Send me your poor!

Mus­ings are thoughts, the thought­ful kind. For the pur­pose of th­ese ar­ti­cles, a-mus­ings are thoughts that might amuse, en­ter­tain and even en­lighten.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

The of­fi­cial clos­ing bul­letin of the Global Cit­i­zen Fo­rum in Monaco con­cluded with a call for greater co­op­er­a­tion to ad­dress global mi­gra­tion chal­lenges. Global cit­i­zens, phi­lan­thropists, world lead­ers, celebri­ties, pol­i­cy­mak­ers, and thought lead­ers gath­ered to dis­cuss an ar­ray of is­sues fac­ing the world, fo­cus­ing on the es­ca­lat­ing refugee cri­sis in Europe and the need for a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion. Isn't it won­der­ful when new words pop up out of the blue? Imag­ine all those “thought lead­ers” think­ing to­gether! – Oh, and Kenny An­thony was there too but he was on a dif­fer­ent mis­sion.

In his key­note ad­dress, Kofi An­nan said that Europe is fac­ing the great­est move­ment of refugees since World War II. “The his­toric refugee cri­sis Europe is fac­ing to­day is so hard to solve be­cause it is not a one-off, hu­man­i­tar­ian phe­nom­e­non. It is, in fact, a by-prod­uct and symp­tom of much deeper po­lit­i­cal prob­lems that be­set re­gional and global or­der. It will there­fore re­quire con­certed ac­tion not just in and by Europe, but amongst the re­gional pow­ers of the Mid­dle East, and the global pow­ers of the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil.” Frankly, af­ter lis­ten­ing to Kofi, I had to won­der where Kenny with his po­ten­tial tax dodg­ing schemes fit­ted in.

Irina Bokova, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of UNESCO, ad­dressed the fo­rum with the mes­sage that global cit­i­zen­ship lies in the fu­ture lead­ers of the world, the youth, and the great need to ad­dress is­sues such as ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion and teach­ing tol­er­ance and peace among the world's chil­dren. “To move for­ward, we need ev­ery ac­tor on board, from civil so­ci­ety to the pri­vate sec­tor, to con­nect the dots, to fos­ter the in­no­va­tion the world needs to­day. Each of us has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to oth­ers; each of us has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to the world. This is about hu­man rights and dig­nity. This is about in­clu­sion and peace. Fun­da­men­tally, this is about the kind of so­ci­eties we want to live in.”

Poor old Irina, there she was go­ing on about global cit­i­zen­ship while Kenny, our own thought leader, was do­ing his ut­most to en­cour­age peo­ple with a few dol­lars in their pock­ets to hide their self­ishly-got­ten gains be­hind St Lu­cia's cit­i­zen­ship by in­vest­ment bar­ri­cades. Talk about be­ing out of sync!

Dur­ing his ad­dress, José Manuel Bar­roso, former Prime Min­is­ter of Por­tu­gal and 11th Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, looked at the mean­ing of bor­ders and the role of global gov­er­nance. “We are more in­ter­de­pen­dent than ever. We can be proud of our lo­cal, na­tional and re­gional iden­tity, but also re­al­ize that we are part of mankind. This refugee cri­sis is a time to show that we are se­ri­ous about our val­ues – that we can make them work in favour of com­mon in­ter­est of mankind. The idea of this global cit­i­zen tax is one way. It shows that coun­tries are not just in­ter­ested in re­ceiv­ing the wealthy, but also shar­ing that wealth with those most in need.”

Good old José and his Global Cit­i­zen Tax – but how does his thought lead­er­ship of shar­ing wealth glob­ally through tax­a­tion tally with Kenny's plan that might pos­si­bly lead to some form of tax avoid­ance for those with money to hide? Did Kenny end up in the wrong place? The fo­rum seemed to be mov­ing to­wards ad­di­tional tax­a­tion for the good of all, not avoid­ance. The global cit­i­zen tax would be a sim­ple levy on in­vestor ap­pli­ca­tions for res­i­dence or cit­i­zen­ship in EU coun­tries. The pro­posed tax could mean big changes, po­ten­tially de­liv­er­ing rev­enues of over a bil­lion eu­ros in the next five years. The im­pact of th­ese funds could be re­al­ized through the cre­ation of jobs, aid for the agen­cies work­ing with refugees or other eco­nomic stim­u­la­tion to the im­pacted coun­tries. Did Kenny turn left in­stead of right af­ter he left the air­port and end up in the wrong place?

Three-time Grammy award-win­ning artist and ac­tivist Wy­clef Jean spoke about his ex­pe­ri­ence as a refugee and be­com­ing a global cit­i­zen. Var­i­ous panel dis­cus­sions were held in­clud­ing a panel on peace and se­cu­rity that ex­plored cur­rent geopo­lit­i­cal chal­lenges and trends in the Mid­dle East, Africa and other re­gions, and dis­cus­sion on in­no­va­tive ap­proaches to ad­dress­ing the refugee cri­sis and for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment's im­pact in coun­tries around the world. Robin Sharma spoke of the im­por­tance of in­di­vid­ual lead­er­ship and be­com­ing a “change-maker” in the global cit­i­zen­ship com­mu­nity dur­ing his ses­sion at the fo­rum. At the Global Cit­i­zen Gala Din­ner, the fo­rum be­stowed the Global Cit­i­zen Award on Regina Ca­tram­bone, co-founder of the Mi­grant Off­shore Aid Sta­tion for her con­tri­bu­tions in bring­ing aware­ness and aid to refugees.

Ar­mand Ar­ton, founder of the Global Cit­i­zen Fo­rum, said: “This fo­rum fo­cused on global chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties re­lated to mi­gra­tion and the con­cept of global cit­i­zen­ship from the per­spec­tive of in­di­vid­u­als and gov­ern­ments. The past two days have gone a long a way to build­ing and deep­en­ing the global com­mu­nity that we as­pire to cre­ate.”

But you know what? Not a word, not a word, not a word about Kenny An­thony in the clos­ing bul­letin! His mes­sage was clearly out of step with the phil­an­thropic tone of the fo­rum, un­less, of course, he was hop­ing to at­tract and di­vert a few hun­dred thou­sand rich refugees from Syria to fill his Cit­i­zen­ship by In­vest­ment cof­fers!

Imag­ine the head­lines! St Lu­cia's Cit­i­zen­ship by In­vest­ment Pro­gram Solves Euro­pean Im­mi­grant Cri­sis!

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