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Saturday, 18 December 2010


If you were one listening to the Budget speech by the honorable Chief Minister on Tuesday afternoon, you might have seemingly felt the compassion in his voice at some junctures. Mr. Hughes seems to be experiencing real grief over having to introduce new taxes which he deems would bring sever hard ship on a people he knows much better than the British. But had corresponding conviction, daring FCO, and not willing to cave to the pressure to satisfy the British government in their attempt to inhibit his government from succeeding. Here is a man who would seemingly rather “cry Tears of Blood” than to submit his pride and his country to the total grasp of the British Government. An act of submission, reconciliation or pure determination!

Are we going to see at some point the Honorable Chief Minister and the Governor surrender their egos for “a Smile or a hand shake” for the good of the country? The lingering revolt against imposing tough measures to return the country to prosperity is a major problem for Mr. Hughes. The task of slimming down government and balance the bloated budget is much more than the bargain at the polls. Whether the measures proposed are fair or not to an incoming government, effort must be made to bring the island back on a path of sustainability and financial stability. By now this government should have done their own analysis and proposed their own alternative measures if those imposed by the British are too severe. The pull back without clear alternatives is simply a very slow demise that could well be of the AUM government or our national dignity. Obviously we don’t have access to liquidity or the power to inject new life into the economy, therefore we must do what is necessary to stabilize the situation; this calls for more that strong patriotism or determination, but sacrifice. This is the time for wisdom to be the compelling force, with a solid four years still on the AUM calendar, this is the time for the bitter pill, and certainly that taste would diminish by the time the next election comes around, certainly, if the economy rebounds and in our history this would be simply an unpleasant memory.

From an administrative standpoint one cannot look at the country from the premise of a five year election term, the country itself, stand way above the elected term of office of any government. It indeed might be unfortunate for this government to be faced with the undesirable task of correcting a terrible situation, but if they are serious about governing, they must execute, no matter how undesirable, as long as the potential is there for best results for the country it is the correct thing to do. Posturing for public support is actually an obstacle in the meeting of the minds between the Governor and The chief Minister to swing the country in the right direction.

Let’s be clear, as I see it, the present stalemate with this Governor is an act in futility. The first eighteen pages of our constitution speak about protection of the Fundamental Rights and freedoms of the people; thereafter this document empowers the function of the Governor to execute authority over government in specific terms. Quote; “The Governor of Anguilla shall be appointed by Her Majesty and hold office during Her Majesty’s pleasure for the purpose of administering the Government of Anguilla, the Governor shall have such powers and duties as are conferred or imposed on him by this constitution or any other law and other powers as Her Majesty may from time to time be pleased to assign to him. The Governor shall be responsible for the conduct (subject to the provisions of this constitution and any other law) of any business of the government of Anguilla. There shall be an executive council in and for Anguilla which shall consist of the Chief Minister and not more than three other ministers. The Governor, acting in his discretion shall appoint a Chief Minister of the elected members who, in his judgment is likely to command the support of the majority of the elected members of the Assembly. No court shall enquire into the execution of the powers of the governor.

It is very clear that our constitution is about the authority and discretion of the Governor and not The Chief minister. Our Government is explicitly about consultation in accordance. The word accordance is used directly and subjectively in reaching conclusions on specific action by the Chief Minister, that word indicates that every time a decision is made by the Chief Minister, it is subject to whether or not the Governor agrees. And the word discretion is used most directly in the exercise of the power of the Governor in the broadest form of his judgment. This is the document we have to live by. There is no battle to be won. Staging a fight with the Governor is vain ambition and a dishonor to Her Majesty, and will prove in the long run to be very painful for AUM. There is no alternative, The Minister for Overseas Territories reminded the Chief Minister in his response letter to a request to have the Governor removed and replaced, that he is aware that this is a usual practice by Mr. Hughes, as similar requests were made in the 90’s to remove Governors Shave and Harris. Mr. Hughes must be commended for his determination and urge to wage battle; but at some point wisdom must dictate that if there’s no winning strategy, the country loses.

By: ejharrisxm

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