Books about Anguilla


Sunday, 11 May 2014



The AUM grand spectacle on Saturday May 3, 2014 -
listen here
As this election campaign progresses we the Members of the Anguilla United Front do not intend to allow lies and loose comments from our opponents to go unattended. We intend to respond swiftly so as to ensure that such misinformation does not become a determining factor in the choices voters make in the next general election. It is my sincere wish that first time candidates, especially, will not get caught up in the style of negative politics that seems to have become a “best practice” for some members of the Anguilla United Movement. However, the AUM launch on Saturday May 3, 2014 did not lend much hope to the realization of such a wish. On the contrary, a number of platform speakers gave us a clear indication that the AUM has no intention of assisting us in “raising the bar” in politics any time soon.

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the AUM “ first time candidates”, in particular, for making the decision to take the plunge in national politics. You have embarked on a journey that will put your “mettle” to the test. Politics is certainly not an avocation for the timid --- yet it calls for compassion and caring. Anguilla needs committed and dedicated men and women equipped to be leaders in the twenty-first century. Much is expected of you in victory as well as defeat. Let us raise the bar!

I do not intend to do a post mortem of the Anguilla United Movement’s launch in this presentation but I do feel duty bound to respond to a few of the many statements and recurring themes that were designed and formulated to distort reality. For example my representative, the Honourable Evan Gumbs suggested that now that he is in Government he has the facts to substantiate allegations that they make in the House of Assembly and other platforms about the past Government, including myself. I therefore challenge Mr. Gumbs and his colleagues in the Anguilla United Movement to present and publish those facts for the people of Anguilla to examine and finally bring closure to the suspense that surrounds these baseless accusations. We will not allow the AUM to continue to use these false statements to create a cloud of suspicion over members of our party. It is time “to put up or shut up”. 

Like many of the others, one speaker on the platform gave an expose’ about how well the Government has been managing the affairs of Anguilla. In his presentation one of the things he said was that the Government is doing so well that it has EC$29 million in reserves. He then, as usual, proceeded to judge the Anguilla United Front Government on the basis of our last eighteen months in office in total disregard to the many years of growth and prosperity we delivered based on our policies.

But since this AUM Government came to office all we have been hearing about is taxation and expenditure controls. Taxation and expenditure management are only two sides of the development equation. That equation has many sides. And one of the most important is private sector investment --- be it local investment or foreign direct investment, both are critical. It is time for the Government to direct the FCO’s attention away from “taxing a dead economy”. We should be asking the FCO to direct us to their Department of Trade and Commerce so as to help us to design programs to attract qualified British and European investors for a number of our failed projects or provide financing for qualified local projects.

Instead the AUM Government is talking about surpluses and reserves while people are losing jobs and business opportunities; banks are foreclosing on mortgages and people are losing their homes and property; the island is rationing water; there are many homes and families without electricity; there has been little in the way of infrastructure development for almost four years; and people are unable to meet their medical expenses. The island cannot be doing well no matter how neat the columns in our budget looks when our people are experiencing these dire situations.

The AUM deconstructionism of Anguilla -
Hubert Hughes, Josephine Gumbs-Connor
Jerome Roberts, Walcott Rchardson,
Haydn Hughes and Evan Gumbs
Before this economic downturn in 2008 our budget was doing great but in addition our United Front Government was able to deliver EC$ 70 million in road construction; 9 million in school construction; 13 million in seaport development; 60 million in training; 20 million in land acquisition for the future; 70 million in airport expansion and relocation; and 65 million in reserves just to name a few areas. That is a total of almost EC$300 million in direct public sector development. But in addition, we were able to attract almost a billion US dollars in foreign direct investment. All this was not achieved by accident --- it was by a studied approach designed to grow the economy. Because of this increased economic activity we were able to meet our recurrent expenditure and generate massive surpluses without raising taxes. 

To go a step further the surplus referred to is basically a surplus on paper because that entire amount could be wiped out if Government were to pay its public servants the over thirty million EC dollars owed to them and pay up ANGLEC’s outstanding bills of over EC$12 million. So in actual fact there is nothing to boast about and they are simply comparing “apples to oranges”. 

They also spoke about “meeting the Treasury empty”. For the benefit of listeners who can visualize the Treasury safe being opened and totally empty --- that is a situation that occurs on a daily basis. The money goes to the Bank daily. And the Government collects money every day. Yet this Government continues to paint pictures of past Ministers of Government running away with the money out of the Treasury. They should understand by now that the same recession that they met was the conditions that the past Government had been working under for eighteen months before the election. So this charade about meeting the Treasury empty is a dangerous half-truth that many persons fell for after the election and which the AUM seems to want to use again to fire up its base of supporters. 

Another recurring topic was the public debt. Members of the platform continue to give the impression that this Government no longer has any debt. May I point out that at the end of our term the total public debt stood at EC$191 million and today it stands at EC$231million. That is forty million dollars more than when we demitted office. And to make matters worse this figure does not include the EC$30 million owed to civil servants and the EC$12 million owed to ANGLEC. So in actual fact the present public debt can be as high asEC$272 million. In this same vein one of the “first time” platform speakers said that the country is better off today than it was four years ago. To my mind to make such a statement is an insult to the intelligence of persons in the listening audience who have not worked for years; do not have electricity and water; or has lost his property. It is also fair to question where that particular individual was for the last four years.

AUM - The Tree... the remnants of a British
 Overseas Territory last political disgrace
Yet another recurrent theme was “not just for a few”. This term was widely used, by all the speakers probably as code for “the elite”. It is time that the AUM be reminded that the only time that almost 90 % of the population benefitted from our economy was in the AUF boom years 2003 - 2008. Today it is obvious that the majority of the jobs in the construction sector are managed “by a few”. It is time that the AUM moves away from this divisive concept of “ the few” and begin to create an atmosphere of unity and access for all to the Anguilla Dream.

Finally, the attendance at the AUM launch was spiked by the fact that persons from across party lines came to find answers to at least two questions, namely, who will be running in Road South and who will lead the party in the upcoming election. Naturally, with the seemingly convenient absence of the Chief Minister at the official launch of his own party these questions led to other questions and much speculation. Is there a struggle for the leadership among members of the AUM? Is Haydn actually the candidate for Road South or will Hubert eventually sneak in? Truth be told --- this AUM Launch has left us more questions than answers.

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.

1 comment:

  1. what mr bank fail to put in this timely piece ,is how much money was left in the kitty up to the time of leaving office. it would be balance if he can to that to enlighten the populous.


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