New Utopia – the vision of a city-state in the middle of the Caribbean
13/04/19: The New-Utopia vision, revisited after twenty years.
The Caribbean utopia, based on the libertarian philosophy
First proclaimed on April 13, 1999, the Principality of New Utopia is a meanwhile discontinued and abandoned vision of the artificial creation of a new city-state in the middle of the Caribbean. The spiritual father of the micronation was Prince Lazarus Long who passed away in 2012. The new territory had been intended to be an English speaking constitutional monarchy. The throne should be inherited by the descendants of Prince Lazarus, the monarch, and ruler of the principality.
The venture had the vision to be “The Venice of the Caribbean” and to base on the principles of freedom and liberty with an ultra business-friendly climate. The draft legal and regulatory environment provided for a free trade zone, near zero taxation, including import and export of products and services, minimal regulations, and zero subsidies. Privacy, integrity, liberty, and freedom have been only limited by zero tolerance for international crime and drug industry.
Location, physical characteristics, and technological challenges
The envisaged national territory is located on the submerged Mistiriosa Bank 160 nautical miles WSW of the Cayman – approximately equidistant from Mexico, Honduras, and Cuba, with a surface area of over 400 km2 with an average depth of 20 meters.
It is a reef, located on a submerged island, which until 1995 has been located in international waters, 100+ sea miles outside of the jurisdiction of any other country. It has been legally claimed by Prince Lazarus in a series of actions, which included letters of notification to the UN and The Hague, as well as physical claims by planting a buoy in the territory and others.
Since this part of the Caribbean is rather 60 feet underwater, the technical challenge would be to find ways and means for land reclamation and property development. The founders had been confident that it is technologically possible, to raise the island from the waves and create an upper‐higher layer of land and develop the territory thereon. Such technology has been tested and successfully and commercially implemented in various parts of the world, such as the Palm Island and World Island in Dubai, as well as in other jurisdictions.
Legal and geopolitical uncertainty
Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982/1994, a specific legal regime exists in the exclusive economic zone. It stretches from the baseline out to 370 km (200 nmi) from the coast. Within such EEZ, the coastal state has certain (not full) jurisdiction with regard to the establishment and use of artificial islands, installations, and structures. This includes the exclusive right to construct, authorize and regulate.
Although negotiations had been started with Honduras, the legitimacy of New Utopia had never been acknowledged by any jurisdiction. Ownership and sovereignty are obviously the first and paramount hurdles for the realization of the city-state project. Given the geopolitical uncertainty in all parts of the world, the vision of New Utopia was found to be a pure utopian idea.
Disclosure notice: The PUGNATORIUS group had been assigned by Prince Lazarus to evaluate the legal and tax aspects of the micro-country, to draft financial agreements and a financing concept, as well as transaction support services for technical and engineering tasks. The assignment ended in 2012 with the death of Prince Lazarus.
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