Wednesday, 2 January 2013
By Anguilla's Chief Minister in response to allegations of a 'breach of protocol'
1 January 2013
On December 9th, 2012, Mr. Elliott Harrigan writing under the name, Ej Harri Sxm posted an article on the social media site, Facebook. In this article, he made a number of false claims and other allegations which had to be addressed as they pertain to the Ministry which both a close relative of his and me are co-workers, as team players.
NOTE by The Real Patty: Hubert's Ministry, other than being Chief Minister, includes Finance, Economic Development and Tourism. I don't know who this close relative is, but it's unclear to me why this should motivate Hubert to respond to Elliot's allegations when he's ignored so many allegations and questions from others. Do I have to have a close relative on the inside to get my questions asked?
In his opening paragraph, Mr. Harrigan wrote that the Government of Anguilla failed to comply with its contractual obligations by renewing the representative in New York’s contract according to the stipulated terms. This he claimed cost the people of Anguilla in excess of US$350,000 which he ascribed to as a matter of fact. The contract for the North American representative did expire and the moneys paid to the representative were back payments due in the normal course of doing business, quite contrary to the outlandish and falsified claims of Mr. Harrigan.
To lend some clarity, the Ministry of Tourism embarked on a Caribbean Development Bank financed, Sustainable Tourism Master Plan in 2010 that would map out the development of Anguilla through its tourism industry over the period, 2010 to 2020. This Master plan was endorsed by the people of Anguilla, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office through, His Excellency the Governor, the Government of Anguilla and the Caribbean Development Bank. It was handed over to the Governor and Chief Minister on October 1, 2011 by Halcrow Consultancy in the Executive Council Chambers and was approved in EXCO as the official Tourism Master Plan for Anguilla. Working groups were put together and a number of staff in the Ministry has been working on the same ever since then.
A request for proposal was sent out to companies desirous of representing Anguilla in this important North American market. Forty seven responses came to the Ministry. All responses were sent to the technical staff in the Ministry of Tourism. None were sent or copied to any members of the political directorate as to protect the integrity of the process. On December 4, 2012, the Parliamentary Secretary was informed by way of email that four companies were shortlisted for interviewing on December 12, 2012, one of which is the present North American Representative. The contract for the North American Representative was extended to ensure that during the period of selection, Anguilla will have a presence in the USA. It is a fallacy to suggest that there were major liabilities, or any liabilities for that matter, regarding this matter and more so, that the Government was forced to extend the existing contract for a period of three months because as Mr. Harrigan claimed, “negotiations to recruit new representatives to manage this office had not been even initiated”. We must also note that during the time of the interviewing, members of the political directorate were at Parliament debating the budget for 2013.
NOTE: While explaining the use of the $350,000, Hubert reveals that insufficient action was taken to ensure that this very important contract was renewed or replaced when it expired. Why was this so mishandled? They don't have a calendar? Or they have one but don't know how to use it? Or maybe it was in the shop for service.
MORE NOTE: This reminds me of the Corito landfill management contract that was mishandled in a similar way. No renewal contract or new contract was in place when the old one ended, Eddie's Ministry refused to extend the contract on a temporary basis, the contractor went home, garbage piled up and flies covered the earth like The End Times were upon us. Perhaps Eddie's calendar was mashup, I don't know.
FURTHER NOTE: What the North American tourism office contract has to do with the Sustainable Tourism Master Plan, or how this "lends some clarity" to ATB's mismanagement, is unclear to me. I rather think it's included just to confuse and distract us.
In his article, Mr. Harrigan claimed a second report. In this report, Mr. Harrigan made even more ridiculous claims that are void of any semblance of facts. To that end, we have copied Mr. Harrigan’s article to the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Tourism through the policy advisor in the Ministry of Justice in St. Maarten.
NOTE: It's unclear to me why these St. Maarten agencies care what a St. Maarten resident thinks or says about Anguilla governance matters. Is there some reasonable purpose in trying to involve their Ministry of Justice? I take this to actually mean the Dutch side police, prosecutors or immigration.
Mr. Harrigan made a claim that the Anguilla docking facility was developed due to the failed talks with the St. Maarten Government to establish an Anguillian Immigration service at Juliana Airport. This is a total untruth, to put it mildly, and a miscarriage of the facts.
NOTE: Someone is definitely lying to us. See the Daily Herald article below.
The discussion that was initiated between the Anguilla Tourist Board and representatives from the Government of Anguilla with the Government of St. Maarten after consultation with the Executive Council which gave the initiative its full blessings. The discussions were related to consolidation of St. Maarten Immigration and the port facility to reduce or remove the prolong delays and complaints from our visitors to Anguilla.
One of the areas the Ministry was also keen to reinstate was a late ferry service to capture the Tourists who would have been too late to make the connecting service to their final destination. This situation caused both the visitor and hotel to lose at least one room night with staff losing service charge and Government of Anguilla losing accommodation tax. All of this was agreed upon. Neither the Government representatives in the meeting nor those representing the Anguilla Tourist board ever requested Anguillian Immigration to be established in St. Maarten. The Government of St. Maarten and the Manager of Princess Julianna International Airport also indicated that they will eventually take over the entire area inclusive of the area where the ‘Anguilla dock’ is located but they will ensure that Anguilla is included in whatever development is to be done.
Mr. Harrigan’s claims did not take into account the Anguilla Tourist Board Act which gives the Board the authority and freedom to enter into contracts and make decisions and is no different to any of the many other Government statutory boards such as the Health Authority, the Port Authority, the water authority, the Social Security Board or any other agency. The Government of Anguilla have never micro managed these boards and the various acts gives them the authority to run their day to day affairs although there is a fiduciary responsibility to Government. This is why audits are taken seriously.
NOTE: I'm glad to know this. How can a member of the public get to see these annual audit reports? Why is the most recent Financial Statement for Social Security for the year 2005? http://www.ssbai.com/Reports/ASSB05FS%5B1%5D.pdf
Why has Hubert's Ministry denied us access to the annual reports of the Chief Auditor?
In his conclusion, Mr. Harrigan made the claim that there are no checks and balances. This claim does not take into account the Public Accounts Committee, the Permanent Secretary Finance and his team that monitors the financial position of Government on a daily basis and conducts weekly financial meetings, budgeting and the fact that for the past two years, Government of Anguilla has recorded budgetary surpluses.
NOTE: When did the Public Accounts Committee last meet? What did it do and where can we read its agendas and minutes?
Will the PS Finance assist us in getting access to the reports of the Chief Auditor?
Government of Anguilla now has in excess of EC$28 million in reserves, a feat of which only came during the boom years and were exhausted by end of 2008.
NOTE: Victor claims the reserve fund wasn't exhausted until after the 2010 election. Both of these conflicting stories can't be true.
To claim that this was done in secret is outlandish and does not take into account the many press releases regarding the same, the pronouncements by the Anguilla Tourist Board, the Parliamentary Secretary and His Excellency the Governor.
NOTE: Good. Where can we see the Minutes of the secret ATB meetings, their Annual Reports and their detailed annual Financial Statements?
The cost and decision behind this initiative was discussed with the Parliamentary Secretary on a radio and TV program hosted by former Permanent Secretary Marcel Fahie and Miss Deane Rogers. This in itself demonstrates transparency and to claim that the Government did not want the people to know is most ridiculous.
NOTE: So those of us who missed that radio programme are outa luck?
His claims that these decisions of the Anguilla Tourist Board, endorsed by Executive Council is callus and unscrupulous is most unfortunate. This decision was made by the professionals in the Anguilla Tourist Board many of them, have long standing stature in the industry. This decision was also endorsed by the AHTA which represents over 100 owners of restaurants, Villas and Hotels on island and it was made in the open.
NOTE: So AHTA has all the numbers and Hubert is now authorising them to make all this detail public?
On the same social media, the Permanent Secretary Tourism and the Parliamentary Secretary can be heard speaking of the St. Maarten dock on a recent trip to the same. The Ministry has also asked for a full accounting of the money spent on the dock and this in itself shows the level of scrutiny and accountability regarding financial matters.
NOTE: My concern is not that the Ministry have these numbers, but that the people does.
This is extremely opposite to the culture where no such scrutiny or accountability can be stated regarding the airport expansion.
NOTE: That's true. And neither the AUF nor the AUM will make these numbers public. Eddie made a big deal about these costs before the election, but suddenly seemed to have lost all interest on Election Day and has gone silent.
It must be noted that 13% of our travelers enter and Government spent in excess of eighty million ($80 million) dollars.
NOTE: Could you repeat that please in English?
It is most unfortunate that Mr. Harrigan would use the democratic process to pen so much deliberate misleading and misconstrued immaterial, irrelevant and incompetent melee. One must question if this is just partisan politics or serious concerns. Whatever it is, the Government of Anguilla and the Anguilla Tourist Board have operated within the law and have been totally open and transparent on this and other matters of state affairs.
NOTE: Glad to know of this sudden reversal in policy. What time tomorrow can I pick up the Chief Auditor's reports?
Chief Minister and Minister of Finance & Tourism
The Daily Herald
Reed against immigration from St. Barths, Anguilla at airport
Tuesday, 15 March 2011 00:43
~ Sees idea as Duncan's 'declaration of incompetence'
AIRPORT--Windward Islands Civil Servants Union/Private Sector Union (WICSU/PSU) President William Reed has expressed shock and dismay at Justice Minister Roland Duncan's support for placing Immigration officers from Anguilla and St. Barths at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA).
Reed, whose union represents local Immigration officers, told The Daily Herald on Monday that placing foreign officers at PJIA would be irresponsible and a slap in the face of local Immigration officers.
"WICSU/PSU sees this announcement by the Justice Minister as a declaration of incompetence on his behalf," Reed said, asking whether Duncan would have a Justice Minister from another country sit beside him to execute his duties.
"What you don't want for yourself you don't get for yourself. This is not a Mickey Mouse country that everyone can go to the Minister of Justice and he jumps up. We will either deal with the country in a serious manner or the chips may fall where they may. If he has a department and he can't handle it, then he is incompetent."
Duncan said recently that Anguilla and St. Barths authorities had requested government's permission to place their Immigration officers at PJIA, a cooperation he said he supported 100 per cent, as it was in keeping with St. Maarten position as a hub destination.
Reed said supporting such a position because St. Maarten was a hub was "hogwash." He continued: "Puerto Rico is a hub, but they don't bring in Immigration from all over the place. Barbados is also a hub, but you don't see them bringing in Immigration officers from all over. The Minister has to take care of his departments in a rational manner and stop playing Heckle and Jeckle from here to there.
"The Justice Department is not the property of the Minister of Justice. He is there to manage it and I think when these sensitive requests are made they should be handled more discreetly to give all players the opportunity to look at these demands and look at the situation in a more rational manner, instead of going and making it public and immediately endorsing it.
"Accepting or making this declaration that he endorses the request from St. Barths and Anguilla is a declaration of incompetence, because he should ensure that he can bring his department up to par to handle the situation, instead of outsourcing to third parties."
[Several paragraphs of unrelated stuff about PJIA operations deleted]
Duncan had said last week Wednesday and again on Radio Soualiga 99.9FM over the weekend that Anguilla's Minister of Infrastructure and Home Affairs and a delegation had met with him earlier in the week with the request, and St. Barths had made its request earlier. He said he would be taking the proposal to the Council of Ministers this week.
Duncan had said the Anguillian authorities had identified several "problem" areas such as the "lack of full service" to the people who pass through St. Maarten en route to Anguilla. In outlining the tedious process these travellers face, Duncan had said the visitors were subjected to multiple Immigration checks. He said St. Maarten was a tourist island and it needed to be able to take measures.
He said he had started discussions for the expansion of the Immigration area at the airport to accommodate the additional Immigration officers. "We are looking at a situation where we may even end up having three sets of Immigration at the airport. It may sound big, but [it is, ed.] in keeping with [our, ed.] role as a hub," he had said last week Wednesday in the meeting of the Central Committee of Parliament.
By: The Real Patty
Posted by Realist Spikenice at 18:41