Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Acting Governor-General Proposes changes to Constitution

-- Virtual Pensacola

The Governor-General has issued the following statement to the Public Square:

I have after due thought and consideration of the proposals for modifications to our Constitution prepared a draft revised constitution.

The revised constitution addresses two issues:
1) The Monarchical 'Flavour' of the Document
2) The Residency and Age Requirements for Lords and Commons.

To this end the following changes have been made:

1a) I have changed the preamble for 'we the people' to:

It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the Advice of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, to declare by Proclamation that, on and after a Day therein appointed, that British West Florida shall form and be One Dominion under the Name of the Dominion of British West Florida.

The Dominion of British West Florida shall be founded upon principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in human rights and fundamental freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator.

1b) Article III now begins:
The executive authority of British West Florida is vested in Her Majesty the Queen, her heirs and successors.

Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive authority of British West Florida may be exercised on behalf of Her Majesty by the Governor-General either directly or through officers subordinate to him.

**Thanks to the Rt. Honourable James Alcock for his suggestions in this regard.

2a) The residency requirement of the House of Lords and Commons have been dropped in their entirety.

2b) The minimum age for setting in the Lords as be modified so that it applies to only those who 'obtain the dignity by inheritance'

These changes should allow us to more successfully recruit members form beyond the Dominions Borders. We assert that anyone sworn to Her Majesty in any realm is Subject of Her Majesty, the Queen of West Florida, the Constitution should reflect that.

The Proposed new Constitution is available online at

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Speaker of the House of Commons Resigns

-- Virtual Pensacola

The Acting Governor-General has reveled that the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Right Honourable Robert Frank, PC, has resigned effective immediately from his position as Speaker of the House of Commons.

"The Speaker citing conflicts between his Duties as Speaker and his Obligations to his employer has elected to resign his position."

"I regret that the Speaker found himself in this position, but I support the former Speaker's choice at this time. We all have to recognize that we have obligations in the 'real world' that may from time to time interfere with our ability to serve God and Queen in the Dominion of British West Florida"

"I hope that Mr. Frank will be able to rejoin us and our efforts in the future, and wish him Godspeed until then."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

HM Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of New Zealand approves new medal

New Zealand's Head of State approves new medal
From Wikinews
May 23, 2007

New Zealand Defence Force personnel now have a new honour; the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration (DSD) has been approved by the Queen of New Zealand, Prime Minister Helen Clark has said.

The Distinguished Service Decoration is designed to recognise distinguished military service by regular, territorial and reserve members of the Defence Force, including command, leadership and service in an operational environment, or in support of operations, both at home and abroad, says Clark

Defence Minister Phil Goff said that until 1995 this type of service was recognised by awards of the British Empire Medal (Military Division) and the lower levels of the Military Division of the Order of the British Empire.

"Since the change to a totally New Zealand honours system in 1996, awards at these levels have not been available,"

Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae, says the award is an important addition to the country's honour system and will be highly reguarded like the Queen's Service Medal.

He says more than 700 personnel are on operations or deployment and that "the DSD is an important addition to the New Zealand Honours system", and will enjoy precedence comparable to that of The Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) and the recently instituted New Zealand Antarctic Medal (NZAM).

The new medal will be made of Sterling Silver. The obverse design is a representation of eight blades of a Kotiate (lobed club) in a circle with a Royal Crown in the centre. The front four blades are in frosted silver, the rear blades are polished silver. The reverse bears the inscription “For Distinguished Service” in English and Maori. The ribbon is dark blue and red, the colours of the British Distinguished Service Order ribbon, with two narrow yellow stripes that signify achievement.
David Baguley, Director Honours Secretariat shows the Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae the new distinguished service decoration.
David Baguley, Director Honours Secretariat shows the Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae the new distinguished service decoration.

The first awards will be announced on June 4th's Queen's Birthday honours list. Recipients will be entitled to use the initials "D.S.D." after their name.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Governor-General issues Statement on the Assassination of Alix Joseph.

From virtual Pensacola, the Governor-General's Press Releases:

Statement on the Assassination of Alix Joseph.

The Dominion of British West Florida joins the United Nations mission in Haiti in condemning the assassination of radio journalist Alix Joseph.

Mr. Joseph, the director of Radio Provinciale, was assassinated on 16 May in Gonaïves by armed men, apparently because he highlighted and spoke out against the increasingly violent armed gangs in the city.

This cruel and irresponsible act adds to the long list of crimes already committed against professionals of the Haitian press, actions which interfere with the ability of Haitian people to be informed.

The Dominion of British West Florida strongly supports a free press as a support for liberty, and strongly urges the government of Haiti to bring those responsible for this crime to justice in a timely manner.

Stamp Landscapes to be chosen in Open Contest.

-- Virtual Pensacola

The Stamps and Stationery Select Committee has announced an 'open contest' to promote the provision of landscape images for the new 'Landscapes and Queen' series.

Contestants who submit the 'winning image' for each barony or title domain will receive:
1) A complimentary sheet (15 stamps) of the stamps featuring the image they provided.
2) Recognition on the Stamps page in the Commercial District.
3) A Certificate of Appreciation from the Marquess of Mobile as Chairman of the House of Lords' Select Committee on Stamps and Stationery.

Images submitted must be the property of the submitter, and copyrights must be released to the Dominion of British West Florida, its subsidiary units, and Reliable Information Systems and its contractors.

Images may be submitted via the Dominion's public square, or emailed to the Marquess of Mobile.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Wreck of English 'Merchant Royal' found near Cornwall

from Wikinews
May 19, 2007

Reports say that a team of treasure hunters from the United States has recovered over 500 million U.S. dollars (£253m) worth of gold and silver coins off the coast of Cornwall, United Kingdom in what is being called the biggest treasure find ever, but the exact location of the treasure has not been named because of security and legal concerns. The operation is codenamed the Black Swan Project.

Odyssey Marine Exploration made the discovery and the treasure is believed to be from a 17th century shipwreck located some 40 miles off the Cornish coast. There have reportedly been hundreds of thousands of the silver coins and at least 200 gold coins found in the wreckage, some in "near mint condition." All the coins are being examined in the U.S. by experts.

"The gold coins are almost all dazzling mint state specimens," said one of the founders of Odyssey Marine Exploration, Greg Stemm.

The reports came out when Doctor Lane Brunner, who is located in the U.S. and is an expert on coins, said that the team had to report the discovery to a judge in the fall of 2006 before the finds could be salvaged.

"They told a judge at that point that they had found the wreck of a seventeenth-century merchant ship in the Atlantic Ocean, just outside the English Channel - about 40 miles off Land's End. So all we can do is add two and two together. It would seem logical given the timing and everything that could be the site," said Brunner.

Reports suggest that the shipwreck is that of the Merchant Royal which is said to have sunk in 1641 near the Scilly Islands.

"We have treated this site with kid gloves and the archaeological work done by our team out there is unsurpassed. We are thoroughly documenting and recording the site, which we believe will have immense historical significance," added Stemm.

DBWF Collectors Stamps now Available.

The House of Lords' Select Committee on Stamps and Stationery has announced that the 'Cinderella' stamps that celebrate our Queen and Country are now entering production. These stamps should not be confused with valid postage. They are intended for collectors, or as 'endorsements' and not as postage.

The First in our Landscapes and Queen Collector's Stamp Series is now available:

This stamp features the beach on St. George Island and a cameo image of Her Majesty in the upper right.

Each sheet of 15 'Cinderella' stamps is available for US$10.50
(DBWF 1 Shilling, 4 Pence).

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Joint Resolution Commending HRH Prince Henry of Wales.

-- Virtual Pensacola,
The Governor-General's Press Releases

The Houses of Parliament have proposed, And I heartily support the Following Resolution of Support for His Highness Prince Henry of Wales:

Whereas Second Lieutenant His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales has, despite some controversy regarding the matter, chosen to voluntarily serve in the Iraq Theater of Operations with his regiment, The Blues and Royals,

And whereas military service in Iraq is becoming increasingly more hazardous and stressful,

And Whereas the Head of the British Army,General Sir Richard Dannatt has determined it not in the best interest of the service for HRH Prince Henry to be deployed despite his Highness' earnest desire,

We, the members of the Parliament of the Dominion of British West Florida do commend His Royal Highness for his resolve and spirit of selfless service,

And do pray that the Almighty in his infinite wisdom, will see fit to return all his comrades in arms safely to the bosom of their peoples and to bring the blessings of peace and prosperity to the Persian Gulf region.

Bo Register, Marquess of Mobile, Baron Von Servers of Fayette,
Acting Governor-General, His Grace being in Georgia,
in Service to The Dominion of British West Florida

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lord Marshall: Remember the State Opening of Parliament

-- Virtual Pensacola,

From the Public Square:

Each of you who are able to attend, please let me know, so I can properly arrange for a meeting hall.

All Citizens are invited to attend, along with all Members of Parliament.

Attendance, even by the members is NOT mandatory, as our Sovereign Lady will not be in attendance.

Members of Parliament are reminded of the Dress for the Occasion:

All members of both Houses of Parliament (Lords and Commons) wear Black Robes of Office
(like academic or judicial robes in the US).

All Members of the Order of Saint Barnabas should most assuredly wear their medals.

Members of the House of Commons would have a 'Green Cord of Office'. This cord would be knotted at the end with tassels.

The Speaker may add additional distinction to his Robe of Office in a manner of his choosing, provided that no Stole be added.

The Lords:
Barons - a Red Stole
Viscounts - a Yellow Stole
Earls - a Green Stole
Marquess - a Blue Stole
Duke - a Purple Stole
Spiritual – a White Stole

The Stole may have the Coat of Arms of the Lord or his Bishopric embroidered on the wearer's right.

The Symbols of Appointed Office:
Privy Councillors: a Gold Cord, Knotted and Tasseled.
The Lord Marshall: a Baton
The Solicitor General: A White Cord, Knotted and Tasseled.
The Surgeon General: a Red Cord, Knotted and Tasseled.

Holders of multiple distinctions would wear both, in the case of the Stole, the higher distinction uppermost, in the case of Cords of Office, the higher distinction being outermost.

For example:

Nita, the Countess of Louisiana would wear the Yellow Stole of her original title of Viscount and over that the Green Stole of her present Earldom.

The Surgeon General would wear the Yellow Cord of the PC nearest his neck, and the Red Cord of the Surgeon General outside of that.

John Houston, Lord Marshall

Monday, May 14, 2007

Acting Governor-General issues Statement on the Passing of Malietoa Tanumafili II, GCMG, CBE.

Statement on the Passing of Malietoa Tanumafili II, GCMG, CBE.

-- Virtual Pensacola, Governor-General's Press Releases.

We offer our condolence to the People and Government of Samoa on the passing of His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili. May God guide the people of Samoa as they mourn his passing. Through his long reign, Malietoa represented and guided Samoans with wisdom, humour and insight. He will be missed by those of us who remain in this world.

My the God of all Comfort teach each heart today, bringing knowledge of the Truth, and Peace that passes understanding.

Bo Register, Marquess of Mobile, Baron Von Servers of Fayette,
Acting Governor-General, His Grace being in Georgia,
in Service to The Dominion of British West Florida

END of Governor General's Statement

Obituary Follows:
Malietoa Tanumafili II, GCMG, CBE, (4 January 1913 – 11 May 2007) (also called Susuga) was one of the paramount chiefs, Malietoa (from 1939), and the head of state (O le Ao o le Malo, a position that he held for life) of Samoa from 1962 to 2007. He was co-chief of state in 1962 and became the sole chief of state on April 15, 1963. [1] At the time of his death, he was the oldest national leader in the world. He descended from Samoa's four princely families (Aiga Tupu) and held the King Title "Mālietoa".

He was born in 1913 as the son and third child of Malietoa Tanumafili I and Momoe Lupeuluiva Meleisea. He became the Mālietoa following his father's death.

Upon Samoa's independence in 1962, he was joint head of state with Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole. When the latter died in 1963, he became the sole head of state.

Malietoa Tanumafili II was a follower of the Bahá'í Faith. He was the second royal (after Queen Marie of Romania) to be a member of that religion. The Bahá'í House of Worship in Tiapapata, eight kilometers from the country's capital of Apia, was dedicated by him in 1984. His wife died in 1986.

Malietoa Tanumafili II died at 6:45 P.M. on Friday 11 May 2007, at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital at Moto'otua in Apia, Samoa. He was being treated as a patient for pneumonia at the hospital for approximately a week. The cause of his death has not been released.

His death was announced by Samoan Secretary of State Vaasatia Poloma Komiti on SBC TV1. "It is with deepest regret that we inform you of the passing of our Head of State Malietoa Tanumafili II."

At the time of his death in May 2007, Malietoa Tanumafili II was the world's third longest reigning living monarch after Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has reigned since 1946 and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since in 1952.

Tanumafili is survived by two daughters and two sons. His wife, Lili Tunu, died in 1986.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

UK fighters confront Russian bombers over international waters

From Wikinews
May 13, 2007

Last week, RAF Leuchars in Fife scambled two Tornado F3 interceptors, when radar detected two Tupolev Tu-142 Bear Bombers and the alarm was sounded "Bears in the Air".

The RAF would not disclose the exact time of the incident, which was to the north of the Outer Hebrides. It did say that no contact was made between the aircraft.

The Russian Bear Foxtrot bombers are renowned maritime raiders that regularly probed the United Kingdom's airspace during the Cold War.

The Russian aircraft were snooping on Neptune Warrior, a Royal Navy exercise taking place near the Outer Hebrides last week. Neptune Warrior was a live-fire naval training exercise involving warships, submarines and aircraft that took place between April 22 and May 3.
“ The Russians obviously thought it might be worth coming to have a look at what we were up to and probably take some photos. It's a throwback to the Cold War when they used to fly in regularly to poke and prod at the edges of British airspace and test our reaction times. It's normal to let such aircraft know we're there by pulling up alongside them and they left quietly. The whole encounter probably lasted 20 minutes. ”

— Keith Wardlaw, Sqn Leader

The Tornado's watched the Russians for approximately 15 minutes until the bombers returned to their home base in Murmansk.
“ This aircraft dates back to the 1950s and although the air frame might look dated it is still highly effective in terms of long-range maritime reconnaissance. These used to fly over the North Sea and the Greenland Gap daily during the Cold War and, while rare today, it's by no means a unique occurrence. It's nice to know the Russians are out and about again. The exercise was in international waters and the Russians have got just as much right to be there as we have. We do it to them, they do it to us. All the RAF is doing is telling them: We could do this for real if we wanted to, so go and tell your mates back home.' ”

— Paul Jackson, editor of Jane's All The World's Aircraft

During the Cold War the 1970s and 1980s, Soviet spies were sometimes spotted watching from the perimeter of RAF stations to time exactly how long it took jets to take off and intercept Bear bombers, probing the United Kingdom's defences and testing the response. Nato pilots in those days were well accustomed to an almost daily aerial game of cat-and-mouse.

Squadrons of Phantom interceptors were on constant quick-reaction standby through the 1970s and 1980s to deal with the threat of Soviet long-range bombers engaging in a long-range attack on Great Britain. The Bears can carry an arsenal of missiles, some nuclear-tipped, to strike NATO warships blocking the entrance to the vital North Atlantic sealanes between the United States and Europe.

While such visits from the Russians have become extremely rare, the latest one is a reminder that Moscow's long-term ambitions are not entirely clear and that the old Cold War rivalries could resurface.

In July, the Tornado will be replaced by the new Eurofighter Typhoon. Currently, RAF personnel on scrambling duty spend most of their time on counter-terrorist missions, checking out commercial airliners approaching Britain in ways that arouse suspicion, either because they have taken the wrong flight path or because the pilot has not contacted ground control.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Only one World War I veteran left in Canada

From Wikinews

May 10, 2007

Just yesterday the second-last Canadian World War I veteran died, leaving just one remaining alive in Canada. The 106 year old Percy Dwight Wilson died in Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre's veterans residence, being there from June 2006.

Born, February 26, 1901, one of nine children in Elgin County, Ontario, Wilson enlisted in the Army in 1915 as a Bulgier. After his Basic Training, he was sent to England via a ship across the Atlantic. As he was a minor, he was never sent to the front lines, and helped to dig trenches until being sent back to Canada.

However, he was still determined to be a soldier, and re-enlisted upon arriving home, and was then discharged from the service in 1918. He joined the forces once more, as a reserve Officer in the 1st regiment reserve. World War II began and Wilson enlisted for a third time but was not accepted due to age limits.

From 1919 on to his retirement in 1966 he worked for Bell Canada, he studied music and vocals at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music and the London, Ontario's University of Western Ontario where he met his wife Eleanor Dean, who married in 1927 and later died at 94.

His death leaves John Babcock, 106 years old, who currently resides in Spokane, Washington, USA and Gladys Powers, 108 years old, the last known female veteran of the First World War who served with the British, and currently resides in Abbotsford, British Columbia, as the sole living Canadians who once served in the First World War.

Wilson is survived by his two sons Dean and Paul, four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Acting Governor-General issues Statement on the Death of Guardsman Simon Davison

Statement on the Death of Guardsman Simon Davison
Date: May 7, 2007 10:48PM

The recent death of Guardsman Simon Davison, of Her Majesty's 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guard in Afghanistan has brought to mind again the great debit of gratitude this Dominion owes to those who serve, not just in our own militia, but in the armed service of the Queen in her many realms.

We in Her Majesty's Dominion of British West Florida enjoy the Pax Anglosphere. Her Majesty's forces (Canadian, Australian, and of course British), in conjunction with those of the Rebellious Colonies now styled the United States of America defend freedom for us all. We do not think of the sacrifices made in our behalf often enough. We can be content to have our militia train as reserve policemen and fireman because the 'heavy lifting' of a standing army is done for us by those who have taken to themselves the responsibilities of a majour power in the world.

I call on each of you to reflect on the generosity of these brave souls who stand in the breach for us.

I ask that you pray for them and for their leaders that wisdom may abound as much as bravery.

Once again, so many owe so much to so few. We face a greater threat to our safety and security that Nazi Germany was in the the days of the Battle of Britain We must not let their sacrifice be belittled, their honour impugned, nor they success forgotten.

God Bless the Armed forces of Her Majesty, and yes even those of the United States who today stand as a thin line between those who would destroy us and our implacable foes.

God Save the Queen!

Acting Governor-General, His Grace being in Georgia.

Bo Register, Marquess of Mobile, Baron Von Servers of Fayette

Monday, May 07, 2007

Wreckage of Kenya Airways flight 507 found in jungle

From Wikinews

May 7, 2007

The latest information on the Kenya Airways information website states, "Kenya Airways regrets to confirm that its Flight KQ 507 from Douala to Nairobi has been located on a mangrove swamp, 20 km southeast of Douala, on the planned flight path." The website also indicates that search and rescue operations have been initiated.

Flight KQ 507 had 8 crew members, 106 passengers and a flight engineer on board, and was traveling from Abidjan to Nairobi. It made a stopover in Douala, Cameroon where more passengers got on the plane before it continued on its flight. The plane sent a distress signal at 2:00 a.m., just after it took off from Cameroon, but it is not known what triggered the distress signal. The plane was supposed to land at 6:15 a.m. local time, but never arrived. It left Abidjan at 11:05 p.m. local time in Nairobi.

So far only small portions of the plane have been found, but the search for survivors and bodies will resume on Monday.

"All I can say for now is that the wreckage of the plane has been located in the small village of Mbanga Pongo, in the Douala III subdivision. We are putting in place rescue measures. For now we cannot say whether there were any survivors or not. Access to the area is very difficult. We are beginning a new painful phase. Our task will be more difficult now, the task of recovering the corpses," said Hamidou Yaya Marafa, Cameroon's Minister of State for Territorial Administration, during a press conference.

It is not known if there are any survivors, but Kenya Airways says that there were passengers from 26 different countries on the plane, not including the 9 crew members from Kenya (see list below). Kenya Airways has released the names of all passengers on board Flight KQ 507 (see external links below).

"We have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties," said the chief executive of Kenya Airways, Titus Naikuni.

The area where the plane went down is reported to be thick with forest, and difficult to reach. Local Fisherman are said to have lead rescuers to the crash site after they heard a "boom" and saw "disturbances in the water."

"We are told the aircraft was covered by a canopy of trees, and that was the delay in sighting the crash site. The mangrove area is a very tricky area, access is very difficult. I think they will use trekking and boats," added Marafa.

Earlier the chief meteorologist for the airport in Douala, Cameroon, Thomas Sobakam said that "signs" of Flight KQ 507 were located, but also said that what was located was not wreckage. Sabakam also said that the reports that wreckage had been found were "premature."

The cause of the crash is under investigation, but officials say the plane took off in bad weather.

The next scheduled press briefing will be on Monday, May 7 at 10:00 a.m. local time.

Nationalities of those on board

* 37: Cameroonians
* 15: Indians
* 9: Kenyan crew members
* 7: South Africans
* 6: Nigerians; Ivorians
* 5: British, Chinese
* 3: Nigerians
* 2: Central African Republic; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Equatorial Guinea;
* 1: Burkina Faso; Comoros; Congo-Brazzaville; Egyptian; Ghanaian; Malian; Mauritius; Mauritanian; Senegalese; South Korean; Swede; Swiss; Tanzanian; Togolese; American

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bermuda Chief Justice: No new charges in Middleton murder

Bermuda Chief Justice: No new charges in Middleton murder
From Wikinews

Despite expressing personal sympathy for the Middleton family, Bermuda's chief justice Richard Ground dismissed, on Friday, an application to re-examine the 1996 killing of Rebecca Middleton.

Seventen-year old Rebecca Middleton, of Belleville, Ontario, Canada had been in Bermuda on vacation when she was raped and murdered. At the time, police had identified two suspects in the crime, 21 year-old Kirk Mundy and 19 year-old Justis Smith. Before DNA test results had been tabled, the attorney general made a plea deal with Mundy in exchange for his testimony against Smith. It turned out that prosecutors didn't have enough hard evidence to connect Smith to the crime and the murder charges against him were dropped. Mundy served 5 years for being an accessory to the crime.

The murder case had garnered significant worldwide attention, even drawing in Cherie Booth QC, lawyer and wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Booth had advocated on behalf of the Middleton family during the recent two-day hearing in front of justice Ground.

In his ruling, Chief Justice Ground explained that new charges would amount to double jeopardy and would violate current law, as there were no errors in a previous review. "I have to declare the law as it is," said Ground in his written ruling. "The [double jeopardy] rule is well established and would require legislation, or possibly the intervention of a higher court to change it."

Since the ruling went against the Middletons, the lawyers representing Mundy and Smith called for their legal fees to be paid by Dave Middleton, Rebecca's father. However, Justice Ground rejected the request. "The applicant has suffered a terrible loss, for which he can never be compensated. He has also suffered a wrong, in the way that this matter was mishandled at the outset," said Ground. "In my view [Middleton] is entitled to explore every reasonable avenue in an attempt to put that right, and I am not going to order him to pay the costs of doing so."

Dave Middleton, revealed that with his own legal bill approaching CA$100,000, an appeal of the latest ruling may be out of reach financially. "The cost just keeps going up. So far we are covering our bills, but will we be able to continue to do that? I don’t know," he told CBC News from his home in Belleville. The Middletons have received financial support in the past by fundraising through the Rebecca Middleton Foundation.

For the next stage in the process, Middleton revealed that the case would reach the Court of Appeal in Bermuda, possibly in November. Should that appeal prove unsuccessful, the case could be brought before the UK Privy Council or the European Court of Justice.

Dave Middleton also suggested that the Middletons would like to retain the services of Cherie Booth for the upcoming appeals. "She’s a big part of how we progress, and I'm very hopeful of that," said Middleton.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Governor-General issues statement on the UVF/RHC announcement

We welcome the decision of the UVF/RHC not to continue as a paramilitary organisation, to fully support the lawful authorities and to condemn criminality.

An announcement by any organisation that they intend to cease paramilitary and criminal activity is a positive development. But as with statements from other paramilitary groups in the past, we wait to see it delivered in action.

What is shown once again, is that the peace process is working. People can see it working in action and next week's events will show that further. We would encourage everyone in Ireland, North or South to fully engage and support the police for the benefit of the whole community.

This announcement is a further welcome confirmation that Northern Ireland is emerging into a new and positive era.

The recent IMC report acknowledged that the leadership within loyalism wants to move forward and this is an important manifestation of that. There has been drastic political change over the last number of years, with new political dynamics forged. This statement by the UVF/RHC is an assurance that they are prepared to be part of this new Northern Ireland in a constructive manner.

We applaud the efforts of those involved in moving the organisation into a position where its members can now focus on responsible, constructive participation in civil society.

God Save her Majesty Elizabeth II, the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as of Her Dominion of British West Florida.

Robert, Duke of Florida, Lord of St. George, GSB
Her Majesty's Governor-General in and for the
Dominion of British West Florida.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Fixed election dates to become law in Canadian federal elections

From Wikinews

May 3, 2007

A bill that would set fixed election dates in Canada every four years is scheduled to receive royal assent and become law today.

Since confederation, a sitting government could choose any date for an election as long as it was less than five years after the writs were returned for the previous election; unless it was defeated by a motion of no-confidence. By convention, elections have been held every four years, often when the governing party was doing well in the polls. Bill C-16, first introduced in the House May 30, 2006, would create predictable election dates every four years.

The bill was one of the democratic reforms originally promised by the Harper conservatives during the 2006 election campaign. Under bill C-16, an election would have to be called for the third Monday of October four years after the last federal election unless opposition parties force one earlier. If the date conflicts with a provincial election or a religious occasion, the election can be moved by a few days.

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, will visit Virginia and Kentucky.

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, will visit Virginia to mark the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement. Other highlights include an arrival ceremony at the White House and a visit to the Kentucky Derby.

Full programme for the visit

3 May 2007: Richmond
Afternoon: The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh arrive at the Governor's Mansion before undertaking a walkabout to Capitol for an arrival and greetings ceremony. The Queen makes a speech to the Virginia Assembly.
Evening: Arrival in Williamsburg.

4 May 2007: Williamsburg
Morning: The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh arrive at the Jamestown Settlement. The Queen tours the Fort whilst The Duke of Edinburgh tours the ship SUSAN CONSTANT.

Her Majesty and His Royal Highness arrive at the Jamestown archaeological site. The Queen visits the museum whilst The Duke of Edinburgh visits the vault (conservation facility).

The Royal couple view part of the original well before a tour of the dig and site. They present a gift to people of Virginia.

The Queen attends a lunch at the Governor's Palace in Williamsburg.

The Duke of Edinburgh attends a lunch in Norfolk.

Afternoon: The Queen visits the College of William and Mary where she meets students and academic alumni, requests the ringing of Wren Bell and receives a class award.

The Duke of Edinburgh attends a reception onboard USS WISCONSIN.

5 May 2007: Kentucky
Afternoon: The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh attend the Kentucky Derby.

6 May 2007: Washington
Evening: The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh arrive at Andrews Air Force Base.

7 May 2007: Washington
Morning: The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh attend an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. They inspect an Honour Guard and meet guests: Queen and President make speeches. A Private lunch follows.

Afternoon: Photograph of Her Majesty and His Royal Highness with Commonwealth ambassadors

They attend a Garden Party at the Ambassador's Residence.

Evening: State Dinner

8 May 2007: Washington
Morning: The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visit the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre.

The Queen meets staff and visits the Mission Control Centre.
The Duke of Edinburgh tours the spacecraft test facilities and robotics.

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh view the 'Science on a Sphere' exhibition and plant a tree at the Visitor Centre.

8 May 2007: Washington
Morning: The Queen holds an Investiture (three honorary awards) at the Ambassador's Residence.

Afternoon: Her Majesty and His Royal Highness plant a tree at the Ambassador's Residence before visiting the Children's National Medical Center.

The Queen visits the cardiac ward whilst The Duke of Edinburgh
visits the research facility.

Her Majesty and His Royal Highness meet young patients in recreational activities.

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visit the World War II National Memorial where they lay a wreath; meet veterans of the war in the Pacific; visit the Field of Stars and meet GI war brides.

Evening: The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh host a return dinner at the Ambassador's Residence, also attended by the President and Mrs Bush.

Depart Washington via Andrews Air Force Base.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Dominion of British West Florida Web Site Monthly Activity Report Issued.

The Marquess of Mobile, Bo Register, announced the publication today of the Monthly Activity Report, Dominion of British West Florida Web Site ( by the House of Lords Select Committee on Stamps and Stationery.

"We publish the summary activity report each month. The summary report includes the 'big four' numbers: Unique Visitors, Total number of Visits, Page Views and Hits. The report also lists each network domain (Country or division of the internet) that brought us more than 10 visitors.

Unique Visitors (801) and Number of Visits (2181) show a good trend. Our page views and hits are off just a bit from March, and the January High. It is nice to see that the US Educational domains are paying us a fair number of visits!

Additional detailed information about our web site activity is made available to the Lords and Members of Parliament, as well as the members of the Privy Council.

New Orleans School Construction Partnerships Announced

-- PressZoom

BATON ROUGE, La. -- In an effort to speed the rehabilitation, repair and construction of schools in the Recovery School District of New Orleans, State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek has assembled several high level teams with the sole mission of quickly delivering schools in Orleans Parish.

"As I have begun to wrap my arms around all of the challenges the Recovery School District faces in trying to rebuild a devastated school system, it's become very clear that the RSD needs additional, highly skilled manpower to accomplish its mission," said Pastorek.

Pastorek outlined several areas of need for facilities, including two critical areas:

Timely delivery of the buildings for August 2007

Timely processing of claims to pay for the damages schools suffered as a result of the hurricanes. To meet these challenges, Pastorek invited educators, engineering companies, consultants, state officials and top leadership from FEMA, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness ( GOHSEP ), the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the Office of Community Development, the Louisiana National Guard and New Orleans Public Schools to participate in a two-day planning meeting held Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28, 2007. The meeting focused on the ability of the RSD to repair and build the number of schools necessary to educate the large numbers of children who continue to return to New Orleans and how to fund those projects.

"As a result of our intensive meeting, FEMA and GOHSEP have volunteered to assign personnel to a team designed to process claims better, getting money to the RSD as quickly as possible," said Pastorek. "This is a major milestone in my opinion and marks significant progress in meeting the challenges we have yet to overcome. We not only have the beginning of a plan for our schools, but we also are finally getting the human capital and expertise needed to get us there successfully," Pastorek stressed.

FEMA Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office Director Jim Stark said he was pleased with the thorough examination of all the challenges facing RSD infrastructure recovery and pledged that his staff remains committed to finding innovative legal ways to maximize FEMA funding for school buildings and their contents in New Orleans .

"I am convinced the partnerships renewed this weekend between the State, RSD and FEMA will result in helping bring Orleans Parish schools back as quickly as they can be delivered," said Stark. "We are committed to the success of the recovery of New Orleans public schools."

"We know that ensuring classroom space in New Orleans is a major priority in the rebuilding process," said the State Coordinating Officer for the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Colonel Tom Kirkpatrick. "We look forward to this partnership and are encouraged by its development."

In addition to the commitment of assistance from FEMA and GOHSEP, Pastorek also secured the participation of the Louisiana National Guard to focus on engineering, architecture and construction management. With the support and approval of General Bennett Landreneau and General Hunt Downer, Colonel Doug Mouton has become a special advisor to Pastorek regarding all efforts to get RSD schools back on line. Col. Mouton returned from Afghanistan after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to participate in the state's recovery efforts. Col. Mouton organized the two-day planning meeting for the Recovery School District .

Additionally, at the direction of General Landreneau, seven reservists from the Louisiana National Guard were called up April 24, 2007, to be led by Major Rodney Painting. Major Painting will support the RSD as the Acting Facilities Director in an effort to deliver the necessary classroom space needed for children returning home this fall. Major Painting also served in Afghanistan and is currently a teacher and coach at Kentwood High School .

"The citizens of New Orleans owe a debt of gratitude to the Louisiana National Guard and its leadership, particularly Gen. Landreneau, Gen. Downer, Col. Mouton and Maj. Painting," Pastorek said.

The Recovery School District currently oversees 39 schools, including 22 RSD-operated schools and 17 charter schools, serving a total of approximately 17,600 children. The RSD anticipates an additional 9,000-13,000 children returning to the city for school in the fall.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Selected Thoughts on the Anniversary of the Act of Union.

As today is the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union, I have gathered a few quotes from the House of Lords debate (25 January 2007) about the Union to share with you today.

My Lords, what better time to debate the importance of the Treaty of Union than in this, the tercentenary year and on the birthday of Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns? He may have denounced the Scottish negotiators as

"bought and sold for English gold",

but he also confessed that he was devoted to the British constitution, "next after my God".

By the time of Burns's death at the age of 37, the union had brought prosperity with the opening up of free trade, and the country was pulling together in the war against France. The age of enlightenment was in full swing. Scotland was leading the world in philosophy, economics and architecture with men such as Adam Smith, David Hume and Robert Adam. Our historic partnership literally changed the world, and Scots have been in the front line of national endeavour from the thin red line to Tumbledown, from Alexander Graham Bell to John Logie Baird.

We in Britain are more fortunate than we know. We have the oldest and most stable constitution in Europe. The sea is our timeless frontier. In 1603, Scotland inherited the English throne, and in 1707, by sovereign treaty, the union of Parliaments made us free and equal partners in the United Kingdom. We take a lot of things for granted—our prosperity, our freedom and our stability under the Crown—but what we take for granted most of all is the privilege from which all those advantages derive: the privilege of being British. There is no one prouder to be Scottish than I am, but I take equal pride in being British. There is no contradiction, no clash of interests or allegiance that disrupts that dual identity. It is our birthright to be Scots, English or Welsh; our good fortune to be British; and, I believe, our duty to be unionists.

The United Kingdom is greater than its individual parts. Unity is our instinct and our strength—unity that has been forged and tested in peace and war. We are a nation united under the Crown by common interest, by history, and by destiny. We must never relinquish that precious inheritance, and must fight to preserve our United Kingdom for generations to come. I

-- Lord Forsyth of Drumlean

In some ways I am almost representative of the union. I was born in England of Scottish parents. My brothers and my sisters still live in England, where they brought up their children. My brothers divide their loyalties between England and Scotland. Their children see themselves as English, while my sons see themselves very much as Scottish. I have lived for45 years in Scotland: I know many people would not believe that on listening to me—although I may look it. I have brought up my family in Scotland; I holiday in Scotland; and I support any Scottish team or Scot taking part in any sporting activity. I suppose, in the words of Jim Sillars, that makes me a 90-minute patriot.

However, along with the majority of Scots, I cannot understand why anyone should propose the break-up of the United Kingdom. Of course, there are times when people should declare their independence from a dominant power. On these Benches, we have supported throughout our political lives the struggle of oppressed peoples for freedom throughout the world. But, despite the sometimes strange rhetoric of the SNP, no comparisons can be made between Scotland and those oppressed peoples. I have heard Alex Salmond compare the struggle of Scotland's independence with the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. What an insult to the people of South Africa that is.

Except for history and sport, what divides us from England? We are not divided by religion; we speak the same language; and we are of the same race and colour. There is not even a natural geographic divide between the two countries. When I was driven north by my parents, we believed that we were in Scotland when we crossed the Solway. I now notice that the border is about a mile further up the road nearer to Gretna.

Scotland is not an oppressed colony seeking freedom. As the noble Lord said, Scots played a dominant role in the discovery, settlement and administration of the British Empire. They played a major role in the growth of the British economy. Even today, Scots play a leading role in the government of the country. Our present Prime Minister was born and went to school in Scotland. The next Prime Minister, who will be there for as long as he wants, is Scottish. The leader of the Liberal Party is a Scot and I am sure that, given his name, David Cameron has Scottish ancestors somewhere.

It would be a major blow to both England and Scotland if the bond between them was broken. Devolution has created some anomalies but, as I have said, they are no greater than the anomalies that were there when the noble Lords, Lord Forsyth and Lord Lang, were Secretary of State. The British constitution is riddled with anomalies; this House is, after all, probably the biggest anomaly of all. We amend these anomalies when necessary. I do not believe that the present relationship between England and Scotland needs any amendment at this stage. Let us celebrate and enjoy throughout the United Kingdom the benefits that the union brings—personally, socially and economically—and let us, on all sides, stop harping on about the few problems and grievances that exist.

-- Lord Maxton

The truth is that, whatever the political settlement agreed between the different peoples of these islands, we are bound together by an entanglement of history and the realities of geography.

-- Lord McNally

The union of our country is too valuable to be left in this dangerous state of instability. We have no option but to return to the proposition so admirably presented by my noble friend Lord Baker. I press the point of the social reason that I referred to earlier: the family ties that bind us. A few years ago I wrote a family history. I concluded the introduction with the observation that,

"the intermingling of English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish blood (and the history of those nations) that has produced my children and grandchildren is a characteristic of families that is ... unlikely to be exceptional. That fact appears to me to be significant when confronted by the current wave of nationalist sentiment and at a time when the unity of the United Kingdom is under threat ... My grandchildren have every reason to take pride in their common heritage from all four nations in the British isles".

A vast number of others on these islands are in the same position.

Let us join battle to defend the union, not on the grounds of personal ambition, however honourable that ambition may be, but because we are all members of a family with a shared history, shared interests, shared values and shared hopes.

-- Lord Crickhowell

The United Kingdom, of course, had been created in 1603, when James VI inherited the English and Welsh throne. Lord Mar was one of the ambassadors who came to London to negotiate that dynastic union. His great grandson would have seen in 1706 how the dual monarchy was not working. English Ministers had too much influence over the Crown. This was after all a period of personal regal government. The Parliament of Scotland did not have a clear run at the Crown. The parliamentary union was an expedient—workable but not necessarily just.

Now, the parliamentary union is unnecessary. Scotland and south Britain should seek a new treaty. To spell it out, I want to retain the Union of the Crowns 1603 as a substantial symbol of the British social union, forged over so many years.

-- The Earl of Mar and Kellie

It is, of course, a fact that England and Scotland are side by side but I believe that since the Act of Union we are one nation, comprising two peoples, or indeed three or four peoples, and that is what has made us stronger. The noble Lord, Lord Teverson, might wish to include the Cornish as an additional distinct people. But if we are to revert to being two nations or more, by definition we would be apart and, as the Chancellor says, weaker. I believe that Scotland's contribution to the United Kingdom has been, and is, far bigger than one based on its proportion of the population of the country.

-- Viscount Trenchard