island's House of Assembly. It was the UBP's eighth successive election victory. The U.S. naval base in Bermuda, worth $20 million a year in revenue for the island's economy, won a reprieve in September when a clause in the U.S. defense-spending bill, which would have withdrawn funding for the base, was struck out after lobbying by the Bermuda government.The right-wing Guadeloupe Objective Party, headed by Lucette Michaux-Chevry, succeeded in obtaining an absolute majority (22 of 41 seats) in Guadeloupe's regional council election in January, following annulment of the March 1992 election. The rerun was ordered by the French Council of State after it was found that a dissident group had incorrectly filed its electoral list.In the Netherlands Antilles public protests erupted in St. Maarten in March because of dissatisfaction over the way the local council was running the island's affairs, particularly the utility services. The protesters called for the councillors' resignation and the holding of new elections. In November, Curaçao chose not to follow the example set by Aruba and voted overwhelmingly to remain a part of the Netherlands Antilles group. A week later Prime Minister Maria Liberia-Peters resigned and was replaced by Susanne Romer.Former chief minister John Osborne vowed in February to "kick the British out of Montserrat" following his acquittal on corruption and conspiracy charges. He claimed he had been "framed" by the British colonial administration. Montserrat obtained a new governor in May, when Frank Savage succeeded the retiring David Taylor.Pacific.It was a bad year for incumbent political leaders in U.S. territories. One-term governor Larry Guerrero of the Northern Marianas lost his reelection bid in November 1993. He was defeated by his predecessor in office, Froilan C. Tenorio. Guerrero followed in the path of Peter Tali Coleman, American Samoa's governor for 11 of the previous 15 years, who was defeated at the polls in November 1992. Coleman was succeeded by Sen. A.P. Lutali, who had previously served as governor (1985-89). Lutali accused Coleman of continuing to hire and promote staff after the election and of making advance payments for services to political appointees. Within months Lutali had addressed the territory's financial crisis by dismissing 20% of all government workers, most of them Coleman appointees hired on a temporary basis or on contract.Pres. Ngiratkel Etpison of Palau (Belau) also lost reelection, to former vice president Kuniwo Nakamura. At the same time, 14 of Palau's 16 states voted for a constitutional change that opened the way for the controversial antinuclear constitution to be amended by simple majority and, as a consequence, for Palau to negotiate with the U.S. on a Compact of Free Association. In seven previous plebiscites 62-73% of voters had supported change, just short of the 75% previously required by the constitution.In March, Frank Lui, a former Cabinet minister and a member of the Niue legislature since 1970, was named to succeed Young Vivian as prime minister. Vivian had held the post since the death of Sir Robert Rex, Niue's long-serving premier, in December 1992. Lui announced that his government would try to persuade Niueans to return home. About 12,000 Niueans lived in New Zealand, compared with some 2,400 living on Niue. In October the Cook Islands served as host for the South Pacific Festival of Arts. However, the festival, and especially the $NZ 11.6 million cultural centre built for it, gave the government a deficit of $NZ 6 million, its largest in 20 years.The economy of French Polynesia was adversely affected by France's decision to join the international moratorium on nuclear testing; some 10,000 jobs and 20% of the territory's revenue were directly related to the testing program. The French government agreed to provide financial assistance to ease the loss. In December 1992 the Court of Appeal in Paris had upheld minor corruption charges against Gaston Flosse, a prominent local politician and former minister in the French government, and Jean Juventin, president of the Territorial Assembly. In March 1993, Flosse was elected to the French National Assembly as one of the territory's two representatives.In New Caledonia, progress was reviewed on the implementation of the Matignon accords, under which a major development program would be followed by a referendum on the territory's political future in 1998. To some extent the process was soured by a controversy over the purchase by the Kanak-controlled Northern Province of major tourist assets in the south, the chief area of European settlement.East Asia.The standoff between the U.K. and China over Gov. Chris Patten's proposals for expanding democracy dominated political life in British-run Hong Kong in 1993. Patten had proposed widening the franchise in the 1995 elections for the Legislative Council's 60 seats, only 20 of which were to be directly elected. The councillors' terms were supposed to last until 1999, two years after the 1997 return of sovereignty to China. Beijing (Peking) steadfastly denounced the proposals, insisting that they ran counter to the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, the post-1997 Basic Law for the territory, and an earlier exchange of letters on electoral arrangements. Officials refused to hold talks with the British unless the proposals were dropped, and they threatened to set up a parallel political structure to prepare for the transition.In late March the Hong Kong government officially gazetted, or published, the proposals as a bill, setting the stage for a potential debate and vote in the Legislative Council. Shortly afterward China agreed to hold talks, but the negotiations dragged on for round after round with no visible progress. Public statements on both sides became more acrimonious. In October, Patten revealed that the British side had offered concessions that would greatly reduce the eligible electorate for the 40 non-directly elected seats, but China maintained its position. In December, Patten made good on earlier promises and introduced legislation on electoral reform. Beijing immediately broke off talks and declared an end to cooperation with the U.K.Despite the political tension, the territory's economy continued to grow at a robust rate of 5%. The stock market became feverish in October, breaking records on a daily basis after the U.S. investment house Morgan Stanley gave it a highly bullish rating owing to China's growth prospects, and foreign money flooded in. In neighbouring Macau, which was due to be returned to China in 1999, boomtown-style development continued as gambling tycoon Stanley Ho gained Beijing's approval for a $1.4 billion land-reclamation project, set to expand Macau's mainland territory by 20%.(BARRIE MACDONALD; DAVID RENWICK;MELINDA C. SHEPHERD; BERTON WOODWARD)This updates the articles Hong Kong; Pacific Islands; West Indies.
* * *▪ TableDependent States1AustraliaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsNorfolk IslandDenmarkFaroe IslandsGreenlandFinlandÅland IslandsFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaGuadeloupeMartiniqueMayotteNew CaledoniaRéunionSaint Pierre and MiquelonWallis and FutunaNetherlands, TheArubaNetherlands AntillesNew ZealandCook IslandsNiueTokelauUnited KingdomAnguillaBermudaBritish Virgin IslandsCayman IslandsFalkland IslandsGibraltarGuernseyIsle of ManJerseyMontserratPitcairn IslandSaint Helena and Tristan da CunhaTurks and Caicos IslandsUnited StatesAmerican SamoaGuamNorthern Mariana IslandsPuerto RicoVirgin Islands (of the U.S.)1Excludes territories (1) to which Antarctic Treaty is applicable in whole or in part, (2) without permanent civilian population, (3) without internationally recognized civilian government (Western Sahara), or (4) representing unadjudicated unilateral or multilateral territorial claims.See as table:
* * *