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When is a small island not a small island?

A moot point, as I have just stumbled upon the Alliance of Small Island States.

Papua New Guinea looks to be the largest member, and at 178,703 square miles is the thick end of twice the size of the UK, which is not a member. Then again, Cyprus and Singapore are, so it is not a de facto club of third world islands. Sticking with European islands, Iceland and Malta have not signed on the line.

And then it also includes Guyana, Suriname and Belize, all of which have land frontiers.

As a sidebar, a friend who claims to know these things has told me that 'you're just from a small island' is a popular 'insult' from folk of Jamaican descent to Barbadians etc.
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Anonymous Verity said... 1:03 pm

I could be wrong, but I don't think Belize is an island. I think it is attached the mainland of Mexico. It's a free port, though.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 1:12 pm

Indeed it is not. It is wedged between Mexico to the NW, and Guatemala to the east and south.  

Anonymous verity said... 3:25 pm

Yes, it's definitely part of the N American landmass - in fact, it may be technically in Central America, but landmass it is. I wonder how it qualified to slip in to a club for islands as a member?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 3:30 pm

The get out clause is this: "a coalition of small island and low-lying coastal countries that share similar development challenges and concerns about the environment, especially their vulnerability to the adverse effects of global climate change".

But Cyprus does not very low lying to me, frankly.  

Anonymous verity said... 3:56 pm

How did I know it would be something to do with "global climate change"? Just a lucky guess, I guess.

I've never been to Belize, but people I know who've been there will guarantee that the country isn't exactly obsessed with environmental concerns.

Malta has too much class to join such a motley crew, but I'm surprised at Singapore (which has the best-looking head of state in the world). I cannot see the profit in their being a member given they don't give a monkey's about the environment. Ambience, yes. Environment, no.

I wonder what was in it for them to be a member of a club which includes Guyana, Surinam, New Guinea, etc.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 4:01 pm

Most of the members are Caribbean and Pacific islands, and are mainly democracies. Cuba makes the cut though, and one does wonder what Singapore and Cyprus are doing making common cause with Castro's blood-soaked isle.  

Anonymous verity said... 4:48 pm

Cuba's concerned about global warming? Hello? I thought Castro had more sense. He never struck me as being a soft touch for concerns about the future of mankind.

The Netherlands Antilles are very nice, as Caribbean islands, though. It is such a kick in the head to walk around and be served in shops and cafes by all these black peole speaking Dutch. When I was there several years ago, the currency was kroners, so now I assume it's euros.  

Anonymous Geoff said... 8:56 pm

Would Gibraltar qualify for membership?

Small and coastal - yes, but I doubt you could pass us as "low lying". There's a sort of sticky-up rock bit in the middle of the place.  

Anonymous verity said... 10:07 pm

And what about the Channel Islands? And what about those islands mentioned in the BBC weather forecasts that gave us all such a sense of presence and security during our childhoods? Stornaway. Rockall.

Please tell me they count!  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:03 pm

Geoff - maybe apply to be an associate member?

Verity - why not? I believe there are non-sovereign observers like American Samoa.  

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