Books about Anguilla


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Standards or Hypocrisy?

The Freedom of Information Act disclosures have especially galled the Anguillian electorate at a time of rising unemployment and economic hardship and undermined government’s efforts to distance itself from its aristocratic image.

Thanks to Mr. Ian Donaldson Mitchell CBE QC, and Mr. Percy Thomas, Anguilla elected officials are under attack from the public over their expense claims and had to line up to start paying back thousands of dollars of public money in a bid to assuage voter anger over the scandal.

Seriously imagine if our elected officials were allowed to exploit the system of parliamentary allowances to subsidise their lifestyles.

Imagine if our Chief Minister, Mr. Osbourne Fleming announced that his cabinet ministers have been misusing allowances and would repay thousands of dollars of questionable expenses.

Imagine if, according to an Anguillian News Paper, our elected officials claimed taxpayers' money for such things as cleaning moats and swimming pools; repairing tennis courts and installing chandeliers in their houses including furniture (scatter cushions, a king-sized bed, leather rocking chair and a flat-screen television, stereo equipment and Kenyan carpets) and fittings; groceries including pints of milk, fluffy dusters, lavatory rolls and chocolate HobNobs; claims on expenses for hotels in London but slept in Slough with friends; mowing and rolling paddocks and overhauling a tractor mower; and the list goes on.

Or just imagine if Mr. Fleming had to claim for his chauffeur.

I can imagine Mr. Percy Thomas putting proposals to government for an ‘independent’ panel to examine our elected officials expense claims lodged over the last ten years and to ask for repayment in cases where he deems abusive. Or perhaps seeking Keithley’s permission for a 'gossip stroll' down the street on a Sunday evening after church.

Anguillia’s Chief Corruption Tsar Version (CCTV), Corrupt-De-Don, would say, “Its time to stop the talking, installed the endless committees to effect transparency and accountability and deliver real change and leadership on Anguilla."

Mr. Fleming would rebut – “leadership is me saying to all the political parties that they've got to act now and immediately to change the system and limit the damage expected in the future.”

Imagine if our Health Minister Mr. Mc-Neil Rogers said he would pay back EC$198,118.00 claimed for furniture and fittings for his home to try to win back the trust of voters in Valley North. What would squeaky-clean Eddie articulate?

Or the Hon. Mr. Victor Banks pledged to repay more than EC$61,750.00 to the taxman after he was criticised for not paying taxes on the sale of his family property.

Imagine if our elected officials claim millions of dollars in allowances and thousands of dollars in expenses for their homes and travel to and from their work.

Imagine our media coming down like a ton of bricks on our elected officials who have sought to ‘milk’ the system or defraud the taxpayer (you), profit for personal gain in the Property or Real Estate Market.

Imagine if all of this was not reality. Imagine this reality is in the United Kingdom; the architects of diplomatic transparency and accountability.

Oh sorry… it was transparent… and legal too… it just was a lil unethical!

But - why aren’t we debating such unethical behaviour in our British counterparts at least in our media? Is this Racism? Are they held by a different standard than us? Or monkey see and monkey should do?

With all this disquiet; where is our corruption-free technocrat - Anguilla’s CCTV?

Suddenly he becomes Miseducated and caught the Swine Flu!

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