Books about Anguilla


Friday, 24 June 2011


It was not my intention to write an article this week since I was off-island on my main “writing night. I was also aware that the Leader of the Opposition, the Honourable Evans McNiel Rogers was delivering a major national address that will be carried in the Anguillian this week. I knew that finally readers and listeners would have factual evidence to discredit the Chief Minister’s continual efforts to mislead Anguillans about the Interim Stabilization Levy Act. Mr. Rogers presented the response he received from the Minister for the Overseas Territories that states clearly that the elected Government of Anguilla is “the competent authority” for the implementation of all revenue and taxation measures. Mr. Rogers concluded: “the UK Minister confirmed what we have being telling you all along and clearly confirms what I said earlier, that our Chief Minister is seeking to mislead us. It should therefore be clearer that the imposition of the Stabilization Levy and the three-year time frame to balance the budget were all brought on us and are all under the control the Government of Anguilla lead by the Hon. Hubert Hughes. It is also clear that the Repeal of the Bad tax is in fact a matter for the AUM Government. Not the Governor! Not the Secretary of State!”

My decision to write, however, was brought about by an article I noticed in the Anguillian last Friday. It was not a front-page article. It was a very short piece stuck in the bottom left corner of page 21 of the newspaper. I was told later that a press release had gone out almost a week before. In the festive mood of the four-day weekend I obviously missed it completely. The article is short enough for me to quote in its entirety and I will do so as follows:

Governor Alistair Harrison announced on Friday June 10, that Detective Inspector Andrew (Andy) Arsenault had been awarded the Honour of Member of The British Empire (MBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours List of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The award was in recognition of his services against the fight against financial crime in Anguilla.

The Governor offered his warm congratulations to Inspector Arsenault whose contribution in the areas for which he received the award had been immense. The award recognized the importance of the fight against corruption and financial crime in Anguilla, on which significant progress had been made, but the Governor said that much remained to be done. He also expressed his pleasure that Inspector Arsenault’s contract had been renewed and he would be returning after a short vacation to continue his work.”

I want to state categorically at the outset that I have absolutely nothing personal against Inspector Arsenault. I know him in his official capacity and I have exchanged pleasantries with him on a number of social occasions. Secondly, the decision to grant an award to a citizen of the British Commonwealth is not the responsibility of anyone in the Government of Anguilla, including the Governor. But my concern is about the statement that he received the award for what has been described as an “immense contribution” to the fight against corruption and financial crime in Anguilla. Like many other Anguillians I am not aware of what the Inspector has done that put him to the top of the “heap” in his area of activity neither do I have any knowledge of any successful outcomes which would cause his virtues to be extolled throughout the island. When I saw the caption I was certain that the Inspector was being awarded for his lifetime achievement in the field of financial crimes investigation in his homeland Canada or elsewhere in the Commonwealth. I hardly expected that he would have received such distinction for a few years of contract service to an Overseas Territory.

Apparently, the Inspector’s contribution was noticed by an individual or group of individuals during the few short years that he served as a part of the Royal Anguilla Police Force. Furthermore, the fact that he received the award during the Queen’s Birthday Honours means, based on the deadline in the nominations process, that he was recommended at least six months ago. I must congratulate Inspector Arsenault on the fact that his work has made such a great impression on his nominator or nominators because several other persons have served most diligently in the service of Anguilla for many years and have not gained such attention. Does this prove the biblical adage that “ a prophet is not without honour but in his own country?” Would the Inspector have received such notice in his homeland Canada? Was the Inspector noticed by an Anguillian or Anguillian resident who felt strongly that above all other persons involved in Law and Order his contribution was the most valuable to our national security?

I am sure we all have looked at other recipients of awards and medals and asked questions. On Anguilla Day, during our national awards, there are always awardees that someone will query. It is not a perfect process anywhere. Not at the Oscars! Not at the Emmy’s! Heck! I am sure many would have heard the international debate when President Obama was granted the Nobel Peace Prize. What I am saying is that Inspector Arsenault is in good company based on the many times persons have asked me the question: “Inspector Whooo?”

The purpose of my comments, however, is to explain to persons who observe such decorations and appreciate such forms of recognition that if persons you believe are not deserving get nominated and people you believe are deserving do not --- it is not really their fault --- it may very well be yours. And if we value the grant of such honours to deserving Anguillians or other persons --- we must know what is required to get it done. Otherwise, we may only have ourselves to blame, when the allocation for Anguilla gets taken up by sojourners in our land.

Let me state a few clear facts about the process:-
  • Anyone is allowed to nominate someone who they consider worthy of an honour.
  • You are requested not to inform the person you are nominating that you are doing so.
  • Nominations are particularly welcome for those who work in the voluntary sector or who give outstanding service to the community.
  • You are required to complete an FCO Honours Nomination Form for the person or persons you are nominating. This form is available at the Governor’s Office.
  • You must outline your grounds for the nomination of your candidate in a brief outline giving detailed examples explaining the meritorious services to the UK, to the community or to specific British interests they have performed, for how long they have been performing these services, whether these services were paid or unpaid, and what specifically makes them worthy of recognition by means of an honour.
  • You must indicate which other persons in the community support the nomination and you should include any documentation or letter indicating such support.
  • The nomination form is then returned to the Governor’s Office that will then forward the nomination to the Royal Households and Honours Secretariat at the FCO in London.
  • The process can take up to eighteen months.
I have heard a number of comments since this article appeared in the Anguillian. There were expressions of shock; there were expressions of disbelief; there were expressions of outrage; there were expressions of disgruntlement by persons who felt that someone of their associates was more deserving; and in a few cases that they were cheated themselves. In my case I feel strongly that such awards for service to Anguilla should principally go to Anguillians --- preferably in long-term service to this country. When awards are granted outside of this main principle we all should readily feel the impact of the services of that recipient without question. We must not be surprised and ask the question: “Who?” We should be able to say: Yeah! That’s right! He/She deserve it! There are examples of such cases in the Anguilla Day Awards. No one has to my knowledge ever questioned the merit of any “non-Anguillian” who has been granted an Anguilla Day Award. According to Shakespeare: their “virtues plead like angels”. This is what we can ensure by following the nomination process and celebrating exceptional servants among us unselfishly.

Of course there are those who could not care less about the Queen’s Honours List. But everyone understands that such awards carry great meaning for a number of our citizens and if they are “deserving” they should be decorated. The covering letter from the FCO reads: Honours are awarded to people whose service to the community or contribution to public life is regarded as being exceptional. Competition is strong in Britain and around the world, so it is inevitable that only a relatively small number of those who are nominated can be successful” Let us therefore make sure that we take advantage of the opportunity to give honour to “prophets” in our own country without apprehension.

By the way, a friend was trying to find out from me exactly who is Inspector Arsenault. I thought for a moment and then I said: “The police officer with the exceptional singing voice! He does Elvis; Frank Sinatra; Nat King Cole songs --- you name it!” Oh! he replied, “Now I know exactly who you talking about! He does sing extremely well!” If he was given an award for his voice I might even had say patience! But I really don’t know what he does in the Police Force! Sorry!

Speaking of decorations there are some people who treasure them highly and if they deserve them we must celebrate them without question. Frank Sinatra sang a famous ballad entitled: “Bubbles, bangles and beads!” “They glitter and gleam so! Let us put a gleam in the eye of some dedicated servant of our country who will really treasure such an expression of gratitude and appreciation. Let me again congratulate the Inspector Arsenault on his Award --- Just to be nominated is an honour indeed. You were noticed in Anguilla and I am sure we will always have a special in your heart for our people. Maybe you will sing “Bubbles, bangles and beads” for us at the next Police Concert. Just to show your appreciation! Hear how they jing jing a linga!

Victor F. Banks
Sachasses Estate
June 22, 2011

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“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity” – MLK.