The Queen arrives to the Commonwealth of Nations Meeting, Port Of Spain, Trinidad

” Pumpkin, I am here with you, we gave away too much of the world we owned”

Queen Elizabeth II in the waiting room of Port of Spain’s state of the art immigration building applying for her three day work permit.

Speaker phone: Queen la….Elizabeth Two Counter 4
CPEP worker: Yuh Majesty, I see dat I born before we independent fete, I say to meh self but I is British…meh birt papers say so. Where to apply for meh Majesty passport ?

Ah see meh time ready to attend big meeting in de Savannah ice skating ring, I reach dem emigration early and de lady tell meh is wait till meh appointment reach and meh number call. Ah say daddy, what blimey timing, Sod and I so longed for a vacation in the Caribbean Isles and we are inconvenienced. Oh Mary II days on our ship…Oh daddy, the officer whispered, “May I say my name”…I think it was Harald, darn..sweet cheeks of his. I wanted to play, but my nickers slipped down from my thighs and I pulled them up before Harald could figure out why I was twitching.

“My pumpkin, my rose petal, we walked crossing the fields of Balmoral, I taught you both that love never ceases, you are Queen if only your child grew up”.

Feinin as King George VI

Ah see meh eldest sitting wit dem natives, meh eh see why when she self once own dem all. I hear ah immigration officer call she name and mistake she for Queen Latifah. Ah say allyuh crude mistreating meh bright daughter…de younger sister too jealous hiding she nickers, calling she slim rod, oh Madgaret.

Next ting dem ask, who yuh fadder name ?  Meh pumpkin say, “Bloody King George VI, Albert Frederick Arthur George King of the United Kingdom and British Dominions and the first Head of the Commonwealth.

Dem officer look at meh Broach, “where yuh born?”, I took off my Brit jewels and slammed it in front of the lad, “pardon my french, I am Her Reigning Queen, Liz to no one, you are just servants,…lets hurry, supper is at six”.

Oh mommy, if only you could see how beautiful those boys are turning out to be without that witch who raised them spoiled. Harry is ridiculous, I’m counting on Charles, if Camilla, ran away with the dentist.

Mister Prince Willy,dough let yuh banana fruit touch meh

Meh Beautiful Grandson, Horse Grin Prince William borrowing and keeping meh favorite centre piece crown, look how he learning fast wit dem local celebrity native, Saucy Wow at de Commonwealth of Nations Meeting opening in de Chinee Ice Ring in Port of Spain. “Will boy show her your blue blood…come on, loose that bridle, give it all in the quarters…whap, again, whap, whap, whap… just a few more yards, whap, show her and the World that you are my King, King, King of the Commonwealth…Oh God Save the King. Stand ladies and gents, bow to him….whap,whap whap, whap, whap whap, whap, salute the Crown of England, Wales and the territories we once held, whap.”

Oh lawd Meh Royal Hind, ah ca take de flogging, I taking meh bible and going to say meh bible prayers, Jesus, mamee, pressure dis is madness, Eeeeric ah go repent.

The Crown

I encountered a strange omen over this crown which is made of from shards of glass, Christmas wrapping paper, mother of pearl buttons and cardboard. I could not understand my difficulty how it was to be displayed, and the power it possessed seems to be at its will. Blood at the head kept coming to mind. Then it came to me, what is missing was  a rod which the shell of the crown hung.

See  Danger Danger HM Elizabeth Alexandra Mary II


Source: Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma ( Whoever)
Location: Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago

I know that in this last day and a half you will have discussed your work both as individual, national human rights organisations, and as a pan-Commonwealth forum, exchanging best practice and ideas.

I know, too, that you will have discussed the specific human rights implications of climate change.

If climate change denies food, shelter, and even life, then it denies human rights.

Your findings of today and yesterday will no doubt interest our Heads of Government, who – on the eve of the UN Conference in Copenhagen – will meet and discuss this very subject, most likely on Saturday.

We believe absolutely in your role in promoting public awareness about human rights, and – more important – in protecting your citizens’ rights.

An NHRI sends a message of hope, commitment and solidarity to all citizens: it embodies the fact that the State exists for the citizen, and not the other way around.

It also reflects the will of the State to be an agent of social transformation, and an upholder of rights and values.

Through NHRIs, citizens are offered right of redress when they feel that their rights have been infringed.

Further, NHRIs can serve to keep the security apparatus of the state honest, as it is frequently the enforcers of the law who are prone to excesses, ignoring restraint and guidelines, making them secretive, lax or erratic.

It is in the nature of human rights work that transgressions – reported or under investigation – are sensitive and touch a raw nerve.

That is why the most durable route to remedial action and progress is internal criticism and corrective measures, not external.

Most of us are open to pointing out our own faults, but we tend to go on the defensive when the same faults are pointed out by outsiders.

Hence the crucially important role played by NHRIs as agents of constant improvement in helping states entrench the rule of law.

There are over 30 NHRIs now in the Commonwealth, and indeed we ourselves have helped to establish such bodies in places like Bangladesh, Cameroon, and The Maldives.

Back in 2001, we published our guidebook on NHRI best practice, in line with the Paris Principles.

Two years ago, in the days before the last CHOGM, we brought out a comparative study on your different NHRI mandates.

In a typically Commonwealth way, we found a coherence in values, as well as a distinctiveness in ways of applying them.

Since then, I know that you have met in Nairobi in the margins of the International Coordinating Committee of NHRIs, and in Geneva in the wings of the UN Human Rights Council.

So I am delighted that this Forum is in dynamic good health.

But let me reflect today on the health of human rights in the Commonwealth, and above all on how we are all called – often in different ways – to be human rights activists.

My preface is a simple but merited statement.

It is this: the Commonwealth is a human rights advancing organisation.

Under the 1991 Harare Declaration, Commonwealth leaders committed themselves to the ‘principles of justice and human rights, including the rule of law and accountable administrations’.

In subsequent CHOGMs they have reaffirmed their commitment, and they have also asked us for assistance how to turn it into practice.

These are mighty goals, difficult to attain to satisfaction, let alone perfection.

But they are essential to define our ambition and intent, and their embodiment has a healing and beneficial working.

Those leaders in 1991 were, of course, in part reflecting an existing situation.

The world had already seen the values-based Commonwealth as a human rights advancing organization, for instance in its implacable opposition to racism, especially in apartheid South Africa.

And it has been embodied since then in the work of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, which watches over those values, and is tasked with dealing with their serious or persistent violation.

So where do we stand, as a human rights advancing organization?

With human rights, it is worth saying that there are often stark distinctions drawn between the rhetoric and the reality, the principle and the practice.

Yet there are grey areas in between.

For instance, the fact that 14 of our members have yet to ratify the two 1966 UN Covenants, on Civil and Political Rights, and Social and Economic Rights – or subsequent Conventions, for instance against Torture, or Racism, or Women’s Discrimination – does not necessarily mean that they neither agree with them nor observe them.

It may well simply mean that the practicalities of ratifying, of implementing, or of reporting, are too onerous for some smaller or poorer states with little capacity.

The Secretariat lends a supportive hand.

When we received reports that the lives of human rights workers were threatened recently, we sought clarification.

Because we should all see ourselves – governors and governed alike, and as signatories to the Commonwealth Principles – as people with responsibility to uphold human rights.

Human rights speak to our most treasured values, and we all seek to observe them and see them observed.

Disappearances, arbitrary detentions, attacks on the press and freedom of expression or the space for civil society, undermining of the independence of the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary: whenever and wherever we hear of such things, they are of deep concern.

How are we to respond when human rights are in jeopardy?

How, especially given the fact that every country in the Commonwealth is committed to journeying on the path of democracy, human rights and the rule of law … and that most – at one time or another – will stumble…?

Not one of our 53 countries is perfect.

The Commonwealth way, therefore, is to recognize this, and to be ready to work – constructively and with quiet engagement – towards better solutions.

I feel that we gain little by publicly listing our grievances, and by naming names.

We gain the most when we agree ways of working together – or working separately, from our different points of strength, towards a shared goal – in strengthening our responses to abuses of human rights.

In doing so, here we are reflecting the very title of this CHOGM, given to us by our Trinidad and Tobago hosts this week: ‘partnership, for equity and sustainability’.

I repeat that all should be partners as human rights practitioners – equity and justice are our goals.

I have already outlined the pivotal role which NHRIs play.

Let me also at this juncture welcome the role played by non-governmental organizations and other Commonwealth bodies, such as the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.

The CHRI has been as passionate as it has been substantive in setting out some of our human rights concerns in the Commonwealth.

But what role should the inter-governmental Commonwealth continue to play, as an organisation which advances human rights?

First, it must continue to safeguard its principles against serious or repeated violation, which, as you know, is responsibility of all governments, and also the specific task of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group.

It is with great sadness that I mention the country which – in September – was fully suspended by the Commonwealth, through CMAG.

Many of you will know that this decision against Fiji Islands was taken not just because of unconstitutionality (in the form of an abrogation of the constitution), but, in the words of the Group, on account of, I quote, ‘the ongoing violation of human rights including freedom of speech and assembly, arbitrary detention of opponents of the military regime, and the undermining of the independence of the judiciary and legal system’.

This week, I believe that our leaders will look closer at the way we as a Commonwealth advance our defence of human rights, and how we, as a peer group, support each other, and where necessary sensitise each other, in that process.

We should give ourselves more scope and room to do so.

So our abiding interest is that we strive to make advances at all times.

And in that process deeds speak louder than words.

This makes us an organisation given more to engagement than to pronouncement.

We have to recognise that as independent member states the bulk of our membership is only a few decades old.

The task of nation and institution building will always be difficult, and living up to the high standards we have embraced will often be beset with lapses.

The Commonwealth seeks to be a strategic partner of member states as they advance in this herculean and noble task.

Hence we see greater value in raising a helping hand, than in raising a wagging finger.

I sometimes give the analogy that the Commonwealth is more of a coach, engaged by the team, than a referee.

And the deeds of the loyal and steadfast coach speak for themselves.

Many of them, in fact, are not quite public knowledge, but we strive for worthy outcomes and not self-advertisement.

It took a decade for us to help The Maldives, for instance, towards a new constitution, and multiparty elections in which, at the turn of this year, power changed hands peacefully.

It has taken as long to work with countries like Swaziland and Tonga on amended constitutions which marry the traditional with new, more people-centred democracy.

The Commonwealth will not cease from its engagement with its members that need it the most.

This is the shared work which we carry out with you, the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions.

All of us are engaged in the gradual bettering of Commonwealth societies, in the enactment of beliefs and values that we cherish, and in the balance to be struck between the necessity of what we say in stricture, and the greater necessity of what we do to bring about improvement.

We in the Commonwealth Secretariat will continue to help you as your countries go through the UN Human Rights Council’s process of Universal Periodic Review, or UPR.

128 countries have gone through UPR so far, of which 22 are from the Commonwealth – all of which were aided by us in that process.

Just last September, we held a seminar in Malawi for the 7 Commonwealth countries coming up for review in the coming year.

Furthermore, we are here to support the new and renewed commitments your governments make because of the UPR process.

For instance, the Bahamas committed itself in December 2008 to ratify the two UN Covenants, and did so.

We can now help with the implementation.

After UPR, Botswana pledged to set up a national human rights commission, and again we can help with the implementation.

This is our belief and our commitment, because advancing fundamental human rights is part of what binds us.

Human rights are as universal as they are indivisible.

It is our task to ensure that they are kept so, individually and collectively, in the Commonwealth.

Always, we seek to lift our act.

Human rights are both the simplest of absolutes, and the loftiest of ideals.

The right to life, the right to a fair trial, the right to choose your leaders, the right to literacy: these are just some of the human rights which have been debated – and desecrated – throughout our tortuous history.

But this meeting in Port of Spain is a world away from the reality of those who have been raped or tortured or abused, or the children who never get into school.

So it will always pay for us here to remember our real constituents: the victims of human rights abuses, as well as the many foot-soldiers in the fight to turn back those abuses – people like the local NGOs and human rights defenders, the fearless journalists, the model politicians and others whose commitment is to the values and principles we all share.

As I say, we are all in the business of promoting human rights, and we are all bound to support each other in that great endeavour.

….Blah blah blah

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