The Commonwealth Secretariat is the main intergovernmental agency and central institution of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is responsible for facilitating co-operation between members; the Secretariat has observer status in the United Nations General Assembly. It is located at Marlborough House in London, the United Kingdom, a former royal residence, given by Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth; the Secretariat was established by Heads of Government in 1965, taking over many of the functions of the United Kingdom Government's Commonwealth Relations Office, as part of a major shake-up of the organisation of the Commonwealth. At the same time, the United Kingdom succeeded in advocating the creation of the Secretariat's sister organisation, the Commonwealth Foundation was founded to foster non-governmental relations and the promotion of the Commonwealth Family network of civil societies. Other attempts by members to create similar central bodies, such as a medical conference, a development bank, an institution for satellite communications failed.
The creation of the Secretariat itself was a contentious issue. The United Kingdom and other long-established countries had hoped to slow the tide of expansion of Commonwealth membership to prevent the dilution of their traditional power within the Commonwealth; this may have involved a dual-tiered Commonwealth, requiring the continuation of the organisation of Commonwealth co-operation by meetings, rather than a central administration. However, the new African members were keener to create an independent inter-governmental'central clearing house' to remove power from the older dominions. Milton Obote of Uganda was the first to propose a titled'secretariat', formally proposed by Eric Williams of Trinidad and Tobago, who wished to see it based upon the secretariats of the OAS, EEC, OAU. Earlier attempts at the formation of a central secretariat had been failed. Australia had proposed the establishment four times, whilst New Zealand had made proposals in 1909 and 1956; the chief executive of the Secretariat, of the Commonwealth as a whole, is the Commonwealth Secretary-General.
All Secretariat staff report to the secretary-general, responsible for spending the Secretariat's budget, granted by the Heads of Government. It is the secretary-general, not the ceremonial Head of the Commonwealth, that represents the Commonwealth publicly; the secretary-general is elected by the Heads of Government at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings for terms of four years. The current Secretary-General is Dominica's Patricia Scotland, who replaced Kamalesh Sharma as Secretary-General on 1 April 2016; the secretary-general is assisted by three deputy secretaries-general: one responsible for economic affairs, one for political affairs, one for corporate affairs. The secretary-general may appoint junior staff at his own discretion, provided the Secretariat can afford it, whilst the more senior staff may be appointed only from a shortlist of nominations from the Heads of Government. In practice, the secretary-general has more power than this. All members of staff are exempt from income tax, under the International Organisations Act 2005, which redefined the legal status of the Secretariat.
The Secretariat is headquartered in London, the United Kingdom. Marlborough House is located on Pall Mall, next to St. James's Palace, formally the location of the British Royal Court. Marlborough House was a royal residence in its own right, but was given by Queen Elizabeth II, the Head of the Commonwealth, to the British government in September 1959 for use for Commonwealth purposes; this was first realised three years later. Another three years in 1965, the building passed to the Secretariat upon its foundation; the building itself was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and served as the London residence of the dukes of Marlborough until it was given to Princess Charlotte in 1817. The Commonwealth Secretariat Act 1966, which applied retroactively from the establishment of the Secretariat in 1965, first granted the organisation full diplomatic immunity; this has been subjected to a number of lawsuits challenging this, including Mohsin v Commonwealth Secretariat, in 2005, Sumukan Limited v Commonwealth Secretariat.
The 1966 Act had been interpreted by English courts as allowing the courts to exercise supervisory jurisdiction under the Arbitration Act 1996 over the Commonwealth's arbitration tribunal, envisaged as the sole organ to arbitrate on matters related to the Secretariat's operations in the United Kingdom. In light of this interpretation, the Commonwealth Secretariat Act was amended by the International Organisations Act 2005, which gave the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal the same legal immunity as the Secretariat itself, guaranteeing independence of the English courts. Commonwealth Foundation Commonwealth Youth Programme Commonwealth Secretariat official website
David Alan Schwedel is an American SMB investor known for financing businesses. Schwedel serves as an executive in multiple American companies in the manufacturing, petrochemical and marine industry including Gables Energy Partners, Encina, Electrolytic Technologies and Uniesse. Schwedel made his first steps at 12 in the marine industry working in monthly maintenance and detailing, he worked with boat manufacturers including Intrepid and Bertram over several years. Schwedel began his corporate finance career in 1986 at the OLMC group of companies, a Miami venture capital firm. During his tenure at this company, he served as senior Vice president and member of their investment committee. In 2005, Schwedel founded DAS Family Holdings, L. P. a holding and investment limited partnership in industries including energy, real estate, corporate finance. He served the State of Florida on the Technology Leadership Council. Schwedel is a member and advocate of several Florida charitable organizations including the Florida Children's Home Society, Miami Children's Hospital, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.
Schwedel serves as an executive in multiple companies in North America including: C. E. O and Director of Gables Energy Partners, LLC, a North American energy and chemical technology company. Lead investor and Executive director of Uniesse Marine Group, LLC; the company was acquired by the Miami-based Uniesse Marine Group, LLC, led by investor David Schwedel. Chairman of the Board of Directors, Executive Director, lead investor for Encina Solutions LLC. Executive director of Coalview, Ltd. an integrated coal technology company, specializing in coal energy and waste coal recovery. Executive director of Electrolytic Technologies, LLC, a manufacturer of equipment related to chemicals for water and waste water treatment. Founder of Corallum, its Principal, General partner and a managing member, a diversified holding and investment enterprise. Founder of Florida Marine Management in 1992, a B2B platform for the marine industry. Since he serves as its Chairman, C. E. O and President from 1992 to December 24, 2002.
Étaples Military Cemetery is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in Étaples, near Boulogne on the north-west coast of France. The cemetery holds over 11,500 dead from both World War I and World War II. Étaples was the scene of much Allied activity during World War I due to its safety from attack by enemy land forces and the existence of railway connections with both the northern and southern battlefields. The town was home to 16 hospitals and a convalescent depot, in addition to a number of reinforcement camps for Commonwealth soldiers and general barracks for the French Army. Of more than 11,500 soldiers interred in Étaples Military Cemetery, over 10,000 of these men were casualties of World War I who died in Étaples or the surrounding area; the abundance of military infrastructure in Étaples gave the town a capacity of around 100,000 troops in World War I and made the area a serious target for German aerial bombing raids, from which the town suffered heavily. The combination of withstanding these attacks and giving over their homes to the war effort led to Étaples being awarded the Croix de Guerre in 1920.
The Second World War once again saw Allied hospitals stationed in Étaples, with them the reopening of the cemetery to cope with the casualties of another war. 119 men were buried in Étaples Military Cemetery in World War II, this low number attributable to the fact that the hospitals were only in place from January 1940 until the British withdrawal from the Continent in May of the same year. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, Étaples Military Cemetery is the largest CWGC cemetery in France, contains the remains of soldiers from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Germany; the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has only published the number of Commonwealth and German dead buried in Étaples, although its records for the cemetery note that it contains'a few war graves of other nationalities'. In total, the cemetery contains 10,792 Commonwealth burials. There are 658 German burials in the cemetery. Notable burials or memorials include: Private Jim Bonella, Australian Machine Gun Corps Brigadier Edgar William Cox, General Staff.
Lieutenant Colonel William Robert Aufrere Dawson, Royal West Kent Regiment Captain Noel Forbes Humphreys, Tank Corps Major Douglas Reynolds, Royal Field Artillery. Captain Edward Birchall Founder of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations In March 2003, vandals protesting against the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq daubed anti-British and anti-American slogans in red paint across parts of the Étaples Military Cemetery; the actions drew widespread condemnation from the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and from within France itself. The French National Assembly described the vandalism as'barbaric and utterly despicable', while French President Jacques Chirac wrote to the Queen to express his'sincere regrets'. Cemetery details. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Etaples Military Cemetery on the website "Remembrance Trails of the Great War in Northern France" French Embassy to the UK's communique expressing their regret and shock at vandalism Picture from The Guardian of 2003 vandalism