Books about Anguilla


Sunday, 4 December 2011


The attitude exhibited by the Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Hughes since taking office, that he is fighting an “undeclared war with the British” has incited constant “outrage” with the Governor and FCO and to some degree has created an impediment to a progressive approach to the business of governing on the island and has apparently resulted in a brutal reception in London. This is according to the Chief Minister’s own reports of hostile treatment. Clearly, the Chief Minister was extremely disappointed and blamed it on negative reports reaching Britain. No doubt much of what is been said here at home is reported back to London. The Chief Minister felt appeased by the other delegates and Dependent Territories heads seeming to have better relationships with Britain than Anguilla and Mr. Hughes does; It brings into focus the consistent feud with the Governor over matters that seem unclear to the population and is causing Mr. Hughes difficulty and embarrassment with his diplomatic business. Business with Britain is all about the interest of the country and should not be about personal feuds or the raging of personal battles. There have been many calls for the Chief Minister to control his rhetoric and conduct business on better terms with the Governor which would reflect a better functioning government. It is possible though that much of this conflict is staged just for local consumption to appease party supporters. Hearing Mr. Hughes report of hostile treatment in London make us believe that he was expecting royal treatment there amidst a lingering dislike for the British and revved up anger on the island, giving the impression that the island is being deprived of its constitutional rights and privileges and is somehow oppressed, Mr. Hughes wants us to believe that he has the will to change the constitutional framework with Britain and change the political direction of the country; but had “No Outrage in Britain.” even though he acts like the big bad dog here at home there was no bark in London and in the end he subdue himself truly, as a “loyal British Subject.”

A door was swung wide open for the Chief Minister to openly address his fury and issues with Britain, when Anguilla became the subject matter in the British parliament recently and questions were asked to the Minister of State and Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Minister was asked to give an assessment of at least one of the many disparaging statements by Chief Minister Hughes of the British, stating that “Anguilla’s biggest dilemma is Britain which is not our friend ….. They are no asset to us.” “They are our liability”. The Minister replied in writing, and stated that he was not aware of such a statement by Mr. Hughes. Curious! Such statements are common by the Chief Minister, so it is unbelievable that the Minister has not heard. Mr. Hughes should now take the opportunity and set the record straight which would give him a direct link to the British Parliament and perhaps he’ll have a friend in Lord Ashcroft the Parliamentarian who asked the questions.

If one follows the approach of the British Government, they have been extremely clear on their policy towards the Dependent Territories, which have been reiterated consistently. The question is whether our government has a good grasp of the undertaking and the process of governing according to the British order? Leading up to these bilateral meetings the Secretary of State Mr. Hague again outlined the UK Government’s fundamental responsibility and objective to its Dependent Territories, which is to “ensure security and good governance of its people.” Britain is willing to shape policy to the specific needs and circumstances of each Territory. It goes to say that “the strategy is to design a framework in which these policies can be developed and implemented consistently and effectively.” The word developed would indicate a process of putting together, clearly meaning that they expect input from the Territories. It can only mean that, because no one knows the special needs of these Territories than they who live there. The fact that the Minister is indicating in advance that in February of 2012 a White paper would be issued is in effect giving those Territories time to make an input. Our government has to stop politicking and get busy structuring a serious frame work that would shape the future of the country after 2012.

The honorable Chief Minister summarized his trip by declaring that he and his delegation came out on top, but very little was brought back in terms of real substance. He has distinguished the hard work and effort of the Permanent Secretary who made the case to the British that monies received from Voice Roy’s sale in effect brought our budgetary chaos into positive territory with excesses, but the British maintained that the island is not a massive real estate scheme and they would rather see a methodical approach to governing that would result in a more strategic process of solving the island’s fiscal problems. What was interesting was the direct exchange the Chief Minister had with his counterpart in one of his meetings where Mr. Hughes apparently stuck to his local theme and language, indicating to the British that their approach to our problems is not workable, declaring that people on Anguilla are hungry! This perhaps was a little too local and could have been dressed up in better diplomatic language, I must reiterate that it appears that while the delegation emphasized a strong will, this trip pretty much reinforces the fact that with all the rage and disgusts with the British here at home, when Mr. Hughes touches down on British soil he is pretty much “A British Subject” "with no outrage in Britain!!!

By Elliot J. Harrigan

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