Six-year-old Preston Colindres runs up the driveway and front steps and jumps into his father’s arms.
“Banning a destination gives a sign to the terrorists they are winning,” said Tarek Aouadi, UK director of the Tunisian National Tourist Office. He was speaking a year ago, which was 12 months after 30 Britons were murdered at a seaside resort in Sousse.
“Human lives have been lost and security must come first. But we didn’t expect it to be this long.”
More than two years after Seifeddine Rezgui gunned down sunbathers at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel, the British Government has finally eased its travel advice for Tunisia. The country is off the no-go list.
While German, French and Italian holidaymakers have been returning in increasing numbers to Tunisia, the British market is crucial to the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people. In 2014, close to half a million UK holidays travelled to the North African country; for the last two years, the number has been close to zero.
In practical terms, the change means travel insurance cover can be restored, and UK tour operators can organise holidays.
But luring people back to the Mediterranean beaches, desert landscapes and rich culture will take years rather than months.
Opinions on social media showed how difficult it will be to win over hearts and minds. Comments ranged from “Take your bullet proof vest for the beach” to “I loved Tunisia but afraid it’s not for me anymore. Too risky.”
Images of the slaughter on the beach in Sousse and the subsequent evacuation of British holidaymakers will linger, and the new Foreign Office travel advice hardly paints a picture of tranquility: “The main terrorist threat is from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Libya-based extremists with links to Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL),” it warns.
“Despite some improvements in border security, Tunisia has a porous border with Libya, where there’s a continuing conflict, an absence of security, and where Islamist terrorist groups operate.”
I anticipate that a few thousand people who love Tunisia and its people will return to the country over the next few months. Expect a surge of visits over Christmas and New Year, when it offers the prospect of winter sunshine at much lower prices than the Canary Islands.
One or more tour operators may dip a toe in Tunisian waters by February half-term, with a small-scale programme running through to Easter. By putting holidays on sale soon, they will be able to assess demand ahead of deciding what to offer for summer 2018.
Price will certainly play a part: bargain holidays are key to drawing people back to a country that has seen tragedies involving tourists, and as costs for Spain have soared there will be plenty of travellers seeking better value.
Enticing cruise lines back to Tunisia will take longer. Before the attack on the Bardo Museum in the capital in March 2015, Tunis was a very popular port of call. But cruise lines tend to be very conservative: for this year, many of them have cut Turkey from itineraries, even though the country does not appear on the no-go list.
After the shambolic response to the Sousse attack, the security authorities have upped their game. Tunisian special forces are now regarded as outstanding. But in a country with many returning Jihadists, good intelligence is essential — as well as good fortune to ensure that the terrorists do not win once more.
Deal or No Deal presenter Noel Edmonds has spoken publicly about coming close to taking his own life after falling victim to financial fraud.
Edmonds currently seeks compensation from Lloyds Banking Group after a corrupt group of HBOS financiers helped destroy his former business, Unique Group
Describing the situation to the Press Association, Edmonds said he was taken “to the brink of emotional annihilation” by the situation.
“Until these criminals took me to the brink of emotional annihilation, I had always felt those who opt out by taking their own lives were selfish and cowardly,” he said.
“But having been cast into that bottomless dark space devoid of logic and reason, I have a much deeper understanding of life without hope.
“I seek no sympathy and feel no shame in admitting that on the evening of January 18th 2005 I attempted to end the overwhelming mental pain which had consumed my whole being.
“The fact that I did not become another suicide statistic is solely due to the swift response of a Devon ambulance crew and the compassionate support of the Priory in Bristol.”
The former HBOS financiers were jailed earlier this year for carrying out a £245 million loans scam that destroyed several businesses, including that of Edmonds, before they squandered the profits on high-end prostitutes and luxury holidays.
Lloyds, which rescued HBOS during the financial crisis, said in April it would begin making compensation offers to fraud victims in May from a £100 million pot, with payments expected to begin in June.
However, Edmonds has repeatedly urged Lloyds to speed up the process after launching a £50 million-plus compensation claim against the lender.
He has even gone as far as to set up a website as part of his campaign, which also references Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio’s “well-publicised mental breakdown” in 2011.
Edmonds has asked several times for a personal meeting with Horta-Osorio but claims his requests have gone unanswered.
Edmonds added that, since coming back from the brink of suicide, he has gone on to donate generously to third sector organisations.
“Subsequently I have donated generously and gratefully to The Samaritans and privately I use my experience to comfort and support others for whom life has no hope.
“Please be kind, don’t be judgemental – life without hope is no life,” he said.
Lloyds has said that its compensation programme is “on track” and the lender has started making payments to some of those affected.
Additional reporting by agencies.
Boston, Massachusetts – The Liberians saying; “99 days for rouge, one day for the master” is most appropriate in describing the prevailing corrupt and broken system of governance in Liberia.
Free and fair elections in Liberia have not and cannot bring about change in Liberia as long as the corrupt system of governance is firmly in place.
That is why citizens must first fix the corrupt and broken system before electing public servants to lead.
Citizens must vote for change in order to avoid the curse of the past 170 wasted years and prevent future catastrophe that awaits us in the future.
Why now? There is a saying: “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago.
The second best time is now.” Instead of voting for politicians, Liberians Citizens must register and vote for change beginning July 26, 2017 because Liberians cannot afford wasted lives and another century of wasted years.
Without the votes of citizens, all the politicians seeking to continue “business as usual” in the broken and corrupt system in 2017 are completely powerless.
The 170 years old corrupt system is on life support and begging Liberian Citizens for their vote to continue the disgrace of ritualistic killings, excessive salaries and underdevelopment. Register and vote for change!
The Republic of Liberia is 170 years old on July 26, 2017.
Throughout its history, there has been election of politicians of impeccable academic credentials to lead the country.
Unfortunately, Liberia’s flawed system of representative democracy which was designed to usurp the power of the people and legalize a corrupt system has institutionalized corruption.
Politicians literally kill innocent citizens in order to amass personal wealth using the national revenue and natural resources.
Liberia is the 4th poorest country on Earth, but elected officials of Liberia earn salaries and benefits higher than lawmakers in all 50 states across America!
The Liberian President has sweeping powers far greater than the powers of Putin of Russia, Trump of USA, the Queen of England and the Pope of Rome; she appoints all governors, mayors, judges of the Supreme Court, university Presidents, heads of all public corporations, members of the board of directors of all public corporations.
The system is corrupt, broken beyond redemption. Liberia needs a new system of governance.
A sovereign national conference that aims to create a new constitution that empowers citizens to set the salaries and benefits of elected officials and also directly make laws using ballot initiatives is our recommended national emergency proposal.
Article I of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia is crystal clear about who has the authority to change and replace the current corrupt system:
“All power is inherent in the people. All free governments are instituted by their authority and for their benefit and they have the right to alter and reform the same when their safety and happiness so require.”
If the people have all power, isn’t it time the people exercise their power? It is a total disgrace that after 170 years of independence, Liberia, Africa’s first independent republic exists only for the politicians.
Embolden by foreign aid from America, the European Union and China, electing another politician in this corrupt system will only make matters worse! In Liberia, politicians enter government just to get rich while millions of citizens live in misery and die in poverty due to unemployment, thousands of jobless youths, endemic corruption and barbaric human sacrifices! Though our system is broken, deadly, and corrupt, there is hope for a positive change.
It is time to start campaigning for economic freedom and a bright future for citizens.
That is why I call on all candidates in 2017 election cycle to immediately lay aside personal political ambitions so that we can start together from scratch and design a new system of governance that puts citizens interests first.
I call on voters to reject all candidates who put their political ambitions ahead of our national interests because no one can become President without the votes of ordinary citizens.
Citizens must unite at the table of a national sovereign conference to start from scratch and put the citizens in charge as the master by crafting a new constitution that empowers citizens to set the salaries and benefits of elected officials and directly make good laws in the interest of the country as well as repeal bad laws.
I know all Liberian politicians are not bad people, but our system of governance is deadly and corrupt.
For politicians to keep the corrupt system alive for 170 years, all political campaigns ignore the corrupt system in which they live and literally kill innocent citizens and spend millions of dollars on fake campaigns that paint all other candidates as bad people while praising themselves as the saviors!
Are you ready for change?
We have work to do. Let’s begin, one by one, two by two, register and vote for change because “business as usual” will destroy our future.
After 170 years, we know the politicians do not have the answers. They are mere servants with the wrong ideas that have led our country for 170 years.
We desire a government of the people, by the people and for the people, irrespective of their religion, ethnicity, education or social status!
The Master must lead because the Masters know what is best for the country. Make today the Masters’ Day! Thanks and God bless you!
Sir Walter Scott once wrote: Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land.
Well, I have news for the great Scott in his vault in heaven: there are a lot of dead souls about these days. I refer to the Remainers and Remoaners who seek to frustrate the will of the people to leave the European Union.
I do not expect anything of the Corbynistas who hate what their country once was and what it has become and wish to impose on us their Jersualem sans monarchy, sans an economy, sans freedom, sans everything all true Bits have come to love and value.
Still less do I expect anything from the Liberal Democrats or the Greens who vied with each other to lose most deposits – nearly 450 each – at the election.
And I expect nothing from the Scottish Nationalists with their anti-English brand of racialism. This little lot, in the name of European integration, would cheerfully install the sainted Jeremy Corbyn in No 10.
Against this background, Tory Remainers must be exceptionally stupid not to see the need to unite behind the beleaguered Theresa May to protect democracy and keep Corbyn in Opposition.
Consequently, we have to ask ourselves what makes Tory (and other) Remainers tick. Can they not see that the EU is seeking to end 1,000 years of our history by absorbing the UK along with the other 27 member states into a United States of Europe? Are they blissfully unaware that the Euromaniacs are prepared, through the absorption mechanism – the euro – to bankrupt the southern part of the EU to the greater glory of Germany? Indeed, to impose politically dangerous levels of unemployment on the Mediterranean nations?
Are they blind to the consequences of the creeping Brussels takeover of national governments? What is the point of sending MPs to Westminster if they are not masters in their own House? What manner of MP seeks the perks of impotence?
Have they not heard, in another affront to democracy, that the Brussels bureaucracy never takes “no” for an answer to its ambitions? It just tells the miscreants to carry on voting until they get the “right” answer.
That is not the international co-operation I voted for in 1975. It is coercion.
Do they care nought for the vast outlay in cash and perks on Brussels bureaucrats and that apology for a Parliament, the European Assembly? Or for the corruption and waste that has prevented the auditors from signing off EU accounts for decades?
And what about their internationalist hypocrisy when the EU is in truth a protectionist club – as Francois Mitterrand once admitted to Margaret Thatcher – in which we British free-traders will always be uncomfortable? Or their incompetence in initially welcoming what has become an unmanageable horde of migrants from the Middle East and Africa?
Why can’t they see through the EU’s pretensions in foreign affairs and now defence when President Donald Trump feels obliged to ask whether they (and not just the USA and the UK) are prepared to pay their full whack to defend themselves?
What gives them the curious idea that the EU has kept the peace in Europe for 70 years? It may have helped, but NATO has been and remains the real bulwark.
Yet shout they do, persistently alarmist and raucous, to demand that the UK should remain in this decadent institution, even though it did nothing to rescue the UK economy in the 1970s-80s. Thatcher did that.
They still shout when the EU threatens us with an absurd £100bn divorce bill and economic ruin, while the French actively seek to demolish the City of London.
And so I could go on asking the Eurofanatics awkward questions. But there is not much point. They care for nothing but the great European integrationist project, regardless of its manifold deficiencies and threat to democracy.
In my book the lot of them are guilty of un-British activities – such as Lord Heseltine, Lord Adonis (who ludicrously ranks our leaving the EU with de-colonisation and pre-World War appeasement), Lord Mandelson, Tony Blair, Nick Clegg, Sir Vince Cable and the Liberal Democrats, Scottish Nationalists and especially Tory Remainers.
With Brexit talks only just starting, they are undermining the declared national interest in securing a lasting and acceptable release from subservience to the Franco-German axis and the EU’s tame courts.
People have been tried for treason for less. There are indeed a lot of dead souls about.