Books about Anguilla


Friday, 3 June 2011


It is said that in a democracy “Government is of the people for the people.” The aspect of “Rule” is by essential necessity (imperative decree) through constitutional empowerment. Our state of affairs permits this insidious incursion in our process of democracy, but sometimes of great necessity when political leadership is driven by the lack of cognizance. So when the British Government took control of our budgetary situation it was perhaps an extreme exercise of power, but well within our constitutional framework. The enforcement of essential order via a written text brought to the attention of the Honorable Chief Minister how easily the British can deprive him of his electoral rights in exchange for “Imperative Rule” what I call, “The Mind of the British” Loose and unwise talk in any capacity is often like a noose around the neck of a drowning man, what will do the most damage, leave the man drown or broke his neck dragging him to shore? Words come back to bite you, unless you have diplomatic immunity; and that might as well be covered in the context of what I call “Island Diplomacy” just talk it, means nothing, of no consequence.

When our elected leaders speak in their capacity, it calls to attention the masses, but when our people are unaware or unconcerned, it lessens the importance of our political leadership. AUM Campaign targeted, and perhaps antagonized the British well before they entered office. All politics being local, much of that kind of talk is primarily for local consumption but reaches the distance. Diplomatic language is not a necessary tool in relation to our people at home but, must be practiced in adequate representation of the country. Much of the campaign against the British started in the villages on the political platform and Mr. Hughes felt justified in linking AUF and the British together as common opponents, and clearly views the British as intruders. A noteworthy and emphatic promise to the people of Anguilla was “I will make the British pay, because they were in collusion with AUF to destroyed Anguilla’s economy”. That was irresponsible talk, but didn’t matter to the British Government until Mr. Hughes became Chief Minister and they both must meet face to face. Mr. Hughes visited England on serious business quickly after sitting in office, but did not present an invoice; one may wonder what his tone was? And how did he transmit his frustration in diplomatic terms there?

The Honorable Chief Minister, having ousted AUF in the election, and especially Victor Banks, thought he had rid himself of a lingering obstacle, but until the Budget for 2011 got laid on his desk, it is clear that he had no idea of the levels his frustration would reach; Mr. Hughes intended to demonstrate, that being elected by the people he was empowered to rule. Being the most powerful man in the country, his ideology had begun to take shape and apparently his administrative directives crossed threads with that of the Governor and the executive council, which caused legitimate concerns of the literary capacity and or capability of his Ministerial body, especially since Baird was not functional, bringing the entire function of his government into question. It would seem that this is the real weak point in Hughes’s administration and is a legitimate tool for the Governor to insist on how the island should function as a British Overseas Territory, Anguilla now being a primary example.

Mr. Hughes sees himself as a strong political leader, and in some instances he is. He however, might have lost an opportunity to demonstrate this and perhaps made himself a trans-formative figure in Anguilla politics by cooperation, and becoming a Statesman in the mind of the British and The Dependent Territories. Instead he is being viewed as the rowdy political leader. What does that do for us as a country? It does appear, from the many statements made by FCO that the British has a plan for good Governance of the Territories, and Anguilla had been preferably singled out because of its economic potential. This is also according to the language of the Minister who visited the island demonstrating his good will, but in the absence of any level of diplomatic sense, the Minister was lectured by a panel of AUM supporters on the displeasure of the Hughes government. a very good sense of “Island diplomacy” which in fact may have caused some damage to the credibility of the island and perhaps have actually isolated the Hughes government from diplomatic pleasure with FCO.

It was quickly after the election was won that the FCO instructed the Government to reduce the figures of the Anguilla budget substantially for British approval. That was viewed by Hughes as marginalizing his government and restricting him from his full scope of work and exercise of governing discretion. But the Governor had been ordered by the British Government to tightly manage the process in order to ensure compliance to streamline expenditure and ensure a balanced budget

The Minister assured the Anguilla people however, that what is said or done by the Governor represents the views of Britain. After the election, many of us thought that the change of government was good for the island, even among AUF supporters the change was welcomed, which is now becoming of grave concern for everyone. In The early days, Mr. Hughes issued many challenges to the British and insults to the Governor, we thought this was just a matter of “the thrill of victory” and it would quickly be replaced by a common sense government, this has not happened, it appears now, that the initiative has been lost to direct the country! It is out of frustration came the call for independence, a call that may ring hollow because, in the mind of The British, the Hughes Government is now inherently damaged and cannot provide appropriate leadership for the people of Anguilla. We must now ask ourselves “is Island Diplomacy any match for the Mind of the British.”

By: Elliot J. Harrigan

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