Books about Anguilla


Sunday, 28 June 2015


Immigration/Customs A Serious Concern - Anguillians Harassed, Dignitaries Passports withheld!

Nonreciprocity (bestowed on British Overseas Territories' citizens) - 
other than condoned citizenship "discrimination"... what does the term 
means?  "Constitutional Ignorance and/or Institutional Racism"?
Anguillians living in St. Martin/St. Maarten have expressed frustration over the continued difficulty they have at the Blowing Port of entry. The Immigration and Customs seem to follow extraordinary adherence to set protocol, according to which officers are in place at a particular time of the day. Many Anguillians coming home continue to be harassed because of what is deemed insufficient training or deliberate attempts to exercise extraordinary authority at the port. For instance, Anguillians residing in St. Martin having a French passport are often subjected to filling out immigration forms and are given time to stay on the island, while most pass ports show place of birth. In other instances, born Anguillians with a St. Martin’s spouse, and family members, even with Be-longer status are often subjected to extra scrutiny and harassment; in some cases, getting a new passport to which the Be-longer status may not yet be stamped, the officer seems to want to deny entry. In one incident, the Officer was asked if records within her computer system would not be able to confirm this, if by co-incidence the person in question did not travel with the old passport. It was surprising to know that there was no functioning system at the port that could assist in such cases.

British Overseas Territories whilst under the sovereignty of the United 
Kingdom, continue to maintain their own rules regarding immigration
requirements different from the visa policy of the United Kingdom. 
Anguilla has a minimum visa-free stay from “zero” to a maximum of 3 
months granted to holders  of British, and all European Union citizens 
pass port holders alike  however, brands European Citizenship status, 
with expected rights and courtesies when travelling.
Another very important note of concern, during the inauguration ceremony at the House of Assembly when the newly elected Government was sworn in, invited guests, born Anguillians and dignitaries from St Maarten/ St. Martin were all subjected to extraordinary immigration enforcement while attempting to enter the island for the ceremony. In what was considered unfortunate, officials from Dutch and French St. Maarten felt unwelcomed or subdued when their passports were withheld by a supervising immigration officer. Because of this, it was clearly noticed that on June 1st when Anguilla Day was officially celebrated, no St. Maarten / St. Martin officials were present.

Similar cases are reported of actions taken by Customer Officers at the port. Coming over on the week end prior to the Anguilla Day celebrations one custom’s officer in particular, seemed to be quite vigilant in subjecting us to extraordinary scrutiny. The officer appears well equipped in her function, but also appears very overzealous asking, if you have anything to declare, we answered “no, we are over to go to church and the Anguilla Day events”, she hesitated then said, “can you put your bags on the counter?” and asked us to open them up, we complied. At one point the officer asked, “Why do you have so much clothes just for the week end? Here is where I thought the officer was intrusive and out of control, while she was digging deep into the suitcase, I had several pieces of dry cleaned clothing in the usual plastic covering, and I asked the officer to be careful, they are dry cleaned clothes. She asked don’t you have anything new? Then she asked my wife to open her bag, she again repeated her observation, “Why would you bring some much clothes just for the week end?” Well, I flipped at that point and said, “You know, I’m coming home, and I have the right to bring as much clothes as I wish, and further, you don’t sound like you are from here!” Then she flipped, she turned to me and my wife and said, “Whether I sound like I’m from here or not has nothing to do with me doing my job!” I responded by saying, “and if I’m coming home where I’m from, I don’t expect a foreigner to be harassing me this much, I just want to go home!” By that she understood that I was actually a born Anguillian, just coming home, heading to “the suburbs;” Island Harbour.

She got the message, and she said you can go! My daughter was in the parking lot waiting, as I entered the car, here comes a lady with one shoe, smiling, she said, “the officer asked me to give you this shoe, you did her just right!” Then here came a gentleman, who was in line behind me, stuck his hand out, shuck my hand and said “great, that was great!” Now these two incidents happened to me, but just hours prior, my younger daughter arrived at the port and was subjected to similar questions; why so much clothes? What’s in that bag? etc. and immigration gave her one day to stay on the island as a St. Martiner. In many instances this kind of enforcement is necessary, and is commendable that officers would endeavor to carry out their duties with precision and good effort; it also does not matter where the officer may be from if best qualified. Certainly the best qualified person would demonstrate best skills and best custody of such sensitive duties. Then we learned that this officer is a troubled soul who has been moved from port to port because of a steady stream of contention with arriving passengers and even her colleagues. At the blowing Point port may not be the most suitable place for such an officer.

EU Overseas Countries and Teritories (OCT),
and Outer Most Regions (OMR)
The newly elected government got a solid reporting on this two weeks ago, when they returned to St. Martin to say thank you to the Anguillian-St. Martin Community. Several persons stood up and complained of the embarrassment and frustration they endure at the Blowing Point port, and asked government to do something about it. Here is where Government learned, or was told how the officials they invited to the island on the day of the inauguration were treated at the port, several persons in this meeting travelled to the island for the occasion and were subjected to the conditions applied. One gentleman said he had to advise the officer to look carefully at his past port, “I am a born Anguillian.” In said meeting a particular supervising immigration officer who appears to have a habit of over controlling was singled out; ironically, this was the same officer who handled my wife for her Be-longer status, and when I sent her to her back office to review her computer system for the information; there was no computer and no system with such information at the modern Anguilla port at Blowing Point.

In this meeting, my cases were not brought up, but one person indicated, this immigration officer is well known for what might be termed misuse of authority, subjecting, in so many instances Anguillians to unnecessary treatment at the port.

Speak Truth to power

By: Elliot J. Harrigan

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