Learning from Latin America: Debt crises, debt rescues and when and why they work

20th February 2012

This conference brings together scholars and practitioners deeply knowledgeable about recent Latin American crises and rescue experiences, with people actively interested in the current European crisis. The Brady rescue in Latin America in the 1980s is frequently quoted as a model for Europe on the basis of inadequate knowledge. But other recent crises, in particular Argentina and Ecuador, contain interesting lessons well worth careful analysis and debate.

Latin America’s debt crisis and “lost decade” -  paper by Luis Bértola and José Antonio Ocampo

Brazilian experience – The crash of 1982 - notes and PowerPoint slides by Carlos Eduardo Freitas

The Argentine Foreign Debt Default and Restructuring - paper by Roberto Frenkel

How Brady worked and why - by Stephany Griffith-Jones

Fifty Years of Independence: Jamaica’s impact and development as a sovereign state

10th February 2012

August 2012 will mark two significant anniversaries, but will also signal a third, which is rarely acknowledged. On 6 August and 31 August 2012, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, respectively, will celebrate 50 years of independence from the UK. However, the third, unobserved date is that this month and the two anniversaries together, symbolise the beginning of the independence process for most of the Commonwealth Caribbean. For the people in the region, independence came with tremendous, perhaps unrealistic, expectations. Freedom from colonial tutelage and domination was at the forefront, but the experience of the last 50 years has been a lesson on the limitation of sovereignty. Another area where there was great hope was in relation to the economy, with expected prosperity and social well-being. The experiences of the past 50 years have turned out to be sobering and contradictory, at best. This one-day conference provided a multi-disciplinary overview of Jamaica’s internal development since independence, as well as the country’s impact on the Caribbean and the wider world.

A Time for Renewed Nationalism - paper by Andrew O'Kola

Jamaica on the Cusp of Fifty - paper by Brian Meeks

Maroons, Free villagers and 'Squatters' in the Development of Independent Jamaica  - paper by Jean Besson

Jamaica’s Environment in the Post-Colonial Era: resources, risk(s) and responses - presentation by David Dodman

Jamaica and Caribbean Integration: Did One from Ten leave Nought?  - presentation by Steven Wilson

Informality, security and neighbourghood development in downtown Kingston - presentation by David Howard

Decriminalising Homosexuality In The Caribbean: The Belize Case In Commonwealth Perspective And Beyond

03 February 2012

The criminalisation of homosexual acts is currently being challenged in the Central American and Caribbean nation of Belize. The United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) has mounted a legal challenge to Section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code which currently criminalises consensual intercourse between adult males. While UNIBAM argues that this provision represents a violation of constitutional rights, the Belize Action Movement (an alliance of churches) has joined the case to oppose any changes to the law. The implications of the Belize case are international in dimension. First it is being seen as a test case for the Commonwealth Caribbean where, with few exceptions, homosexual acts are still criminalised, and gays, lesbians and trans-sexuals face intense discrimination. Secondly the legal challenge mounted by UNIBAM in Belize has attracted support from international organisations including the Human Dignity Trust and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association – prompting accusations of ‘foreign intervention’ from opponents of the campaign. Thirdly, the Belize case is unfolding against a backdrop in which donor nations such as Britain and the United States have begun to press for changes in discriminatory legislation as a condition of aid. David Cameron’s recent suggestion that Commonwealth nations should decriminalise homosexuality as a condition of aid has been vigorously rejected by a number of African nations. This seminar will consider the Belize case in local, regional and international context and its implications for the decriminalisation debate.

This talk was given by Lord Goldsmith QC of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, former UK Attorney General, leads the legal team representing the Human Dignity Trust, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, and the International Commission of Jurists in the UNIBAM case.

View Lord Goldsmith's PowerPoint presentation