Books about Anguilla


Thursday, 1 May 2014


An Open Letter to the Chief Minister

In 1989, Statchel Warner, then an Anguilla National
Alliance (ANA) candidate disclosed, at a political
meeting, that Hubert Hughes was not well – that
 he was suffering “from verbal diarrhea” -
otherwise known as "constantly chatting Shit"! 
Dear Mr. Hughes, 

I listened to a clip of your presentation in the Anguilla House of Assembly on Monday April 28, 2014 and I was amazed that as the most senior Member of the House, both in terms of age and service, you continue to believe that the only way to advance yourself in politics is to destroy your opponents --- “ by any means necessary”. The means that you have used most liberally, over the years that I have known you in politics, is the “LIE”. You seem to have absolutely no qualms about lying about anything or anybody --- simply to enhance your image. You have found a way to denigrate any youngster offering himself/herself for political office in Anguilla if they do not appear to support you. Many an aspiring politician has been intimidated and terrorized by your fabrications and defamatory statements.

On the subject of your LIES I speak from experience having taken legal action against you on several occasions. In response you have apologized for and admitted to several counts of lies. The letter and audiotape of your confessions as a liar will be available shortly on the AUF Website for the public to read and listen to.

Even as I write to you today there is yet another “letter before action” to be sent to you in a defamation matter against Osbourne Fleming; Evans McNiel Rogers; Kenneth Harrigan; Eric Reid; and myself, Victor Banks, for statements you made when you appeared on the radio program “On the Spot!” aired on Klass FM (92.9) on September 13, 2013. My colleagues and I in the past Anguilla United Front Government have taken this joint action in the interest of dissuading young and aspiring politicians from following this shameful path.

... 80+ year old Anguillian Chief Minister is said to contest
next general elections to pay for LIES!
Mr. Hughes, it is my understanding that you have decided that at the end of this term you will no longer seek political office. At the age of 80 I would consider this to be a sensible decision, despite the fact that you seem to be in excellent physical condition. You are indeed blessed in this regard. Yet, it is also in this regard that I am concerned that you seem content to be leaving a legacy of lies; defamation; and character assassination. Most discerning Anguillans consider this to be the style of politics that you have embraced over the years. But few Anguillans hold this style of politics in high regard. From your presentation it is apparent that you have no intention of changing that style even down to your last day of office. 

As usual the essence of your presentation on Monday was to find a way to place me in the way of blame so as to exonerate yourself. And as usual you again exploited the shelter of parliamentary privilege in the House to deliver a cowardly stream of lies to the listening audience. You constructed that litany of lies, in order to blame others for the severe damage you and your Government caused to the Water Production and Distribution System in Anguilla since coming to Office. The situation of water in Anguilla is worse than at any period since the Anguilla Revolution and the blame must be placed squarely on the incompetence of your Government. You because of your unwillingness to negotiate effectively with GE, the Water Producers in Crocus Bay, have allowed that plant to be dismantled and shipped out of Anguilla without a viable alternative. To make matters worse there are letters signed by you indicating your willingness to lease the said lands for tourism development without any clear provisions made to secure the infrastructure for future water production. If this is followed through, your actions will negatively impact the provision of water services to the people of Anguilla for many years to come. Mr.Hughes you cannot blame this on any other Government but your Government of the last four years. This is your baby! It has your DNA! 

Mr. Hughes, I must admit that my first response to your cowardly and lying comments in the House of Assembly on Monday was ANGER. However, as you continued to expand on your lies; your response to the Leader of the Opposition’s challenge that you should present the documentation and repeat your comments outside the shelter of parliament evoked PITY. 

Mr. Hughes for ease of reference let me quote the statement you made in the House of Assembly. After establishing clearly that you were speaking about me you said: 

On 25th August 1986, the Hon. Eric Reid, then Minister 
of Health and Lands, landed a powerful left hook to then 
Opposition Leader Hubert Hughes' head, for LIES, in the 
House of Assembly, throwing him flat to the floor. He 
was disoriented  for a while but recovered shortly after
with some assistance. 
“….. that same Minister of Finance, documents came from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he put, he demanded that certain amount of extra money be put on to the unit of water --- it was supposed to be 2.5 he said put on an extra 1.5 “For the kickbacks!” That comes from the Foreign Office --- all those documentations are there, where the former Minister of Finance at the time he was negotiating with this company for kickbacks. ---- 2.5 and 1.5extra.” 

Mr. Hughes this is the first time that you have made an accusation about me and have been so specific. You said: “ he said put on an extra 1.5 for the kickbacks” In this context, even though you have said it from the shelter of the House of Assembly I take this accusation very seriously. I also took note of the fact that after you were challenged by the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Evans McNiel Rogers to produce the documentation to the House you remarked: “the only politics you all can do is to go to the High Court and intimidate people” . It is obvious from this statement that you feel that it is all right to slander and defame others --- but you believe that those persons do not have the right to defend themselves and seek justice in the judicial system. You seem to consider that defending oneself against slander and defamation is intimidation. It is obvious Chief Minister that you don’t quite get it! If you defame anyone he/she has the right to sue you! If anything it is the defamer should be considered the intimidator. 

Chief Minister I believe that you have forgotten, conveniently perhaps, that when the Water Plant was commissioned it was under your Government. Any allegations of the nature you described therefore do not make sense. How could a Minister in your Government have the power to overrule you and Executive Council (EXCO) and demand “kickbacks”? How can a Minister of your Government travel to New York and sign an agreement with an international firm without the approval of EXCO and you, Chief Minister? Chief Minister you were obviously not in control of your own Government! You must take the blame for that --- not your Minister!

To further emphasize your point Chief Minister you declared: “those facts are at the Foreign Office. The Foreign Office knows that here is a Minister who has been demanding setbacks.” Obviously, Mr. Hughes you destroyed your own credibility by claiming that the British Government is aware of the Minister’s behaviour and is not doing anything about it. Here you have a Minister in your Government demanding kickbacks and the FCO has never asked neither you nor your Minister of Finance a question about the matter? And four years after that Minister has demitted office no one can produce any documents to expose him and bring him to account?

How could you Chief Minister, who is always ready to destroy your opponents, have misplaced such a damaging piece of evidence? It is clear to me that you were ambushed by the Opposition’s attack of the AUM’s mishandling of the Water project in the House and hurriedly put together another one of your lies to shift the blame to me --- your favorite target. I would like to suggest that on this occasion this can only be categorized as a ridiculous lie --- it doesn’t even make sense.

Mr. Victor F. Banks
Fortunately, for you Chief Minister you have been sheltered by “ parliamentary privilege.” But then you already knew that --- which is why you continue to tell LIES in the House of Assembly. Like the Leader of the Opposition I also challenge you to make those statement in the public domain. And to present the documents regarding these charges to the Opposition and other interested parties. In fact, since you have also implicated the Foreign Office, I must also request that she presents any of the documents to which you referred. 

Chief Minister, I have chosen to send you this open letter because I must point out to the people of Anguilla that there is no sure way to the truth through the shelter of the House of Assembly. And that from henceforth through to its dissolution the House will be used as a safe place to lie with impunity. It is an excellent place Chief Minister, for the AUM’s campaign of LIES. Obviously, to use your own words, I will not be able to “intimidate” you with a suit for the lies you told on Monday.

However, Chief Minister might I on the eve of your departure from politics appeal to your sense of posterity and urge you to explain to your colleagues in the AUM as I have to mine in the Anguilla United Front that parliamentary privilege was not conceived so as to create an arena where there is “no holds barred.” On the contrary the concept of “parliamentary privilege” was devised to protect members when they make fair and honest statements rather than to allow them to make unfair and malicious ones. It was devised to encourage freedom in discussing complex issues rather than granting freedom to deliberately distort the facts. It was devised to encourage democracy rather than to stifle freedom of expression. In short parliamentary privilege is not to facilitate lies but rather to evoke the truth. 

Chief Minister, when I was expressing my frustration with the way parliamentary privilege is abused a good friend said to me: “You know the fact that parliamentarians are called “Honourable” should make them more honest, courteous and accountable while in the House than anywhere else. Why should someone be telling lies and defaming his colleagues in an Honourable House?” Why? Why Indeed!

By: Mr. Victor F. Banks
Victor Banks is a former Finance, Economics, Commerce and Tourism Minister of Government on Anguilla. He is the leader of the Opposition Anguilla United Front Party, writer and author of a weekly political article for The Anguillian News Paper, lyricist, philanthropist and a self-employed entrepreneur.

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