Historian: Time to reassert independence on the world stage

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The independence season is often seen as a time to reflect on the past, but historian Dorbrene O’Marde is calling on leaders to promote development which asserts the state’s freedom on the world stage.
O’Marde, chairperson of the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission, said it is time to reflect on decisions made in foreign affairs and economics to determine whether the investments made “are the best allocations of resources towards our development.”
In an exclusive interview yesterday, O’Marde discussed our independence in November 1981, which he said gave the state “control over our actions, definitions and paths.”
He then opined that the ability of government within the international system to exercise freedoms is under threat.
O’Marde explained that pressure from the international community on small states to sign treaties and bilateral agreements or express support for certain movements is what is causing this threat.
He added that it would “continue to facilitate the transfer of resources from the smaller territories of the world to the metropoles.”
He explained that the relationship between Antigua and the other islands in the region with their mother colonies should have changed more in the years following decolonisation, and very importantly, should have included reparations.
In celebrating not only the 36th year of independence in 2017, but Antigua’s 50th anniversary since achieving associated statehood from Great Britain, O’Marde explained that it is critical to learn lessons from how international relationships are handled.
 Back in 1967, Antigua became the first island in the Eastern Caribbean to achieve “statehood in association with Great Britain.” While the British remained responsible for our external affairs and defence, we handled all our internal matters.

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