Sent: Friday, February 01, 2008 3:32 PM
Subject: Antigua Sun ltr - Greetings from Canada
Hello poor beleaguered Antigua,
Christmas must have been less than celebratory after what PokerPulse refers to as the Four-Flusher Fantasy, the bizarre, unprecedented strategy the WTO arbitration panel used to come up with the figure of $21 million as the measure of loss your island has suffered as a result of, shall we say selective, US gambling prohibitions.
We're still shaking our heads, although we note with interest that a remote gambling association in Europe is now challenging the US on the basis of DoJ's four-flusher enforcement tactics. Good! It's clear the US hasn't heard the last of the issues you raised so bravely and boldly in the gambling dispute - but one of your many hard-won legacies.
Others include the lesson Antigua has given other developing nations in how to access America's jealously guarded - some might say, in many cases, stolen- IP. And we were deeply gratified to learn that one of your diplomats may assume a key position in dispute settlement at the WTO. If so, we hope it will yield better results for you in subsequent challenges.
Thank you, Antigua, for showing Canadians how unresponsive our government is even to prospective trading partners. (Canada is currently hoping to ensnare - I mean, invite - Antigua to sign a new trade agreement with us). Now at least you know what to expect from us if ever you need support of even the most modest Third Party kind - none at all!
Thank you especially for showing the world what Most Favored Nation Status really means to the US. Thanks for clarifying that shameful position once and for all. The world will now conduct ourselves accordingly.
We also wanted to assure you in case no one else has yet that your right to TRIPS concessions granted in the arbitration ruling is quite safe. The very lofty-sounding U.N. Convention on Intellectual Property referenced in a recent story is nothing more than an agreement to agree - less than nothing.
Basically, politicians do their best to get away from needy, gumbling consituents as often as possible and as far away as possible at taxpayer expense - the more exotic the locale, the better. To justify the expense, they attend cheerful parties with their peers. The question after the festivities is what WON'T these characters sign to show that not only parties but worthy goals were obtained and these only after much difficult, heated deliberation. Rather like the certificates small children receive after attending a number of finger-painting sessions.
You would think anything signed by so many world leaders would have some sort of truck at least in signatories' nations - and lawyers do raise conventions often in domestic courts. Unfortunately, they do so fruitlessly. Unless the convention is given effect by domestic legislation - almost never - the judge simply laughs behind his hand. It's not his fault either. Politicans are understandably reluctant to commit future governments to a list of generalities.
So if anyone officious tries lobbing this IP protection convention at you, laugh behind your hand and ask if he's kidding? How often, after all, have U.S. courts upheld America's commitments to the dizzying array of international conventions on human rights to which the U.S. is party? No answer? Ask the vets returning from Iraq with disabilities. Many languish without adequate medical care, awaiting benefits that still don't materialize even AFTER filing a class action against Veterans Affairs.
But I digress. I hope the excellent Antigua Sun will continue to cover the effects of the gambling dispute on locals and how you're coping. As you can see at the forum, we have asked the Canadian govt for information regarding our GATS-slash settlement but so far nothing. How does Antigua feel about these settlements, I wonder? Anything you can tell us would be most gratefully received.
Suffering but not silently from U.S. protectionism and selective enforcement
of anti-gambling prohibitions.