16 May, 2007

Politicians 4

Constitutional Reform. Cockroach na gat right near fowl house (Antiguan proverb)

Our Constitution is modeled on that of the British. The British constitution is said to be “unwritten”. The greater part of it is not in a law or statute. They have traditions and conventions that are binding on British government and society. These unwritten conventions are as legally effective as if they were in a written constitution. They have been at it for a thousand years. By contrast, our Anguillian democracy is forty years old. That is no time at all. Our Constitution is too new to have had the time to develop binding conventions and traditions. We have few if any conventions that can override or amplify a written provision. We need something fundamentally different from what we have at present. We need a Constitution with workable mechanisms in place that can be put into effect immediately one of our politicians is discovered in a high crime or misdemeanor. That is what the Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commissioners recommended in their Report of 25 August 2006. Let us hope their recommendations can be improved on. Let us hope they are implemented. We need detailed protective measures in our Constitution. We have to have it all in writing. Nothing must be left to good sense and gentlemanly behaviour.

If Anguillians feel strongly enough about the need to provide for greater democracy and transparency and balance in the way we are governed, now is the time for us to insist on it. Do we want to continue with the same weak and spineless Constitution? That is the model found in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. They are all either failed states or states on the edge of failure. We would not want to live in any of those countries, would we?


  1. The Commission's report represents the expressed wishes of the people, but there are indications that what our leaders will take to London will embody their wish to retain as much power to themselves as possible. Who will represent the people in London?

    The most obvious example is the Commission's recommondation to do away with nominated members, while Victor and Hubert want them appointed, one by government and the other by the opposition.

    Victor's bogus excuse is that it will allow for persons with special expertise to be appointed. If such expertise is required, any person can be called to the House to discuss whatever members wish to learn about. There is no need to appoint such persons for five years or give them voting rights. As Colville Petty rightly points out, this is anti-democratic. It deprives the people of two votes in the House and gives them to those who already have a vote. The result is "one man two votes." This is wrong. If Victor needs a next vote that bad, he could start by getting Neil to show up for work.

  2. We've all heard stories about government staff going off to conferences and spending the whole time shopping and chatting up women instead of attending the scheduled events. Where Stanley be?


    "Public sector reform was on the agenda for the latest G6 Forum of Deputy Governors and Chief Secretaries which took place on 9 and 10 May at the Grand Cayman Courtyard Marriott.

    "Senior officials from the Turks and Caicos, Bermuda, Montserrat, and the UK met with Cayman Islands Acting Governor and Chief Secretary George McCarthy for the two–day conference."

    It was earlier announced that Anguilla would be represented at this forum, but he appears to have gone off to points unknown. Aidan Harrigan was Acting Deputy Governor in the House of Assembly yesterday. Where Stanley be? Has he got a girlfriend somewhere? Has he defected to a next country?

  3. It is evident that persons can be an additionin the house with special qualifications, eg yesterday Ms Webster contributed positively to the house, she was exemplanary,both nominated members but she moved the contribution. I agree though with Mr Petty that this is anti-democratic, because nothing is done fairly, most times appointments to positions are done based on party affiliations, let us then appoint someone to the house for a specific purpose that is to bring clarity and may be we can stipulate that it can be a person of legal back ground or an expert in the relevant field. All party politics I have a dislike for,look at what politics have done to the labour, immigration department party politics equals disaster with those departments, they are the worst managed departments. Sometimes, I wonder and wonder how these departments are going to fix the problems in Anguilla but Anguilla is in a mess, has spiralled out of control

  4. Behold, the day of our redemption draweth near. This very morning, Canadian resident Vernal Bryan, PhD, writing under 3 different aliases, announced on anguillatalk.com that Ronald Webster has passed the baton of revolution to him, and he will will return in glory to lead us, like the ignorant sheep we are, to the promised land. Aya lawd.

  5. Dr. V Bryan has been a resident of Bahamas since he left Canada after he completed his education. I do agree though both him and his brother needs to stop this revoulutionary talk. And lets debate it seriously.

    It seems in the past revolutions were started by the peasants. Looks like the elite wants to demand an elected position as their entitlement. I wonder if Anguillians believe when they go overseas if the only way they can give back service to AXA is through political leadership?

  6. The Brookings Institution, in a study on crime reduction, states "that increasing the number of police on the streets will in fact reduce crime." This confirms what has been known since the invention of radio communications.


    According to Anguilla amateur criminologists Kenneth Harrigan and Belto Hughes speaking in the House of Assembly on 15 May 2005, we need to have police officers sitting in stations in Blowing Point, Island Harbour and West End. On what basis have our elected geniuses concluded that the known principles of police science do not apply to Anguilla?

  7. Correction, make that 15 May 2007. Sorry!

  8. The following received today from Mr Reid speaks for itself:

    "I perused your blog this morning and noted that I was the subject of a posting. I am labouring under the impression that you control what is and what is not actually posted. With that in mind I would be interested to know what merit there is in that particular posting. At least twice in the past you have sought from me my comments where a posting in some way, shape or form touched my role in the public service or touched the Department of Public Administration. I therefore find it strange that no comment was sought from me in relation to an item that clearly seeks to tarnish my reputation.

    I am mindful of the four way test I understand Rotarians are expected to apply in their lives. While I accept that by its very nature your blog is not necessarily intended to build Goodwill and Better Friendships I would anticipate that you would be concerned with the other three aspects of the test when determining what to post and what not to post.

    The posting as presented can only be viewed as intended to cast aspersions on my conduct in both my professional and private life.

    For the record I am not pictured in the Cayman Islands photo or referred to in the news item because the BVI Deputy Governor and myself had the misfortune of being delayed in Puerto Rico for several hours due to our scheduled flight having mechanical problems. This ultimately resulted in us having to overnight in Miami and travel to Cayman the next day arriving after the opening ceremony which the media attended, had concluded. As regards Aidan’s presence in the HoA and my absence therefrom, there is an equally simple explanation. The Governor is away, I am acting Governor and therefore precluded from attending HoA meetings.

    I trust that you will take the necessary steps to remedy this matter."

    (Sd) Stanley Reid

  9. Mr. Reid fails to understand that if those in the public eye in Anguilla can't be bothered to tell. us what they are doing in their conduct of the people's business, we have not only the right but the obligation as good citizens to speculate and to question their behaviour. If they find this bothersome, they can shut is up by becoming open, transparent and accountable.

  10. I would remind the Acting Governor that Hubert censored John Benjamin's radio programme because people were talking stupidness, as we sometimes do on this blog. And I would remind His Excellency that the Privy Council said this about that:

    "...freedom of expression...constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and one of the basic conditions for its progress and for each individual’s self-fulfilment. It is applicable not only to ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb. Such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there is no ‘democratic society’”.

  11. I agree that Mr. Reid should not take offense by what people post on this blog. He is a public official and hence is subject to public scrutiny. It is healthy for our democracy to be critical of public officials. However, my writings on this issue has to do with the quotation handed down by the Privy Council. Whenever I hear it on “Talk Your Mind” as their lead iintro, I am under the impression as if this is a unique statement made in reflection to the ruling in the Anguilla case. But nothing could be further from the truth. A similar ruling was made in numerous other instances. More specifically:

    Section 12 of the 1998 Act reflects the central importance which attaches to the right to freedom of expression. The European Court of Human Rights for its part has not wavered in asserting the fundamental nature of this right. In paragraph 52 of its judgment in Vogt v Germany (1995) 21 EHRR 205 the court said:
    1. "The court reiterates the basic principles laid down in its judgments concerning article 10:
    "(1) Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and one of the basic conditions for its progress and each individual's self-fulfilment. Subject to article 10(2), it is applicable not only to 'information' or 'ideas' that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb; such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broad-mindedness without which there is no 'democratic society'."

    I would have to read the entire ruling on the “Government VS Mildred Fleming” case to see what other citations were made in the case. So we should be careful not to imply that we are free to speak our minds or sprew hateful remarks on air. With freedom of expression comes personal responsibility. Perhaps the lawyers can shed more light on this. My argument is outside my area of expertise. I arrest my case.

    (W.O.M.E.N.) Women of Merit Empowering Network


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