|Mr. Victor F. Banks - former Minister of Finance, |
Economic Development, Commerce and Tourism
Our party has carried out its role as Loyal Opposition to the best of our ability with the expectation that in a democratic environment we would be able to provide balance to the issues of the time as well as support where appropriate to the policy initiatives of the duly elected Government. We have not been disruptive in that role and have especially avoided any display of civil disobedience or boisterous conduct to achieve those objectives. On the contrary we have used the media, both print and broadcast, to present our views on matters of national importance.
I am also grateful to the supporters of the Anguilla United Front and those persons who have come to a better understanding of the issues affecting Anguilla for the encouragement they have given us to “stay the course” despite the noisiness of those persons who seem to believe that democracy is a one-way street. You have given us the confidence to continue to carry out our responsibility to inform, educate and oppose when necessary on matters of national importance. We promise to continue in a similar manner in the year ahead.
On a personal note, because my column is my sole responsibility, I must thank all those persons who have taken the time to read my weekly articles and have encouraged me to continue despite the fact that other persons, in particular many AUM Talk Show Hosts, promulgate the view that the right to freedom of expression is a privilege for supporters of the Government alone. Ironically, these are the very same persons whose voices dominate the media and various forums throughout Anguilla on a daily basis. I am however flattered that I should be credited with such awesome power by all the Members of Government as well as their most vocal commentators for my humble attempt to fulfill my role as a vehicle of the democratic process. In any event I will not give such persons any vain hope that I will be silenced in 2012.
Unfortunately, the people of Anguilla are “fed up” with these shenanigans. According to the Hon. Othlyn Vanterpool in his Christmas Message: “It is not helpful at a time when we are striving to meet the requirements for our survival as a people and an island --- to be casting blame and aspersions on each other simply for some useless vanity. We are all in the same ship of state; facing the same hurling seas ahead; hoping for “fair winds and following seas”; and praying that we have an able team to take us safely to our destination”. In other words the Chief Minister should be giving us a message of hope and a plan of action that employs the resourcefulness of his Government and the effective support of the same technicians that served past Governments against similar challenges. We hope that he will do so in 2012!
Ras Bee in his interview with the Chief Minister asked him what was his proposal for moving forward given the gloomy scenario he painted about Anguilla being under attack; that we are so divided as a people that we are not understanding that we are threatened by Britain; that we are so divided that Britain will succeed in impelling us back into abject poverty; that the Governor interferes with foreign developers and is jeopardizing our development; that our people are accepting strange favours from the powers that be and are compromising their ethics; and that Anguilla is a jewel which the British want. The Chief Minister’s response to Ras Bee’s question was that: “we must continue to fight and bring the World Press into Anguilla!” In other words we are destined in 2012 to be engaged in an ongoing war of words devoid of any real action that can lead to a positive reversal of our present plight. And that he will continue to make noises to attract world attention. We hope that this will not be the case in 2012!
|Try counting all the black dots|
While it is not my objective to make this address a critique of the Chief Minister’s interview and address it would be remiss of me not to point out our hopes and dreams for a new approach, a new style and a new attitude in 2012. It is a truism that if you use the same solutions you get the same results! The Hon. Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Rogers has memorialized the idea that it is time for the Chief Minister to change his strategy --- as we all can see it has not brought us any positive outcomes over the last twenty two months. We hope that the Chief Minister will change his strategy so as to achieve the outcomes Anguillians deserve in 2012!
|Chief Minister of Anguilla hard at work|
We note also that the Chief Minister in his closing remarks made a plea for unity even though our attempts at extending the olive branch in November past were “slapped down” by the most condescending remarks about Members of our Party. While we have no intention of uniting behind leadership that is characterized by volatility; failed approaches; irrational conduct and vacuous boisterousness we may be encouraged to coalesce with the Government on well-thought out strategies to advance the overall progress of our island. In fact as the only united party in Anguilla the Anguilla United Front has offered to work with the Chief Minister to address the various issues affecting our country but it has proven difficult to join forces with a Leader who is unable to unite his own party? These are real questions that occupy our thoughts as we seek to make sense about where we are going as a country. We hope that we can develop an environment of reason in 2012.
|Chief Minister Hon. Hubert Hughes and Hon. McNeil Rogers,|
leader of Her Mmajesty's loyal Opposition, at an official Anguillia's Day
ceremony at the James Ronald Webster park.
So as we move forward in this New Year let us advance with the hope that there will be a new view of the way forward. Let us ensure that through mutual respect we can advance the cause of unity; that we can focus on resolving the real issues rather than try to come with excuses; that our leaders can take responsibility for what they were elected to do; that our leaders employ positive strategies to bring about change; that the battles of personality will cease and that we will prevail victorious in our path to recovery. These and other blessings we hope will attend our journey in the coming year as we seek to manage the challenges before us as a people --- a people who have endured even greater trials over its torrid past. May God bless us all and may God bless Anguilla. Have a healthy, happy and successful 2012.
By: Victor F. Banks