|Mr. David Carty - former Speaker of Parliament on Anguilla|
Monday, 19 December 2011
Once again, over the last few weeks, I have noted your tendency to hit the replay button of your old grudges against the former Chief Minister Sir Emile Gumbs and myself. Issues and events that I and many others had assumed were relegated to history, have now resurfaced and become imaginary fuel to the fire of your crusade to destroy the evil British empire and all it’s minions, who supposedly haunt you day and night. These devils in your mind, are hell bent on turning Anguilla back into a slave society and colonial possession. I am sad and sorry you feel this way. I wish I could render professional psychiatric help for these recurring nightmares. But as a humble boat builder I am forced to confess that in this regard, I am woefully under-qualified.
However I am also concerned at a time when our island is beset by so many difficult issues, that you as the constitutionally elected and appointed leader, seem so determined to create a distraction from the real issues which face us. Like Don Quixote you seem compelled to chase windmills in the belief that these imaginary enemies are what stand between you and the glorious future which awaits us all under your enlightened leadership. Some of the real issues which face us like, rising unemployment; an alarming inability which most of us face in not servicing our debts (a problem which you have openly stated does not affect you); the rising and intractable cost of electricity bills; a growing crime rate (about which you have little or nothing to say); the alarming descent by some of our young citizens into the world of international criminal activity; the frightening rate of properties being put up for auction; the disconcerting decrease of inward flows of foreign investment; the specter of taxation that can neither be afforded or even collected; and the consequential reduction in services that can be afforded by Government; the list goes on and on. These issues must all be faced squarely by any responsible Government. Although I have not had the privilege like you of going to Oxford, I do know that the word “responsible” can be broken into two words; “response” and “able”. Any responsible person must therefore be able to respond to the difficulties and challenges they face and use “resource-fullness” to find solutions to problems. Alas it seems that your preferred approach is to invent more problems and continually and incessantly find someone, something, anything and everything to blame for all these ills rather than proposing solutions. When President Harry Truman coined the famous quote “the buck stops here”, he was saying that any leader must realize that to be responsible means accepting the fact that he or she is in charge and must step up proactively to deal with the issues that must be faced. But your approach to leadership seems always to be looking backward. Leading Anguilla today, could be likened to that of a bus driver who is responsible for the lives of the many passengers and is tasked with steering his bus along a dark and dangerous road in the midst of a lashing rainstorm. On one edge of the road lies a cliff and a precipice to destruction and so he must drive very carefully with due care and attention if he is to navigate his vehicle and passengers to safety. But your style of driving this bus on the other hand, seems not only to be reckless but to be concentrated on looking in the rearview mirror instead of on the dangerous path ahead, a style that must end in an accident if not disaster.
So in an attempt to help you focus ahead and ensure that the windshield wipers are working well so that you can see more clearly, I will try yet again to help you understand a few points. You claim that Sir Emile and I are some sort of agents of the British Government and that no Anguillian Government can function well without our consent. I guess I should be flattered that you think me so powerful. But the truth is Mr. Gumbs like Mr. Ronald Webster is enjoying a quiet retirement and like Mr. Webster is confident that history will judge their great contributions to Anguilla fairly. I, like every other employer on the island am struggling day and night in this recession to create and sell my products so that the men and women I employ can find work and support their families. I have no time to be 007 or James Bond working for Her Majesty’s Secret Service as it tries in the imagination of your heart to bring you down or frustrate you. Your fight with the British and The Governor is yours and yours alone, and since it seems that the vast majority of Anguillians are not supporting you in this almighty struggle, it may be best for you like men of old to simply challenge the Governor to a duel on the lawns of Government House. Whereas I will not recommend swords or pistols, you may consider using jumping shoes, shorts or knickerbockers, and a pair of boxing gloves and challenge His Excellency to a bout of fisticuffs. When all two rounds of that is over you should feel a lot better and perhaps we can then all settle down to deal with serious matters.
But before moving on I must help you to come to terms with another one of your obsessions. My infamous trip to London as Parliamentary Secretary in 1992. Yes, 1992. For the benefit of all, we are still today talking about a five day visit to London 19 years ago before any 6th former in school today was even born. Contrary to your conspiracy theory that my visit was some grand design by the F.C.O. to enthrone me as Anguilla’s “Generalissimo” for life, if you were paying attention, you would have noted that the visit was geared entirely to exposing me to the key players in London who could impact the development of education in Anguilla, a portfolio for which I was then responsible. The Governor at the time was very disappointed with British overseas aid to Anguilla in the area of education to the extent that on one occasion he referred openly to British officers at the B.D.D. in Barbados as a bunch of “refrigerator salesmen”. The strategy therefore was simply to put an Anguillian face to the need for investment in education in Anguilla and it was my duty at the time to play that part. I listened and observed all the players carefully on my visit. I asked key questions, shared a new vision for education’s future and guess what; I did not curse anybody or complain about the terrors of colonialism. No, rather than doing so I adopted a very British Diplomatic tactic which was to embarrass them with a smile and persuade them with a noble premise. Or like the master himself advised I tried to be “wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove.” – As a result therefore of this infamous trip, and the hard work and good advice of key people at that time, in particular, Mr. Elvett Hughes then CEO, Mr. Merritt Lake then Principal of the ALHCS, Mr. Roy Tabor, Mr. Claudel Romney, Mr. Marcel Fahie, Mr. James Fleming and many others, we were able to see British aid to education go from zero to 12 million in less than 2 years. Apart from major renovation to all six primary schools some of which were literally falling down and extensive work on Campus A, the Library and Teacher’s Resource Center was erected and budgets ear -marked for the erection of what is now Campus B, a school that was built under your watch as Chief Minister. On a personal note, the library stands as the most gratifying result of this trip as it is by far and away still the most widely utilized Government structure on Anguilla today. This was the true result of my infamous trip to London which you claim was everything short of me taking tea with the queen. Had I known at the time how obsessed you would become with this visit I would have brought home with me a souvenir replica of a double Decker bus as a gift for you, or perhaps a lovely painting of London Bridge to hang in your drawing room as a reminder of your glory days in the United Kingdom. I apologize for not having done so.
Now on the issue of your need to keep calling me “the blue eyed boy” let me say this. I have never cared one wit what names or epithets you call me in order to try and sully my image. With respect to this one, I know as a fact that my eyes are not blue just as I know well that my hair is unruly and my legs are skinny. That and the colour of my skin all rest well with me not because I like or dislike them but simply because that is how God made me and thus I am satisfied. But on a serious note you need to be cautious about using such an epithet if for no other reason than the fact that it contains a racist overtone. I suspect that most of the visitors to our island who visit as tourists do indeed have blue eyes and it would be inconvenient and certainly unbecoming if they were led to believe that you as Chief Minister and especially Minister of Tourism were a closet or worse an avowed racist .This is not good for our bread and butter industry. I know well that from my debut into politics right up to the present that you have used the race card against me time and time again. This is undoubtedly the worst form of David Duke politics practiced by some politicians in democracies all over the world in differentiating themselves from their opponents on the basis of appearance or race. The fact that my legs are skinny or yours knock- kneed should not influence our respective political passions. But not to worry, you can continue to huff and puff, I am still here as true to myself as I always will be. But if you insist on your racist attacks I can do no more for you than ask your various prayer warriors to lift you up and hope for redemption.
In addition, you continue to accuse me (as in fairness you do all of your opponents) of corruption merely to score cheap political points. This is nothing new for you as you have been accusing me of this even as far back as with the removal of the “Sarah” from Road Bay in 1991. You especially love to do this in the House of Assembly wherein you are protected by privilege and in your whispering campaigns. In this regard you have simply been a coward as you know well that your accusations will not stand the scrutiny of any court. Here again my feelings for you and your overbearing need to degrade the personal character of all who disagree with you, are simply those of pity. But take heart read the psalms and rest in the Lord. I recommend Psalm 37 highly, it has been good for my spirit of late.
But you need to reflect deeply on the fact that none of the above really matters to Anguilla today. What we need is proactive, imaginative, resilient and above all focused leadership to steer us though this period of global economic crisis. The average Anguillian cares not a wit about my trip to England or your war with the British. What they do care about are jobs, business opportunities, how they are going to pay their bills and what hope is there for their families and especially their children. Essentially that is what Government is there for and like it or not you are in charge. Blame the British, me and everyone else all you want but at least lay out a vision for the future that is credible and realistic and do not expect us to believe that like Rumpelstiskin you can turn straw into gold. That is a fairytale.
I have always urged our Governments especially in this age of globalization to “think globally and act locally”. We must follow global trends carefully if we wish to secure any future we may have. In this regard, you should have taken note of the recent failure of the conference in Durban South Africa commonly known as COP 17, which failed to extend and replace the Kyoto Protocol and deal with the pressing issues of climate change. I expect that you and others may feel like some U.S. politicians that this is all nonsense and has nothing to do with Anguilla. So think again. We are looking down the barrel of an environmental gun that may literally blow us away or fry us away in the coming decades. But despite the threat, there are also opportunities embedded in the threat that can bring about fundamental change to how we generate electricity and the bills people have to pay for those rates month by month. This is simply because the climate crisis is the energy crisis. They are one and almost the same and small island states like ours are in the firing line for destruction. So why am I talking about this here? Because we are now in a key position to leverage our vulnerability to climate change to access global funding which can help us to pursue energy independence in a massive way and change Anguilla in a fundamental way all for the better.
So Despite your continued personal abuse, you should know that I and other local volunteers have helped your Government behind the scenes and below the radar to secure some of these same climate change funds to help you change our legislation and allow serious renewable energy investments to be made in Anguilla, weaning us off our dependence on diesel which is the main reason our rates are high. So now that you know that I was helping your Government to achieve something good, please do not throw an epileptic fit. True as God, I did not call the Queen to get her assistance nor did I instruct MI6 to force CDKN to make this contribution. And I swear on your hero Robert Bradshaw’s grave that I have no connections with any renewable energy company, solar or wind that may wish to invest in Anguilla. So please, just take it easy, breathe deeply, smile and pass the legislation when it comes to the House.
In one of the last sessions of the last House of Assembly in which I presided as speaker, the then chaplain the Rev. Joseph Lloyd led the meditation by quoting from the book of James chapter 3: 5-6.“Even so the tongue is a little member and boasteth great things. What an immense stack of timber can be set a blaze by the tiniest spark. And the tongue is in effect a fire. It represents among our members the world with all its wickedness; it pollutes our whole being; it keeps the wheel of our existence red-hot, and its flames are fed by hell”.
Did you listen to the Chaplain? Did you discern what he was trying to tell all politicians in and out the House? Or were you asleep? Your tongue has always been a fire. A fire of distrust and confusion and most of all negativity and you should heed the scriptures because you will never do good for Anguilla in the way you use it. To extend and add to the warning of the Hon. McNeil Rogers, you have “no” style, a “bad” attitude and a “destructive” approach.
So in conclusion let me just say this. Sir Emile has asked me to tell you that “you can say what you like, for whatever you say is like water off a duck’s back”. In my case, I was reminded by a friend who had listened to one of your tirades against me to be philosophical and console myself by recalling Shakespeare’s Macbeth Act 5, scene 5. “Whatever Hubert says” he advised, “however much he abuses you, his words are merely- “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.
I keep thinking about that.
Have a Happy Christmas
By: David Carty
Posted by Realist Spikenice at 01:43