Books about Anguilla


Friday, 26 August 2011


L to R: BVI Premier Ralph O'Neal, Montserrat Hon. Charles Kirnon,
Cayman Islands Premier W. McKeeva Bush, Anguilla Chief Minister
Hubert Hughes and BVI Governor Boyd McCleary
Last week the airways were inundated with comments from the Chief Minister in the wake of what he has described as on going efforts by the Opposition, the Governor, the Deputy Governor and the British Government to sabotage his Government. His press conference of Thursday, August 18 almost evoked my sympathy when I first heard his sluggish and disjointed presentation. It gave the impression that he was under severe stress and he actually sounded quite despondent. However, by the time he developed his “web of lies and half-truths” I realized that this was the same “Hubert” employing another one of his “stunts” with “smoke and mirrors” to explain away the inability of his Government to fulfill its empty promises to the people of Anguilla. At no time did he take responsibility for anything that has gone wrong since his Government ascended to office. As usual the Chief Minister at no point allowed the truth and the facts to stop him from constructing these conspiracy theories predicated on lies. I have wondered whether his lying is pathological. Because it is apparent that he believes his own fabrications. And he never stops repeating them even after they have been proven to be totally untrue. Let me lift three blatant lies from his August 18th Press Conference that illustrate this pattern of behaviour:-

1) He sets about creating a historical basis for his conspiracy theory by suggesting that the British Government threw him out of office unconstitutionally in 2000. Those of you who remember the circumstances of the Chief Minister’s demise in 2000 will recall that on the basis of my resignation from our coalition Government in 1999 he ended up with a minority government which could not meet the quorum requirement for a sitting of the House of Assembly, based on the Constitution. But Mr. Hughes was content to carry on a Government, which did not comprise a majority of elected members simply to hold on to power. This is the same Hubert Hughes who talks about democracy and good governance. Can we have good governance and democracy when a minority claims to be the legitimate government? The FCO did not throw Hubert Hughes out of office unconstitutionally. Mr. Hughes fought to hang on to power by taking the Speaker of the House of Assembly to Court for refusing to carry on the business of the House without a quorum. Mr. Hughes lost on this constitutional matter in the High Court! It was the High Court that ruled that the Speaker acted constitutionally not the FCO. As a consequence Mr. Hughes could not effectively govern and was obliged to demit office. Mr. Hughes should cease to perpetuate this lie. The facts do not bear out this falsehood.

2) He says that the Anguilla United Front Government did not have a single surplus for any one of the ten years it was in office. He uses this construction to suggest that the past Government did not manage the affairs of the country, efficiently. I believe that the officials in the Ministry of Finance must shudder either at the ignorance, which such a statement implies or at the dishonesty that such a claim suggests. The Government of Anguilla’s Budgetary Performance for the period in question clearly shows recurrent surpluses in five of those years beginning in 2003, until the recession took hold in 2008. Four of these annual surpluses were in double digit millions. The source of all these figures is the Treasury Department for which the Chief Minister is responsible. He also neglects to mention in his analysis the fact that during that period the Anguilla United Front Government built up reserves of approximately EC$65 million. (This figure includes some EC$25 million due to the recurrent account from EDF) It is obvious that Chief Minister is deliberately lying so as to make the point that he inherited a financial situation unrelated to the global financial crisis. He then goes on further to give credence to this view by claiming that his visit to London shortly after ascending to office was to seek reparations from the British Government for their role in aiding and abetting the destruction of the Anguillian economy. The facts in the reports from his Treasury Department, suggest that there is absolutely no basis for such statements.

3) The Chief Minister said at his press conference, that he brought Mr. Rizzuto, the owner of Cuisinart to Anguilla from Connecticut. It does not bother him that the facts on file clearly indicate that Mr. Rizzuto entered into an MOU with Sir Emile’s government in 1994. It was in fact, Mr. Keith “Tamper” Gumbs who encouraged Mr. Rizzuto to invest in Anguilla. The land was already acquired by the time the ADP/AUM coalition government ascended to office in 1994 and Mr. Hughes simply went to Connecticut to be “wined and dined” by Mr. Rizzuto as the incoming Chief Minister. The Chief Minister is again trying to paint a picture of being responsible for bringing a successful developer to Anguilla. And gave everyone the impression that he could guarantee that the Temenos Project would be developed on his terms. After having been unable to deliver on such promises he does not blame himself for not getting the deal done; for that matter neither does he even blame Mr. Rizzuto --- instead he blames the Governor. Why? Because he saw Mr. Rizzuto “wining and dining” the Governor! My question is: Why is it okay for the CM to fly to Connecticut to be “wined and dined” and the Governor cannot have a social meeting with a major investor without being accused of selling out Anguilla for the biblical “mess of potage”?

Having clearly established in my column last week that the Chief Minister has no problem in telling the most vicious lies and then apologizing, let me explain to you why I have chosen these particular lies to illustrate a further point. In the first example he claimed that he was forced out of office unconstitutionally --- in this instance he conveniently dismisses the role of the Judiciary in his decision to demit office. Rather he insists that it was the fault of the British Government. In the second example he claims that the AUF administration never had a surplus budget during its ten years in office --- in this instance he ignores official Government statistics so as to show that the past government caused the financial and economic situation on Anguilla. He concludes that the British Government aided and abetted this mismanagement therefore he has the right to seek reparations. And in the third example he claims that he brought a successful developer to Anguilla --- in this instance he is claiming responsibility for the positive outcome of the Cuisinart Project while ignoring the contributions of everyone else. However, he now insists that the breakdown in the present negotiations with the same developer is the fault of the Governor.

This and other statements made on several talk shows recently has caused many persons to question the mental state of the Chief Minister. Indeed his behaviour may suggest a fixation with the British Government and an irrational tendency to blame HMG for all of his problems. The point I am making is that these lies have in fact created a reality for the Chief Minister, which he has fully “bought into” and apparently genuinely believes. But there also appears to be some method to his madness. The careful observer may have noticed that the underlying reason for this recent flurry of press conferences, radio shows and planned public meetings is to explain why after eighteen months his Government has not been able to get the country moving. His answer? You guessed it! “The British Government has sabotaged his plan for Anguilla’s development!”

But let me posit a few questions, which may be instructive in analyzing the Chief Minister’s conduct:

Why is it that the Chief Minister believes that two separate British Governments are colluding to sabotage development in Anguilla? Why is the Labour Party; the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party all colluding against Anguilla?

What does a major super power like the United Kingdom have to benefit from destroying little Anguilla?

Why is it that everything that the Chief Minister has been saying seems to be making the case for independence?

Why does the Chief Minister prefer to take every dispute with public or private sector personalities to the airwaves rather than resolve them professionally and in an atmosphere of mutual respect? As a good friend of mine declares: “He is a “broad pa” man!

Why does the Chief Minister believe so strongly that the French are his benefactors and is therefore willing to allow them to control water; electricity and an airport facility for Anguilla?

Why does the Chief Minister believe that the British Government does the bidding of David Carty; Victor F. Banks; and other members of the Anguilla United Front?

Why should the Chief Minister look out of his office window and notice that the Secretariat grounds are being tidied up, and because he did not request it --- he then concludes that the Anguilla United Front is still running the Government?

I presented these behavioural traits to three persons with training in psychological profiling one on Anguilla; one in the United States and one at a Caribbean university. They all came up with the same diagnosis: “that person has “borderline personality disorder!” Being myself not fully acquainted with the definition for that condition I asked them each to give me some symptoms, which I could use as a checklist. I was then able to check a few of them against the Chief Minister’s behaviour as follows:

a) The person is in a constant state of crisis and chaos. The Chief Minister does not seem happy unless he has something to argue and fight about. That is why he has earned the name “confusion Hubert”!

b) The hallmark of such a person is that they tend to be dramatic, emotional and inconsistent. The Chief Minister is an expert on dramatizing situations and is famous for being inconsistent in his arguments and presentations.

c) The person has a tendency to be self-destructive and impulsive. The Chief Minister has been thrown out of three governments and then broke up his own Government.

d) The common defences of such a person is “splitting”. When he wishes to defend a position the Chief Minister “pits” one person against the other. For example to denigrate his experiences with members of the AUF in his political career he said that the most comfortable time he spent in Government was the eleven months he spent with the Hon. Ronald Webster’s Government in 1980. Everyone knows that he was thrown out of that Government but now he sees an opportunity to play to the diehard Webster supporters by rewriting that chapter of political history.

e) The person has a tendency to categorize people or situations as either fabulous or dreadful --- polar opposite descriptions. The Chief Minister has said at one time that I was the best Finance Minister in the Caribbean, now I am the worst. He describes certain people he favours as decent and others as corrupt when it suits his purposes. And those descriptions can change in a very short time.

f) The person has a tendency to have mini-psychotic episodes, that is, brief periods of loss of contact with reality. Very often the Chief Minister has embarrassed his colleagues by making “way-out” statements. Like his rants about an undeclared war against Anguilla or that Anguilla can colonize Guyana.

The person has a tendency to cultivate love-hate relationships. There is no more loyal British Citizen than the Chief Minister yet he denounces them everyday. And truth be told --- I strongly believe that he loves David Carty and myself.

I believe that I have clearly shown that we have a problem here. Last week I suggested that it is time for the Chief Minister to stop his rhetoric and lies. This week after hearing his pitiful cries about the sabotage of his Government and his “invisible plan” I have been moved to conclude that he needs attention.

One of my younger buddies said to me when he heard the press conference: “I did not know that the Chief Minister was an Exodus fan! I hear him on the radio sounding like ‘Latest’ talking ‘bout “Sabotage!! Sabotage!! Lord have mercy!! --- According to ‘Shunkee’, dis country really need Navigation! Bwoy!”

By: Victor F. Banks
Victor Banks is a former Finance, Economics, Commerce and Tourism Minister on Anguilla. He is presently the leader of the Oposition Anguilla United Front Party, author and writer of a weekly political article for the Anguillian News Paper, lyricist, and a self-employed entrepreneur.

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