Colors: Blue Color

The life and times of Trinidadian war hero, judge and diplomat, Ulric Cross, will be portrayed in a new film – ‘HERO’ to be screened at the BFI Southbank, London on May 18.

The feature film, produced by former UK resident, Frances-Anne Solomon, has already received international acclaim at its screenings in Trinidad and Tobago and Canada.

The story told is of Cross, a trailblazer who made his mark on history as a Navigator of fighter planes in World War II.  He became one of the RAF’s most decorated West Indian Airmen. He then went on to play a central role in the independence struggles of both Africa and the Caribbean.

“Ultimately, the story is about us. About who we are as Caribbean people and as citizens of the world,” says filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon. “In that spirit, we’re thrilled to be bringing ‘HERO’ to the UK where much of the filming took place.  It is particularly poignant that this year is the seventy-fifth anniversary of the first major generation of Caribbean arrivals in Britain -- on the Empire Windrush.”

Filmed across the UK, Trinidad, Ghana, and Canada, ‘HERO’ features a host of celebrated British actors including Joseph Marcell of Fresh Prince of Bel Air fame, playing the role of writer CLR James; Fraser James, of Terminator Salvation, playing the role of George Padmore and British-Nigerian actor Jimmy Akingbola, of BBC’s Holby, playing Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah.

Following its premier at the BFI, HERO will be taken across the UK in the lead up to the 75th Windrush celebrations in June.


‘Dressed Up’, a soon to be launched retail shop specializing strictly in dresses, has been generating quite a buzz in several fashion-forward circles as well as on social media. Eagerness for the unveiling on this novel concept has only grown with news of the owner’s aspiration to use the platform to showcase the works of Caribbean designers and to assist victims of domestic abuse.

The highly anticipated Dressed Up will carry ready-to-wear casual, contemporary and designer dresses for women from various walks of life such as corporate professionals, college students, stylish homemakers, trendy fashionistas or high-profile celebrities.  The shoppe will also offer a few very high-end, one-of-a-kind couture dresses for the discerning client with a desire for the exclusive.

Set to open soon in Newark, New Jersey, this garment-exclusive venture has so far been met with excitement by the general public and has received positive feedback and support from several fashion industry insiders.

‘Dressed Up’ is the brainchild of Trinidadian-born, New York-based Diane Wiltshire, known professionally and affectionately in the fashion world by the sobriquet ‘Fury’.

Fury has graced numerous international catwalks as a professional model and through her work honing her skills in this industry, fostered her passion for fashion and penchant for distinctive style.

With regard to her current mission with this retail initiative she shared, “I use fashion to express my feelings about where I am going and I use my style to honour who I am seeing. So being able to create a space where I can facilitate other women (and the men who love them) with finding that special piece that allows them to honour not only themselves but the ambiance, occasion and company, brings me incredible joy and excitement!”

In addition to her long-time modelling career, Fury brings an almost 20 year career in the Hospitality industry and a team which is highly experienced in business development, fashion merchandising and branding to this bourgeoning enterprise.

As a proud and determined Caribbean woman, Fury intends to pay homage to her heritage by featuring dresses and collections by both established and emerging designers from the region and diaspora and has already established a collaboration to carry the line of a major Caribbean fashion icon.

Notably, as a domestic abuse survivor, she will be partnering Dressed Up with a domestic abuse women’s shelter and will be dressing survivors who have lost everything but their lives. The program entitled ‘reDRESSed’ will dress survivors as they re-enter the workforce.

With an imminent launch, an already growing buzz and a unique concentration on dresses, 'Dressed Up' is poised to become the focused option and solution for satisfying this specific need in busy and savvy consumers saving them from the overwhelming, time consuming and often annoying task of sifting through racks of shirts, pants & tops in average department stores.





One of the gems of the Caribbean rolled out the red carpet yesterday for the arrival of Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, who set foot on Nevisian soil as part of their historic Caribbean Tour.

“We are delighted that the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited our beautiful island of Nevis. Hundreds turned out to welcome the Royals who received a truly warm welcome from the people of Nevis” said Honorable Nevis Premier Mark Brantley. “We are especially pleased that Prince Charles has returned to Nevis since his last visit was some 45 years ago. Nevis continues to have a love affair with the Royals who have at various times visited our shores. We wish the Royal couple continued success on their Caribbean trip.”

On their arrival at the Charlestown Port, the Royal couple was greeted by a welcome party, comprising of Deputy Governor General Her Honour Hyleeta Liburd, Premier of Nevis Hon. Mark Brantley, Deputy Premier Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Hon. Spencer Brand, Hon. Eric Evelyn, Hon. Troy Liburd and Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, as well as scores of students and members of the general public

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were escorted to Government House at Bath Plains, where a reception had been planned that included cultural presentations by the masquerades of the Nevis Cultural Development Foundation, the Bath Village Community Tourism Group, and the Charlestown Primary School Pan Jammers.

While His Royal Highness Prince Charles departed the island, to return to St. Kitts to participate in engagements planned there, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Deputy Governor General visited The Hermitage Inn owned by the Lupinacci family. Before it was transformed into a plantation inn, The Hermitage was a Great House built sometime between 1670 and 1740.  Today, it is a plantation inn that offers traditional Nevisian hospitality and lifestyle for up to 35 guests, who stay in reconstructed gingerbread cottages “uniquely-named for the stories they tell.” A “must see” on Nevis, The Hermitage boasts of original cuisine, a collection of antiques, old-fashioned gardens, horses, carriages and local arts and crafts.


Yachting, sailing and regattas are identical within the Caribbean, the continuous trade winds and the warm sun is a draw both for the experienced sailors and novices.

The Caribbean Sea offers the perfect playground for a host of water sports with gentle warm currents and trade winds making the islands ideal for yachting, sailing, regattas, power-boating, paddle-boarding and kayaking too!

Sailors and crews come for year-round racing regattas but many of our visitors are content to make an occasional sailing trip the most treasured memory of their holiday. It can be a romantic sunset cruise on a remodelled galleon or a day’s full sailing on a yacht, dropping anchor in an isolated bay, so that visitors can swim in crystal clear waters and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Whatever your choice, sailing the Caribbean is an extraordinary adventure of a lifetime.

And around these events, there are numerous on-land activities to enjoy too.

Join the Caribbean Tourism Organization Twitter Chat on Tuesday 26 March from 3pm - 4pm GMT, where we will highlight the yachting, sailing and regattas events and activities in the Caribbean region.

Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #LoveCaribbean .


Some 15,000 people still need to be rescued from the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai, Mozambique officials say.

The cyclone victims there are stranded by catastrophic flooding and are clinging to roofs or stuck in trees, charities say.

In the port city of Beira, aid workers say there are only two to three days of clean water left.

Some 300 people are confirmed dead in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, but the toll is expected to rise.

The powerful cyclone swept in to Beira last Thursday, with winds of more than 177km/h (106 mph). It left a trail of devastation as it moved inland.

Oxfam say that an area of about 3,000 sq km (1,864 sq miles) is now under water.

Medical agencies are warning that the shortage of food and clean drinking water is increasing the threat of disease.

"The first thing you see when you arrive is destruction and a lot of water," said Get Verdonck, an emergency co-ordinator with the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

"People are using well water with no chlorination, and that water is unlikely to be clean... pneumonia and other respiratory diseases are going to be a problem," he told Reuters from Beira.

Aid groups said Mozambique had borne the brunt of flooding from rivers that flow downstream from neighbouring countries.

A total of 217 people are confirmed dead in the country, but many areas have still not been reached.

Caroline Haga, an official with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the worst-hit areas were close to the Buzi river west of Beira.

She said rescue teams were dropping high-energy biscuits, water purification tablets and other supplies to people surrounded by water and mud.

"We have thousands of people... in roofs and trees waiting for rescue," Ms Haga told AFP news agency.

"We are running out of time. People have been waiting for rescue for more than three days now. We can't pick up all the people so our priority is children, pregnant women, injured people."

Celso Correia, Mozambique's minister of land and environment, confirmed this, telling Reuters the number of people still needing to be rescued was thought to be about 15,000.

He added that 3,000 people had already been rescued so far.

Deborah Nguyen, of the World Food Programme (WFP), said the priorities were reaching people trapped in the flooded areas and then organising temporary shelter for those rescued.

"Relief operations are progressing, but there is still a lot of work," she told AFP.

Mozambique President Felipe Nyusi has said more than 100,000 people are at risk.



Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s support for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, while urging deeper collaboration to boost their trade and development potential.

She was addressing the 37th session of the ACP and European Union (EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly on the impact of Brexit on ACP-EU Partnership in Bucharest, Romania. The Assembly aims to promote greater dialogue, cooperation and understanding among ACP and EU countries.

In her opening remarks, Secretary-General Scotland underpinned the importance of the Assembly, which brings together politicians from 79 ACP and 28 EU countries.

“A broad and diverse range of voices, views and vision should continue to be brought together as new partnerships [post-Cotonou Agreement] are forged to deliver peace, prosperity and sustainability for our people and planet,” she said.

The Cotonou Agreement, which frames EU-ACP cooperation on a broad range of issues, is set to expire at the end of 2020. A successor arrangement is currently being negotiated. At the same time, the UK, one of the EU’s largest economies and a key donor, is leaving the EU – a process known as Brexit. The focus of discussions was to better understand the possible disruptions caused by Brexit.

The ACP Group shares 40 members with the Commonwealth and enjoys preferential trade access to the EU market, including the United Kingdom.

Focusing on the possible implications of Brexit, the Secretary-General presented four potential strands of collaboration between the Commonwealth and ACP Group to ensure trade continues to support sustainable development.

The first strand involves continuing Commonwealth engagement with the EU27, two of which are Commonwealth countries: Cyprus and Malta. Both countries have expressed strong interest in working within the EU on behalf of other Commonwealth member countries.

The second strand examines the trade possibilities offered within the context of Brexit once final terms are agreed. The Commonwealth has previously worked with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa to examine how Brexit could impact them. This analysis could be extended in collaboration with the ACP Secretariat.

The third strand focuses on leveraging “south-south engagement” to explore a greater interface between the ACP Group and rapidly industrialising Commonwealth countries in Asia.

The final strand deepens the Commonwealth’s existing collaboration with the ACP Group to strengthen the capacity of members so they fully benefit from their relationships with the EU and the UK.

The Secretary-General called for the extension of the Hub and Spokes programme, which comes to an end in April. The Hub and Spokes programme is a joint aid-for-trade initiative of the European Union, ACP Secretariat, the Commonwealth and la Francophonie.

“We have received numerous requests from member countries for the programme to be extended.  However this requires external budgetary support,” she stated.  “Last October, ACP Ministers of Trade further validated the contribution of the programme and supported its continuation.  If it is not extended, there will be a gap in the support provided to ACP countries and regions at a critical time when they are implementing trade agreements and addressing numerous emerging trade issues.”

The Secretary-General also presented a range of initiatives leaders adopted at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London last year, which include:

  • A ‘Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment’ – to support global growth, create employment and promote sustainable development;
  • A ‘Commonwealth Trade Finance Facility’ – a facility to provide Commonwealth small states with up to $100 million of incremental finance to boost trade;
  • A ‘Commonwealth Innovation Hub’ – a digital hub which offers cost-effective and practical ideas to many of the challenges faced by member countries while trying to improve standards of living and achieve sustainable development;
  • The Commonwealth Blue Charter– a joint commitment by member countries to protect the ocean and sustainably manage its resources; and
  • A ‘Commonwealth Cyber Declaration’ – a collective pledge of 53 members to work closely together to evaluate and strengthen their cybersecurity frameworks and response mechanisms.
The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly focuses on the unique needs of the ACP Group in discussions on the post-Cotonou agreement to help every member country reach their development goals.


Upon arrival at Dubai International Airport (UAE) members of the Jamaica Middle East Diaspora, adorned in Gold, Green and Black, were on hand to greet the Jamaican contingent of athlete’s coaches and medical staff with flowers, gifts, enthusiastic hugs and kisses and of course numerous selfies.

The welcome did not stop there, within 24 hours of the team’s arrival, in the UAE, and a very long flight, the Jamaican contingent were more than happy to accept an invitation from Cool Runnings Events organizer Daron Williams who hosted the team at the Els Golf Club Dubai, helped by Jamaican Middle East Diaspora.

On entering the Els Club, The Jamaican Special Olympics Team (JSOT) were welcomed by a cheering crowd of Jamaican flag waving revellers, with a sound track of Reggae music. Judging by the expressions on the faces of the JSOT, they genuinely appeared to be shocked, surprised and in some cases overwhelmed by the enthusiastic reception.

The normally effervescent Mrs. Lorna Bell Executive Director of Special Olympics eloquently expressed her gratitude to all those parties that had made the event happen, through tears of joy she eloquently told the attentive revellers of the difficult road that had been travelled, to raise the funds for flights, while congratulating the athletes for their hard work and many sacrifices they had made to simply to reach the World Games.

The customarily reserved Chargé d' Affaires, Nigel Smith from the Jamaican Embassy did not hesitate to take the opportunity to welcome the JSOT and wish them well and every success in the World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.

Daron Williams of Cool Runnings and MC Lennox Christie of (JMED) both delivered pride enthused speeches of motivation and inspiration, sprinkled with Jamaican style humour, but the most heartfelt speech was by H.E. Remigio Maradona the Secretary-General of Institution for the use of Micro-Algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition (IIMSAM) who said that,

The Late Dr. Hope P. White Davis, Founder and President of World Association of Former United Nations Interns and Fellows, who had mentored him for was the greatest Jamaica he had ever known”

Maradona also expressed how the late Dr White-Davis made him who he is today, despite facing the challenges of being disabled by Polio since childhood.

Notwithstanding the frivolities, food and entertainment, one of the most emotional moments of the Carnival was when the yellow vested members of the Jamaican Olympic team stood in unison with attending guests who, spontaneously stood for and sang the Jamaican National Anthem.

Once the opening formalities of the Carnival were complete, I managed to speak with the event organizer Daron Williams and asked him what motivated him to organize this welcome Carnival, He passionately stated,

As a Jamaican who loves all things Jamaican, I wanted to ensure that the Jamaican Special Olympics Team Felt welcome in the UAE by showing them that they have the love, support and respect of Jamaicans in the UAE.

As Jamaicans, we are an amazing people, we continue to overcome adversity and succeed. The presence of the JSOT team at the Special World Championship Games, here in the UAE is a testament to that ever-present Jamaican trait of being determined to succeed regardless of the barriers we sometimes face”

This Caribbean themed Carnival welcome, included catering by Reggae Birds and Patties by Papa Burties. No Caribbean event in the UAE would be the same without Reggae DJ Sir Lennox and DJ’s and a selection of other DJ’s organized by Don Corneille of Redemption Lifestyle organized to deliver soundtracks that would later lift the roof off of the normally exclusive and sedate Els Club.

Without hesitation, The Els Club Manager Miles Entwistle and events manager Verah Henry both said the event was a success and an amazing cultural experience. Judging by the atmosphere and the reaction of the JSOT, and the revellers, they were absolutely correct.

Article & Photos by Delroy Constantine-Simms

Have you ever thought about what truly makes you happy?

It is a question the United Nations is asking us to think about, because it has branded Friday 20 March the

It’s International Happiness Day today with the serious business of the pursuit of happiness the world over upper most on people’s minds.

Launched by the United Nations, in 2013, it is hoped that the initiative encourages governments to consider the well-being of its citizens, rather than focusing efforts solely on economic growth.

Visual Social Media expert, Louise Myers, says: “International Day of Happiness is celebrated on March 20th of every year. But,” she continues, “I suggest you celebrate it every day.

“Your happiness isn’t set in stone. Influence it by the choices you make daily.

“Genes have about 50% of influence in your personal happiness. Circumstances like income and environment affect only about 10%.

“As much as 40% is influenced by your daily activities. Your actions do make a difference in how happy you are.”

Different strokes for different folks! So, just do whatever makes you happy.

Have a happy ‘International Happiness Day’ today!

Sandwell Borough Council in the West Midlands is marking ‘World Social Work Day’ with events to highlight the importance of human relationships.

The special day, tomorrow (Tuesday March 19) is part of a world-wide appreciation of the work done in social care, with the theme of ;Promoting the importance of Human Relationships.'

To support the day, social workers from adult social care will be at three local libraries to talk about their roles.

And they will be working to encourage people to ask questions about the work of social workers in Sandwell.

Councillor Ann Shackleton, cabinet member for adult social care, said:”Anyone interested in this topic can pop in and meet staff from the community mental health, community social work and hospital teams to discuss the importance of human relationships.

“The staff will be keen to meet as many people as possible during these drop-in sessions.”

The sessions will be held between 10am – 3pm at:

  • Central Library, West Bromwich
  • Oldbury Library, Jack Judge House
  • Blackheath Library

Dr. Peter Tarlow is currently in Jamaica conducting a security audit as he leads the eTN Travel & Tourism Safety Training Program in the country. He has spent the last few days preparing a national tourism security plan, and over the next months will travel across Jamaica to speak with many visitors and locals. Dr. Tarlow’s aim is to get to know Jamaica from the inside out.

One of the ways that Dr. Tarlow is learning about Jamaica is by spending time with the country’s tourism police. Last night, he went out with four police officers in Montego Bay, a tourism security unit composed of 52 officers that is on active duty every day of the year. Its officers work 8-hour shifts, 5 days a week.

The police offers were quite open about both their challenges and successes, and Dr. Tarlow said it was an evening in which he saw a great deal and learned a lot. “This is my third trip to Jamaica, and each time I visit, I learn something new,” he said.

Jamaica Tourism is working with the eTN Travel & Tourism Safety Training Program to develop a unique approach to deal with visitor safety and security. Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett has made this the focal point for a new way forward for the visitor industry on this popular Caribbean island.

If the all-inclusive hotel Dr. Tarlow had the good fortune to stay at is any indication, Jamaica Tourism is moving full steam ahead with providing visitors with a positive holiday experience. Peter said he was amazed at the numbers of staff that work there and that between cleaners, technicians, swimming pool cleaners, and more, there seemed to be a never-ending sea of people making sure that everything was perfect at the hotel.

“The grounds are perfect, there is never a piece of trash on the ground, and the food is served by an ‘army’ of waiters and waitresses. It is all too easy to lose touch with reality and begin to think of oneself as royalty,” he described.

Dr. Tarlow will meet hotel security staff as part of the next leg of his extensive tourism security plan for the island nation.

Marriott has signed a long-term management agreement with Panchshil for a Ritz-Carlton hotel in Pune, India.

Expected to open in September, The Ritz-Carlton, Pune will be the brand’s second property in India and is one of three Ritz-Carlton hotels in the pipeline for the country.

“As the luxury hotel industry continues to rapidly evolve globally, we are looking at delivering authentic, destination-specific experiences that are luxurious as well as memorable,” said Lisa Holladay, Global Brand Leader for The Ritz-Carlton. “The launch of The Ritz-Carlton, Pune reiterates our focus to further strengthen a market of well-heeled travelers that appreciate our brand’s legendary service and memorable experiences.”

“The Ritz-Carlton, Pune is designed to be a captivating haven that complements our efforts to craft the city’s most refined and luxurious lifestyle destination. We are delighted to collaborate with Marriott International to bring the unique Ritz-Carlton luxury experience to the land of the Maratha’s heritage,” said Atul Chordia, Chairman, Panchshil Realty Pvt Ltd.

Master developer Nakheel is investing AED15 million (£3 million) to increase boat mooring capacity on Palm Jumeirah,  the artificial archipelago in the United Arab Emirates, with two new marinas that will bring the total berths on the island to 600.

New marinas are on the way at Nakheel’s Azure Residences waterfront apartment and restaurant complex on the island’s eastern trunk, and at the Pointe, Nakheel Malls’ seafront dining and shopping destination. 

Nakheel has appointed Majestic Marine Engineering to build the new facilities, with Applied Technology & Management the appointed consultants.

The marinas accommodate a total of 44 boats and yachts up to 30 metres long, and will complement Nakheel’s two existing marinas on the island, at Palm Views East and West, which are already at full capacity with 556 moorings.

Nakheel is also building six marinas, at a cost of AED165 million, at its new waterfront master development, Deira Islands. Between them, they will accommodate 614 boats and yachts up to 60 metres long.


An innovative research project led by the University of Wolverhampton to transform the teaching of languages in Palestine has received a £70,000 boost.

The TEFL-ePAL project aims to modernise the teaching of languages in Palestinian universities.

Professor of Digital Learning, John Traxler, from the University’s Institute of Education joined colleagues from international partners at a launch meeting at Anadolu University in Turkey last week.

He said: “The project represents another step in our ongoing engagement with the universities of Palestine and its neighbours, and another step in building our expertise and experience. Our colleagues out there are always happy to see us and understanding local culture and traditions, especially in terms of language and learning, are an important part of successful projects.”

With the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, the TEFL-ePAL project is a collaboration between European partners including the University of Wolverhampton. They will work with colleagues in Palestinian universities led by Al-Quds Open University in Jerusalem.

The University will receive 80,000 Euros (approx. £69,300) from the European Union over three years for its role in the project, which will involve developing training materials and delivering training events, and to create an environment for training the trainers.

It builds on consultancy, previous research projects and research studentships in the Institute of Education focused on digital learning, language learning and Palestinian people and institutions.


The UK is expecting a boost in visits from China following resent Chinese New Year celebrations.

Forward flight booking data showed that bookings from China to the UK were up 24% from January 30 to February 12, compared to the period when Chinese New Year fell last year. Longer term forward booking data shows that bookings from China to the UK were up 31% from January to June this year compared to the same period in 2018.

VisitBritain is expecting 483,000 visits from China in 2019, up 43% on 2017, with Chinese visitors expected to spend more than £1 billion this year, up 50%, moving it well into the UK’s top 10 markets.

Chinese New Year is always a prime time to travel for the Chinese especially after the UK geared up to host some of the largest celebrations outside of Asia – with events including three days of celebrations in Liverpool, parades in Manchester, festivals and performances in Birmingham and Leeds to a street parade from Charing Cross to Chinatown in London and the first ever Chinese New Year festival in Edinburgh.

VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said: “We want the UK to be the number one destination for travellers so it is great to see forward bookings looking strong in the coming weeks and months from China, the world’s most valuable outbound market.

“China is an extremely important market for VisitBritain and we want to provide a world-class experience and welcome for Chinese visitors who travel here. We’re building on the growth we have seen, working with partners such as British Airways and Ctrip to convert the inspiration to visit into bookings and making it easier to visit and explore more of the UK through regional gateways, driving our ambitious plans for growth.

“With 2019 being the Chinese Year of the Pig we also have an added opportunity, through the rising popularity and profile of iconic British brands such as Peppa Pig in China, to connect with millions of potential visitors to the UK and promote associated visitor attractions, destinations and experiences.”

Peppa Pig was recently named as a ‘super brand’ by e-commerce giant Tmall in recognition of the character’s growing popularity in China.

Chinese perceptions of Britain as a visitor destination are strong. China ranked the UK second out of 50 nations for its overall brand in the 2018 Anholt Nation Brands Index, up two places from 2017, also ranking the UK highly for its vibrant cities and urban attractions.

Visitors from China are some of the UK’s highest spenders, spending on average £2,059 during their visit, more than three times the all-market visitor average. For every 22 visits from China one job is created in the tourism industry.

Tourism is worth £127 billion to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.

Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s collective commitment to an inclusive, fair and open rules-based multilateral trading system which drives growth, productivity, innovation and employability.

She was speaking at the 2019 Asia Trade Summit in Hong Kong on the importance of the Asia region in the Commonwealth’s mandate to promote and create inclusive prosperity. The summit brought together trade negotiators, business leaders, ministers, academics and economists for the advancement of global trade.

Opening a panel discussion on Global Business in an Anti-Global World, the Secretary-General said: “During the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), heads raised concerns about the risks of protectionism to the global economy and underlined the importance of resisting all forms of protectionism.”

In response, they adopted the Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment to leverage the expertise of member countries to increase intra-Commonwealth trade to $2 trillion by 2030. The Agenda will also foster greater cooperation between Commonwealth countries by learning from Asia’s vast experience in bilateral and multilateral trade.

The panel discussion presented proposals for consideration such as:

  • tax reform policies;
  • emerging changes to production from digitisation; and
  • empirical data to guide policymaking.
She argued that multinationals must ‘sing in chorus’ to make their voices heard and help ensure protectionism does not prevail. “They [multinationals] must continue to engage with governments to press for free and open trade which supports inclusive economic growth and prosperity,” she added.

Focusing on the need for inclusivity, Secretary-General Scotland described investing in human capital as key to economic growth, remarkably in this age of digitisation. She said this investment helps ensure the benefits of economic boom are distributed more equally.

She continued: “The quality and quantity of education have powerful effects on the distribution of income and on economic growth for everyone. A lack of investment in human capital leads to productivity losses in future which constrains the growth and economic transformation of a country.”

The Secretary-General also called for greater integration of small states in the global trading landscape. She said: “With 31 of the 39 world’s small states in the Commonwealth, we offer support to strengthen their fuller integration and beneficial participation into the international trading system so every member state can realise their development goals.”

Speaking as a member of the panel, Victor Fung, Group Chairman of Fung Group, said: “A balanced multilateral trading system will work closely towards developing inclusive and sustainable growth which will play a critical role in enabling developing countries to eradicate poverty.”

During her first visit to Hong Kong, the Secretary-General has also met with the Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia, Dr Ong Kian Ming, along with other development partners and senior officials.

Last month, the Government of Malaysia hosted a special session on inclusive trade which marked the launch of the working groups of the Connectivity Agenda. The Deputy Minister welcomed the Agenda and confirmed his country’s continued support for the Commonwealth.

He said: “The Commonwealth’s work on the Connectivity Agenda is a good starting point to make trade more real and beneficial for an ordinary person.”

The observations from the summit will help inform the 2019 Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting, which resumes after the 2005 meeting in Hong Kong.  


Commonwealth governments are set to benefit from a ground-breaking scientific research expedition into the unexplored depths of the Indian Ocean.

First Descent, a collaboration of ocean research institute Nekton, the Commonwealth and other partners will launch a multidisciplinary exploration of never-before-accessed ocean territory.

The expedition ship, a floating research station, will set sail from Seychelles in March equipped with cutting-edge subsea technologies, including a submersible capable of descending hundreds of metres into the ocean, and some of the world’s top scientists on board to test the health of the ocean.

A launch of the initiative will take place at Marlborough House, the Commonwealth headquarters in London, on Wednesday, 6th of February. More than a hundred people, including Commonwealth High Commissioners, media, scientists and ocean specialists are expected to attend to learn more about the mission.

In December, the Commonwealth and Nekton signed a memorandum of understanding to boost actions under the Commonwealth Blue Charter – a joint commitment by member countries to protect the ocean and sustainably manage its resources.

“This is a mission of world firsts - including the first live subsea TV series and an examination of previously unexplored ocean depths with cutting edge technologies. But what is most important is the insight that this will offer governments and those who make decisions on important ocean governance issues such as conservation, climate change and fishing,” said Commonwealth Director of Trade, Oceans and Natural Resources, Paulo Kautoke.

He continued, “This important partnership with Nekton and governments who recognise the need to take urgent action to protect our ocean will not only support the uptake of new marine science technologies and platforms to improve access to ocean data, it will also facilitate science-based policies and laws, and develop training materials for capacity building.”

First Descent will kick-off in Seychelles, where Nekton is working on behalf of the Seychelles Government and partners. The country has committed to protect 30% of their ocean territory by 2020 and champions the issue of marine protection in the Commonwealth’s Blue Charter.

The Commonwealth Secretariat has been appointed to an expedition steering committee that will help to plan Nekton expeditions, and take part in training, capacity-building and promotional activities.

CEO of the Nekton Foundation Oliver Steeds described the initiative as “a bold bid to help accelerate our scientific understanding of how the Indian Ocean is changing”.

He said, “Sustainable ocean development is the heart of what we are doing to support a blue economy and we are delighted to partner with the Commonwealth to support regionally led ocean governance for the Indian Ocean region.  We are seeking other Commonwealth nations to participate in future expeditions after the Seychelles in 2019 through to 2022.”

The Nekton Indian Ocean Mission will run from 2019 to 2022. Three research expeditions will be deployed in distinct regions of the Indian Ocean. They are backed by an alliance of additional partners, including the UK Government, Omega, Kensington Tours, University of Oxford, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Sky and The Associated Press.