Books about Anguilla


Saturday, 14 April 2012



Mr. Vanier Harrigan - Anguilla Festival Coordinator
Discussions were held with Mr. Eddy Baird and members of his office with respect to changes that needed to be made before I would continue as chairman of the carnival committee. There were several difficulties I faced in my role as Chairman.  In the year 2010, when I took over Anguilla Summer Festival, the committee’s financial state was one of a negative balance of close to EC$300,000.00. This means that the committee was indebted to the tune of that amount. I was given a budget of EC$800,000.00, down from the previous years’ average budget of about EC$1.3 million. Given the existing liabilities, I had to make difficult choices regarding cutting some of the events as well as combining events.

This year I was asked by the Minister of Culture to cut yet another free Carnival event, this time either the Caribbean Beach Party, or Parade of Troupes. I felt it would be unfair to the Anguillan community to cut the Parade of Troupes.  Firstly, it is one of the oldest and most well loved events, maybe due to its family oriented nature, which leads to my second reason for regarding the removal of this event as unfair. It is the only real family oriented event within the Summer Festival. Thirdly, many persons who wouldn't attend events at the carnival village, typically attend this event given it is held in an open environment, can be viewed over a period time from different locations and provides enjoyment of music in cheery and relaxed setting.  And finally, the Parade of Troupes is an even that embodies the essence of Carnival. The parade of costumes is an integral part of carnival wherever held in the world.  To remove this event from our Summer Festival would be a detriment to it.

On the other hand, the Caribbean Beach Party is something that has grown to be a world-class event that attracts people from all over the world and has become a selling point of our carnival.  Not to mention the fact that the Anguillan Community is very fond of it.  The removal of either of these events was an impossible decision to make.

Furthermore, my policy as Chairman was to hire as much local contractors as possible, such as JTR security and Gaff of Platinum Sounds, so as to keep jobs here in Anguilla. In 2010 and 2011 when I decided to use an Anguillan owned and based security firm to team up with our Anguilla Royal Police Force, I received opposition from many of my other committee members. I paired JTR security with a technical person who had the experience of dealing with riots who could assist them with understanding the scope of the security task that had to be undertaken, such as crowd control. By virtue of this pairing, coupled with my experience working with as a US Federal Agent, I knew that our locals could get the job done provided they had the right protocols and tools to work with.  It proved to be successful initiative and a wise decision given that almost no arrests were made during that time and the summer festivals occurred virtually incident free.  The vision of empowering our people to allow them to perform is the beginning of a better Carnival.

Hon. Minister of Social Development - Mr. Eddison Baird
Another issue that I had, which I discussed with the Minister of Culture, was the way the committees’ finances were handled. One long serving member referred to as the finance controller handles the finances. This member is responsible for the funds collected at the gates, government and sponsored funds. There was no requirement of accountability attached to this position, and I as Chairman or other members of the committee never received an accounting of the funds. A report comes out sometime during the next year highlighting the income generated and expenses, but I believe that as Chairman of the Committee holding full responsibility for the events that some sort of financial accountability should be implemented during the Summer Festival.

I have noticed that payment of vendors and contractors is done on preference basis. I found it very unfair that in the past; the contracted security team out of St. Maarten who charged US$84,000.00 was paid fifty percent (50%) up front and most times balance before leaving Anguilla. Their housing and meals were also provided for.  The same payment method of a smaller amount applied to the sound systems crew. However, our own local security firm who charged the Committee less than half the price of the St. Maarten security firm, and had no housing costs included, have yet to be paid.  This same unfortunate state of affairs applies to our local sound system firm. Is it that we want our own people to fail or under perform?  I must say I am very proud of Gilbert Fleming (Gaff) and Frankie Rogers (JTR Security) for spending monies out of pocket and working hard to make carnival a success. If these guys were treated with the same courtesy as the outside contractors, they would be able to perform better.

Festival Coordinator and the Hon. Minister of Social Development
parading the Miss Caraibes Queens
Some members of our Government have yet to recognize the importance of carnival.  It is detrimental to Anguilla when we chose not to enhance our summer festival as a tourist and an economical product. Our Minister of Social Development does not see it fit or important to enhance on our social life style for our citizens, young people and tourist. The need to create and improve what we have out grown, such as a proper cultural center to host events and programs, is long overdue. I find government focuses more on Anguilla as a rich and famous beach destination, without realizing the fact that younger tourists now constitute the majority of travellers. When they visit here there is nothing exciting and cultural to do, or any social event to attend.  Carnival is one of the biggest incentives as a middle-income tourist attraction. From middle-income tourism benefits accrue to the local businesses, revenue is generated by government taxes, and jobs are created. Carnival Tourism is the next big thing within Europe, North America and the Caribbean. We should not be focused on the carnival committee and government making back money spent on carnivals, but rather focus on generating activity for the survival of local businesses, which carnivals contributes to in a significant way. When our government ministers say they are in the church and want nothing to do with carnival, it is like saying you don't care about our country's culture, a culture that has been around for hundreds of years. It also appears that you don't care about the survival of our local economy. It is the government’s job to find every creative way to stimulate business to ensure the survival of our people and businesses.

Another benefit of carnival is the exposure of our talent that we have in abundance in Anguilla. The unique thing about Anguilla is that our young people are very interested in music and it is a fact that we have more bands in Anguilla per capita than anywhere else in the Caribbean. There is a saying that 'the devil finds work for idle hands to do’, If we don't see the need to invest heavily in our culture, we will spend more down the road fighting crime and doing damage control. Crime can destroy our tourist product that we’re trying to build. It’s seems our Tourism Department and Social Department do not recognize the value of developing our cultural events and building facilities to house them, then we have no vision for the next generation. These two agencies must work together and create a prosperous social environment for our tourists and local population.

Mr. Davon Carty
I would like to end by congratulating our new chairman of the Anguilla Summer Festival, Mr. Davon Carty, and wish him all the best in a very difficult, thankless job. I yet await a thank you, and to be informed by Mr. Eddie Baird of my replacement for 2012.  I would also like to state that I stand by my principles and what I believe is right, and I will voice my opinion as I see it fit.

By: J. Vanier Harrigan
Anguilla Festival Coordinator – 2010-2011


  1. Words well spoken, and if the government won't thank you chairmans enough...i will. Keep up the good work and my family and i say THANKS for all the extremely hard work put it.

  2. Vanier Harrigan is an outrageous ass. And he knows it. Surprised to see him involved in anything good.


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