By: Elliot J. Harrigan
Friday, 10 June 2011
The economic situation on Anguilla has always been one of ambiguity and insecurity; our economic model is an ambitious one, but in distinctively structured, meaning that the country thrives on third party planning and we have failed in the years of preparation to be methodical, where the elements within our reach dictate our success. We are too dependent on the unknown and lack a structure where our economy is supported by a few pillars of vibrancy within our control that would dictate the direction of the country. A fully functional and well operated airport facility, a well equipped, modern harbor, a vibrant and bustling commerce sector and town center, a well planned tourist port, capable of handling our ferry traffic, day trippers, and a medium disembarkation of cruise tourists, and perhaps, a planned and structured fishing and lobster industry. These are economic pillars of significance pivotal to a sound economic structure. Our Tourism model is a clear example of continued instability and unpredictability. No aspect of our most important economic asset is within our control and is dependent on third and fourth party planning and execution.
All governments of the past have intuitively chosen the model of “high end tourism” for Anguilla. Ironically, embarking on this journey was like inviting a prince into a wilderness. We had nothing to offer, moreover to those who expect the very best. This means that we have chosen to market the island as one ready to accommodate tourists that are willing to spend top dollar, but also means that our guests would be those of very high expectations and most critical of our lack of delivery. This must be viewed across the board, meaning that we have always put the onus on the quality of our accommodation, which government has no control over. The quality of our hotels is our major marketing tool which represents and reflects our image, take that away and we’re probably back to the wilderness. Our sun, sea and sand do not make us unique in this region, but we can boast of a good quiet and relaxed atmosphere on the island. We have however been very successful in selling Anguilla as, “tranquility wrapped in blue,” vaguely conceivable, but may have accounted immeasurably for our success thus far.
Our political leaders have no vision and no leadership capability for the leap into the future. For too long we endeavored to build soundness on vague perception. Money must be invested in important facets of the country that is within our control, where a government can apply their policies to see future returns. Sitting back in an expensive tax payer’s office hoping for a “white man”! The same type of humanity that this government despises and hate to even communicate with, simply because of insecurity; to come with millions of dollars to spend on one project in our interest, which in turn becomes the most important aspect our economic future is only shifting the inevitable, “a total crash of the country” we need a reliable economic base to guarantee the future and there is no one right now with a plan! The AUF government put in place policy in the first few years of its governing which produced significant economic activity in the country some years later, but in the absence of good stewardship and custodian management, they in fact later introduced policy, raising the spending levels out of control that consequently undermined that progress to a level of economic chaos. I am a supporter of the AUF governing approach and machinery, but at some point AUF must take responsibility for the success they presided over, and the ultimate failure ensued, considering all the elements which have negatively impacted the island since, but in fact resulted in an unsustainable exercise.
This says something, which, if a new government sits in office they must analyzes very carefully that path and plan more carefully going forward. But since this government came into office they have not projected any new ideas. It is very painful for our people to have to pay out salaries to our elected political leaders in average of $1000.00 EC per day in some capacities, charged with equal responsibility, to ensure a growing economy and the security of the people; Our leaders sit in office and have failed to execute good governance, or enact policy that would produce any real prospects for the country. Meanwhile engages in divisiveness and unnecessary rhetoric to destabilize the island. It is the responsibility of all of our other elected representatives to collaborate and cooperate with the British Government in the interest of the Country. The island is not private property where each group defends their turf, personal interests and desires.
Anguilla is a British Dependent Territory, and a very secure island in the region, within the existing constellation. This implies that the British Government does have a say in the affairs of the country, and the wellbeing of the people. It further implies that the British has equal responsibility to ensure that the island is governed well. But certainly can be restrained from any direct engagement or assistance , if our Government fails to appropriately engage in responsible dialogue. The initial responsibility lies with the people to ensure that government performs, and ensure that $1000.00 per day is worth something. It is proven over and over again that a single hotel property of any magnitude is not the answer to our economic soundness and we must plan the island for the future to secure our economic strength!!!!
This article will be continued with a perspective on how St. Maarten/ St. Martin features in the welfare and well being of Anguilla and why our economy remains weak and unsustainable, “a direct result of our tourism model!!!”
By: Elliot J. Harrigan
Posted by Realist Spikenice at 21:34