21 May, 2007

Colonialism 1

The British are coming. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has announced that their team in the negotiations with Anguilla over constitutional reform will visit Anguilla in July. When they come, they will be prepared. They will have done their research. They will have analysed the Anguilla situation. They will have a perspective on who we are and where we are going. They will have a pretty good idea of what they think will be best for Anguilla. What are we doing to prepare ourselves to talk to them?

Anguilla is one of Britain’s last remaining colonies. Colonialism is new to Anguilla. In the period prior to Slave Emancipation in 1834, Anguilla was not officially treated as a British colony. Not that we were repudiated. We were simply ignored and left to rot by ourselves. With the coming of Emancipation, the British realized it was time to impose a form of administration on Anguilla. This was necessary if the Slave Registration and subsequent Abolition and Apprenticeship Acts were to be properly implemented. There was no administrative structure in Anguilla to implement the great enterprise. To achieve this, we were persuaded to give up our previous unlawful status and to accept administration from St Kitts. So, we might never have been a proper colony of Britain. We became a colony of a colony.

This unsatisfactory status lasted until 1967. In May of that year we threw off the yoke of St Kitts rule. We raised the rebel flag: the Union Jack. As St Kitts advanced into associated status with Britain, we opted for direct British rule. It was only in 1982 when St Kitts moved on to full independence that she agreed to give us up, and we were to finally able "achieve" full colonial status. The argument for such reactionary language is that sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward. Well, the British are coming to see how we are walking. Are we ready for them?


  1. You ask if we are ready for them. Who is this "we"? Alla we? They're not coming, as I understand it, to meet with alla we but with our elected representatives, who seem to be prepared to tell them that they want to retain the power to nominate people of the competence of Samuel Connor or the ethical questionability of Keesha Webster to the House of Assembly. This ignores the fact that the Constitutional Commission's report, reflecting the wishes of the people, recommends replacing nominated members with those chosen island-wide.

    Are we ready to stand outside while those on the inside discuss how they wish to rule us? Stupid me, I thought we had elected them to represent us, not themselves.

  2. It seems like Osborne, Victor, and Hubert have team up on this. Eddie, Neil, and Belto say they going along. Are they really serious? Do they have any vision for where we are going? Are they ready to take on the British? Do they know what the issues are? If not, have they begun to take advice? You should know. Why don’t you tell us?

  3. I'm not sure if they're "taking on the British" or taking on us, the people. British interests won't be affected one way or the other by this issue. It's more a matter of democratic rights and who holds power - our elected leaders or we the people.

    The Constitutional Commission's report is clear on this issue. Victor and Hubert have been equally clear. I'm sure the British delegation will read the report. I hope they will require a good reason for over-riding the wishes of the people. So far, the only reason I've heard is that it will allow for people with special expertese to be added to the House. After wasting this authority on people like the Rev John A Gumbs and Samuel Connor, this is hard to take seriously. And if, from time to time, members wish the advice of some professional, they already have the power to summon such people to the House, as they did a few months ago with the Director of Financial Services, to discuss complex issues.

    Justice Mitchell was Chairman of the Commission. Their job was to present recommendations based on the expressed wishes of the people. They have completed their job and done so with admirable professionalism. I'm not sure it's fair of us to ask Mr. Mitchell to play two different roles in the same matter, and I'm not sure it would be ethical for him to do so. Colville Petty has expressed himself clearly on this issue, both in his newspaper column and at one or more public meetings. Nothing more need be said, but more people need to hear and understand his message.

    The writer asks if our representatives know what the issues are. They clearly understand the present issue. It is about taking power that they already have and giving it to the people. It is clear they won't let go of this power unless forced to do so. All other arguments are rubbish.

  4. The Elected Reps are deliberately not making their views known to the people because their minds are already made up. I heard that the majority of them are against At- Large seats because that will only allow the more educated to get elected. I also heard they are in favour of making the Valley four districts. I am not against this but the electoral boundaries must not appear to be gerrymandering.

    I say get rid of the nominated members and allow At -Large seats so capable Anguillians who are competent,popular and who may not have a big family can be elected to the House.

    Elected Reps on At-Large Seats

    Hon Hubert Hughes - British Plot!

    Hon Albert Hughes - British plot!

    Hon Eddison Baird - It serves Special Interest Groups.

    Hon Victor Banks - We not ready for this.

    Hon MCNeil Rogers - It doesn't matter to me.

    Hon Osbourne Fleming - Victor, what you think?

    Hon Kenneth Harrigan - Wha educated people.

  5. i think we should be unanimous in our approach towards the british.Our leaders should know what we want as a people and take that forward to the British.


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