30 June, 2007

Ill Health

Board Resigns. Word came to me today that the entire Board of the Health Authority of Anguilla has resigned. I have got a copy of the letter to the Minister. It is dated 25 June, and is copied to various persons. It is not a confidential document. It paints a very sad picture of a breakdown in communication and trust between the Minister and this Board. And, it raises serious questions about the direction the Minister intends to take the Health Authority. The letter accuses the Minister of:

1. intending to reconfigure and re-constitute the Board outside of the existing legal framework;

2. procrastinating and failing to replace the three directors who had completed their terms since 31 December 2006;

3. demonstrating a reckless lack of commitment to the functioning of the health services;

4. a disregard for the four remaining members who were required to devote extra energy and time to the functioning of the Authority;

5. diverging from Government’s established plan for health without any communication with the Board and other stakeholders;

6. disregarding the legislation which governs the Health Authority of Anguilla;

7. deliberately undermining and sabotaging the effectiveness of the Board;

8. destabilizing the Authority;

9. needlessly putting the achievements of the past three and a half years at risk;

10. negating the hard work and efforts of the Ministry in advancing reform in the health sector in prior years;

11. diverging from the concept of health sector reform, which was, according to the 2000 Manifesto of the Anguilla United Front, the governing political party of which the Minister is a member, “intended to create an autonomous mechanism of health services provision, to ensure that they are as free as possible from political interference”; and

12. regressing to a body which would implement policy under the direction of the Minister and where the independence of the Board is not respected.

This is quite a litany of accusations. Any one of them would be scandalous if true. Taken together, they suggest a Ministry out of balance, losing its focus, if not its mind. And, in something as important as health! No wonder the Board resigned en masse. And, who can blame them for doing so “with immediate effect”?

29 June, 2007

Dolphin Prison

Betrayed. We now begin to see why Chief Minister Osborne Fleming was able so confidently to announce at the Park on Anguilla Day that the Dolphin Fantaseas facility was not going to be allowed to be constructed on the Mariners property at Sandy Ground. We all mistakenly assumed that he had developed principles. He had, we thought, at last got a social conscience. There had been so many public protests at the planned relocation of the dolphinarium from Barnes Bay to Sandy Ground.

Anguilla Dolphin

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The Planning Department had earlier given permission for the relocation. This had been done in the face of warnings from the Anguilla National Trust. It was already under construction by the Mexicans. Retired Chief Minister, Sir Emile Gumbs, and opposition member the Hon Eddison Baird, had teamed up to oppose the move. They held meetings with Osborne, even as the Mexicans beavered away at Sandy Ground building the proposed new facility.

But, the Chief Minister was not going to allow the dolphin prison to pollute the beach at Sandy Ground.

He had taken a stand. They were going to have to close up shop and move back to Mexico. So we hoped. How wrong we were, we now know.

Word has just reached me that the dolphin people have been given official permission to construct their new dolphin facility at the Sandy Point to the west of Blowing Point village.

Generations of Anguillians accustomed to using the location for family picnics and safe swimming will now find their access blocked. The planned facility will not make a nice adjunct to the million dollar homes that have gone up to the lee of the Sandy Point. It is almost certain that they will be impacted adversely. In any other country, there would be an immediate application to the High Court for an injunction. The grounds? There has been no environmental impact study, as required by planning. There has been no consultation with the public, as would be normal before such a major development was put down in a residential neighbourhood. Besides, this facility would constitute what the lawyers call a nuisance. The neighbours will be concerned that they are going to be harmed in the enjoyment of their premises. That is not allowed. Not even when government gives permission. A rash and impulsive permission, offered as a sort of bribe. A craven and secret permission, given in the dead of night. A promise in exchange for the Mexicans moving quietly and without protest away from their intended development at Sandy Ground. And, all just to shut up Eddie and Emile.

Are you, look a wuk!

28 June, 2007

Hunger Strike

Day Two. I had planned to tell you today the latest news about the relocation of the new dolphinarium. It is supposedly being moved from Sandy Ground to Blowing Point. But, humans are more important, in some respects, than dolphins. We have a developing humanitarian crisis in Anguilla that needs to be told. It involves the rebellion by the Indian slave labour that our government has permitted the KOR Group and Viceroy Resorts to import into Anguilla.

It was at 3:00 pm yesterday Tuesday 26 June that the police stopped the Indian workers at South Hill. They had been walking into the Valley to complain to the Labour Commissioner. Iwandai and Heartbeat Radio broadcast live for some hours from the scene. Eventually, the Commissioner of Police relented. He permitted their Anguillian sympathisers to drive the Asians to the Labour Commissioner’s office in The Valley. There were then at least fifty of them. The Labour Commissioner met with a few of their representative. There, they told their tale of the unbearable conditions which they were treated to at Barnes Bay. Wages of US$180.00 per month. Meat for dinner just once per week. Work-related injuries that remained untreated. Eleven-hour days, six days per week, in the blazing sun. Eight men bunking in a container in the container village to which they were confined. Anguillians were affected by their plight. Many of them had lost their better paying jobs when these Asians had been brought in to replace them at Viceroy. That did not stop them congregating in an unmistakable demonstration of support outside the Labour Commissioner’s offices.

That is where I found them at 3:00 pm the following day, Wednesday. When I came back from the dentist’s torture chamber in Marigot, I took a pass by the Labour Commissioner's office. I thought I would find them gone, and the problem solved by that time. I was wrong. Their numbers had increased from the original fifty to about one hundred and fifty of them.

They were squatting in and around an incomplete building across the road from the Labour Commissioner’s office. Someone had provided a tent for some shelter. I was told they had been there all day. They had spent the previous night asleep on the bare ground. They had no food, nor toilet facilities. They had a supply of water brought by sympathetic Anguillians. It was squalid and heart wrenching.

I was told the Chief Minister had not yet returned from the meeting in Cayman Islands of Overseas Territories' Chief Ministers. I believe he is still there telling them how he was the highest paid Chief Minister or Prime Minister in the West Indies. The other heads of the OECS, I am told, are not speaking to him any more. Without any provocation, he likes to remind them that his remuneration is double that of most of them. It is certainly immeasurably higher than the wages of the Indian labourers at Viceroy.

Tomorrow, the dolphins.

27 June, 2007

Slave Labour

Slave Uprising. It was not Spartacus. But, it was an uprising. Today, Tuesday 26 June, in the afternoon, the workers at Viceroy laid down their tools on the hotel building site at Barnes Bay. They had had enough. They left their Spartan quarters and marched towards the Valley. They had heard that workers could complain at the Labour Department. Of the 500 plus slave labourers housed at Viceroy, there were only about 50 on the actual march.

By the time they had reached Lower South Hill, the police were out in force. Their progress to the Valley was blocked. They were told they could not march any further. They sat down under a tree.

They asked for water. Iwandai arrived with a microphone. He began to broadcast. Heartbeat Radio 107.5 FM carried him live as he described the condition of the workers halted under the blazing sun. Radio Anguilla played soothing music. Several of the workers explained that they were only being paid a fraction of what they had been promised when they had been recruited in India. They were forced to live in cramped and squalid conditions. Their rations were not nutritious or sufficient. Then, Lolita Davis-Richardson arrived on the scene.

She demanded they be allowed their freedom to march to the Valley to make their protest at the Labour Department. A crowd of Anguillians gathered. They loudly voiced their support for the Indian workers. They protested the police action in blocking the peaceful march to the Valley. The crowd was beginning to grow. Just in time, word trickled back. The Commissioner of Police had agreed that the Indians could exercise their right to go to the Valley. Concerned Anguillians offered them lifts in pick-ups and cars. The Indians left for the Valley. There was never any violence threatened or suffered. As I departed from the scene, I wondered how the protest would play out once they reached their destination of the Valley.

We must all be relieved that it was the exploited workers who made the demonstration.

We must all have been concerned that it was the Anguillian workers who had been laid off by the arrival of the cheap Indian labour who replaced them that might have become violent. It was appropriate that it was the Indians themselves who protested. It seems to have completely bypassed government ministers that slavery has been abolished in Anguilla since 1834. They have totally ignored the mantra of all previous governments: there will be no development in Anguilla except it is demonstrably for the benefit of the Anguillians themselves. No development, no matter how deserving or desirable, will be permitted except it is principally structured and designed to benefit Anguillians. Importing 500 Indian labourers, who were to be paid slave wages, in order to replace Anguillian workers, was demonstrably not to the benefit of Anguilla or Anguillians. Our government has lost its way. Our people were on the verge of losing their soul. It was the compassion of the ordinary Anguillian that redeemed our government today.

26 June, 2007


Leadership Qualities in Bermuda. A correspondent recently sent me a remarkable article. It comes from the Royal Gazette of Bermuda. It is a newspaper, not the same thing as our Official Gazette. It contains a scathing indictment of the Premier and the Governor. The story of the investigation of the Premier for being involved in stealing money out of the Housing Corporation is now well known. The police have written a report on his involvement. The Premier has gone to court in an attempt to squash the story. The island’s Auditor General has been arrested for leaking the story to the press. It is very sordid. But, what really caught my interest was this quote from the article:

The Bermudian capacity for self-deception is staggering. So long as affluence provides its anaesthetising padding, why should any of us be impacted by dishonest representatives, when an honest one has become so increasingly rare.

Why worry about integrity or morality? Have these become not just outdated meaningless words, but dispensable qualities? We live in a society with one of the world’s highest per capita incomes, but one of the lowest educational standards.

We accept the continuing rape of our land for its commercial rather than intrinsic value. We are reliant on an industry that wouldn’t have the slightest hesitation in relocating if its profitability were more advantageous elsewhere.

Isn’t it clearly time to clean up our mess? Shouldn’t we dispense with those who are besmirched by their greed and disgraceful intent? Shouldn’t we think about encouraging those who are honest, whose work is genuine and whose aim is to produce long-term benefits for this island and for every individual who lives here?

Just replace “Bermuda” with “Anguilla” in the first paragraph. Do we see some relevance?

24 June, 2007


Thursday Workshop. I should have done this several days ago. I am getting slower and slower on the uptake. As the years pass, I do not seem to get off the mark as quickly as before.

I hope I may be excused for using this medium to do a little self promotion. Well, actually, it is promoting the Anguilla Association of Office Professionals. I have been invited to give a workshop on ethics and integrity for office professionals. It will take place on Thursday, 28 June 2007. Venue is to be the Teachers’ Resource Centre. There is a small charge to cover the cost of refreshments. Otherwise, it will be an inexpensive way for businesses and offices on Anguilla to have their office staff immersed in issues of ethics and integrity for an entire day.

I am not sure what I am going to tell them for a whole day. No doubt, something will come to me. You know what they say about lawyers. If you want us to speak for ten minutes, we need a week’s notice. And, a paying client. But, if you want us to talk all day long, we are ready right now! And, for free.

The programme looks like this:

8:30 - 8:55 am: Registration

9:00 - 9:10 am: Prayer: Mrs. Catherine Brooks EXOTY 2006-2007

Welcome: Mrs. Rozell Hennis-Richardson, President AAOP

Introduction of Faciliator: Mrs. Ursil Webster-Brooks

9:10 - 10:30 am: 1st Session: The case for Ethics and Integrity

10:30 - 10:35 am: B R E A K

10:35- 12.00 noon : 2nd Session: Discussion of actual problems in Anguilla by participants

12:15 - 1:15 pm: L U N C H

1:20 - 2.30 pm: 3rd Session: A Code of Ethics for Office Professionals

There is room for late registrants. If you are interested, contact Rozell Hennis-Richardson at the Teachers’ Resource Centre.

23 June, 2007

Orders in Council

Constitutional Reform in Anguilla. I am not suggesting that what happened to the Chagos Islanders is about to happen to us. But, today is June 23. In one month’s time the British negotiating team arrives on Anguilla. They have already worked out their agenda. They have long practice from negotiating with all the other Overseas Territories. We want to know what steps our elected representatives are taking to ensure that we are ready to stand up for the areas of constitutional reform that are most important to us. We have not heard them holding any planning sessions. The points have mainly been set out in the August 2006 Report of the Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commission. We have not heard our elected representatives debate the Report in the House of Assembly. Are we all reading from the same page? Are some of us going to be following a different agenda? Do we all know where the bottom line is? Are we all in accord as to what is non-negotiable? Are we agreed on what items we can be flexible? Is it clear which items, if any, in the Report we are willing to abandon entirely? Do we have any non-negotiable points? Are we prepared to face down any British negotiator who may be so presumptuous as to tell us that any of our non-negotiable steps towards constitutional advance is not acceptable to the British government? Who is to be our lead negotiator? Who will lead off for our team? Who are to be the advisers in the background? Are we prepared to walk out of the talks if things look bad? What is the signal for us to walk out? Who will give the signal? Or, will we do like Ronald Webster in Barbados in 1967? Will some of us walk out, leaving others to continue the negotiations? How many practice negotiation sessions have we engaged in to prepare ourselves for the obstacles that will be put in our way?

The British will have learned a lesson from the Chagos Islands case. They will not impose anything on us by way of a unilateral Order in Council. They will want Anguilla to have a new Constitution that has been negotiated. They want to throw it in the face of the Committee of 24 as it exhales its dying breath. They will ensure that they can show that whatever they do with our Constitution was with the full agreement and concurrence of the Anguillians. Our negotiators will have to be sure they know what it is that we want. They will have to be steadfast in representing our true interests. We cannot afford to have amateurs go into these negotiations at half-cock.

Is there any need to repeat? If we are not prepared, they will make mincemeat of our representatives. And, then we will have a forty year struggle to put it right. Like the Chagos Islanders did.

22 June, 2007

Chagos Islands

Orders in Council. We in Anguilla have to learn from the experience of the Chagos Islanders. The story can be shortly told. In the 1960’s, the British Government agreed to give the US military an airbase in Diego Garcia, one of the Chagos Islands. The “special relationship”, and all that. For security reasons, the US military did not want anybody living on any of the islands near to Diego Garcia. Never mind that the nearest of the Chagos Islands was one hundred miles away from Diego Garcia. All of the occupants were evacuated to satisfy the US need for secrecy. All the inhabitants of the Chagos Islands archipelago were declared to be illegally living in their homes. They were by Order in Council summarily deported to Mauritius. There they have remained for the past 40 years, living in slums, exiles from their homeland.

Their representatives brought a lawsuit in the High Court in England in the year 2000 seeking relief. They argued that their deportation from their traditional homeland was in breach of their fundamental human rights. They asked the court to find that the Order in Council was illegal. In 2003 the High Court agreed. The Court made an order declaring their deportation illegal. The British government was ordered to permit them to return to their home. The British government initially complied. The US brought pressure to bear. The Home Secretary announced that he would not obey the order of the Court. A new Order in Council was made in 2004 prohibiting the Chagos Islanders from returning home.

The islanders took the British government back to court. They challenged the validity of this last Order in Council. In the High Court, Government’s counsel argued that the court had no jurisdiction to question the validity of an Order in Council. The argument was that it was the Queen’s prerogative. The Chagos Islanders argued that the court did have the right to look at the validity of an Order in Council. The High Court found in favour of the Islanders. It held that the Order in Council had been illegal. Government then appealed to the Court of Appeal. On 23 May 2007, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the High Court. The court concluded that the Order in Council was illegal because it frustrated the legitimate expectation of the islanders to be allowed to return to the Chagos Islands. The main point made by the Privy Council, for our purposes, was that an Order in Council is not a sacrosanct document. It is amenable to judicial review. British Ministers no longer have an unrestrained power to make an Order in Council.

A country’s Constitution is the contract made between a people and its government as to the way they consent to be governed. It cannot be altered by one party unilaterally. Any Order in Council that amends our Constitution without due consent will be illegal. This decision is very important for us in Anguilla. Not least, because of its constitutional implications. It calls into question the use of the royal prerogative, the alleged basis of Orders in Council amending our constitution.

Tomorrow we look at why we must prepare.

21 June, 2007

Constitutional Reform

Why Revise our Constitution? Anguilla is in the process of reviewing its Constitution. The British Government has encouraged us to engage in this exercise. It is not only Anguilla. All of the British Overseas Territories are involved. Nor is it only a British Government initiative. The US, Dutch, and French territories are engaged in the same process. Its genesis lies in the fate of the United Nations Committee of 24. The imperial powers of the United States, Britain, the Netherlands and France are determined to bring the work of the Decolonization Committee to an end. They have been arguing for years that they have no more colonies. They say that their colonies’ constitutions are so advanced that they cannot be considered to be classical colonies any longer. They are not willing to continue funding to support the existence of this UN committee. They no longer send the required reports to the Committee. In their eyes, it exists only to rain blows of embarrassment on their heads. The present Constitutional revision exercise in the Overseas Territories is not meant for our benefit. It can be viewed as a part of this effort to bring an end to the Committee of 24. Constitutional modernisation is principally intended to show how unnecessary this UN committee is. This is why the imperial powers have all been encouraging their overseas territories to upgrade their constitutional arrangements. That is why the Dutch overseas territories are engaged in the process of revising their arrangements with the Netherlands. The French have just completed the process. St Barths is no longer a part of Guadeloupe. It now has its own constitutional arrangement with France. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are revising their arrangements with the USA. So, Anguilla’s negotiation with the UK is a small part of an international process. That is not to say that we cannot derive some benefits from the exercise.

We have a say in what is to become of us. We are the only ones with the voice that really counts when it comes to our future. We will decide what our fate will be. It is only if we are not sure what we want that others will decide it for us. If we know what we want for ourselves, no one can order us around. Everything depends on us. If we organize and represent our interests in a unified way, there is practically no limit to what we cannot achieve constitutionally. If we keep quiet, there is practically no limit to the abuse that we can be made to undergo.

Tomorrow, we look at the example of the Chagos Islands.

20 June, 2007

Conflicts of Interest

Duties of Directors. Someone has reported to me an astonishing thing. The two indigenous banks are building branch offices in the West End. A director of one of them has recently allegedly made a large illegal profit. He supposedly purchased a lot of land cheaply. He then sold it to his bank for a large profit. That would be a very wrong thing for a director to do. It reminds me of a story going the rounds a few years ago. A director of one of our public utilities supposedly purchased a lot of land in The Valley. He then sold it on to his utility company at a goodly profit. It is probably, like so many of our scandalous stories, a complete fabrication.

Can such a thing really happen in Anguilla? I would like to think that no board member would behave like that. I would especially like to think that no properly advised Board of Directors would permit such shady practices to happen.

What do you think? Are you in possession of the facts? Would you like to share them? Now is your chance. Make sure to send me evidence that I can check before you get me into trouble. No anonymous gossip please.

19 June, 2007


Delinquent Charities. One of the main advantages of registering a charity is that its income is not subject to income tax. People who donate to a charity also get tax relief on their donations. The Attorney-General is usually considered the public trustee and in charge of all charities. For him to know who they are, they have to be registered. They are obliged to prepare and to publish annual accounts. That way, the Attorney-General and any interested member of the public can check to ensure that they are spending their funds properly. Anguilla has no income tax, so charity status has no tax significance. Another consequence of our having no direct taxation on incomes is that generally speaking no business in Anguilla is required to audit its accounts. No one tells local charities that they must have their accounts audited and published. None do, that I know of.

So, I was very interested when a reader pointed me to a recent article in the Royal Gazette of Bermuda about delinquent charities. It turns out they have had a Charities Act since about 1978. Their charities have to be registered. They have to publish their accounts. If they do not, they are struck off the register. They lose their charity status. We have no charity law at all in Anguilla. Any one of us can set up as the “Blowing Point Red Cross” or the “Island Harbour Cancer Society” and persuade people to donate their money to us. We would not be breaking any written law. Not even if we spent the money on ourselves. What is even more interesting is that the article in the Royal Gazette tells us that there are over 400 registered charities in Bermuda. And, 150 of them are in trouble with the Attorney-General. They have not been filing their audited accounts. They have now been named and shamed in a report to the Senator. The Senator who called for the report has a charity of her own. Unfortunately, it is on the list of delinquent charities. No doubt, she will hasten to bring it back into good standing. That is what naming and shaming is all about.

In our case it did not work with NICA. It is a public company in which many Anguillians invested their life savings. It has been struck off the Register of Companies. The directors were named and shamed. They still have not done anything to bring that company back into good standing. When I checked a few days ago, it was still struck off the Register. Government now owns all its assets.

Is it not time the shareholders got together and wound this company up? Or, is it a charitable donation that we are making to our needy government?

18 June, 2007

Fishy Story

Anguilla’s Longline Fishing Boat. Just a few years ago we used to hear regularly about the long-line fishing boat. There was a young professional fisherman from Trinidad who was on the island for several years demonstrating the effectiveness of the technique. A boat was acquired from some funding source to carry out the procedure. Then, everything went quiet. It has been some years now that we have heard nothing about the project. So, I was curious when I received this email in just a few days ago.

On page 23 of today's Anguillian we see the former "Fishtec" for sale. This is a long story of incompetence, theft, government indecision and the waste of a huge amount of money. Lou Bardfield has a long and interesting story to tell. And according to the guy who ran the venture for two years, this is the world's only long-line fishing boat that didn't catch piles of birds and turtles - which of course is impossible.

The second phone number in the ad is:
Marsha Kotalac (508) 228-9023 Miacomet Ave, Nantucket, MA 02554
I have no idea who she is.

I contacted Dr Louis Bardfield. He has promised to tell me the story. When I hear more, I shall be sure to let you know.

16 June, 2007


Don’t Talk About It. Anguillian authorities are famous for sweeping embarrassing felonies and misdemeanours under the carpet. This is a culture of “don’t talk about it”. The explanation is often, “What happened to the presumption of innocence?”

Well, let me tell you, when I am walking down the street and I see three scruffy men walking towards me with their eyes pinned on the contents of my pocket, I will change to the other side of the road, instantly. Don’t give me any stupidness about waiting for “proof beyond reasonable doubt”. That is a rule for the court. That is not a survival rule. Let us talk openly about evil wherever we see it. Let us ridicule powerful people with their hands in the cookie jar. Let us not wait for the beauty contest every five years. Keep them all honest! How about this as a powerful example?

15 June, 2007

Missing Evidence

Police and Crime. From time to time I get an email that stirs my curiosity. If it is about the police, my ears prick up. Our police force in Anguilla is relatively clean. For it to remain so, will require continuous vigilance by all concerned. That means you and me. We have to keep our eyes and ears open. When we learn anything suspicious, we have to open our mouths. No keeping quiet and not getting involved. Not if you want to remain safe. The integrity of the police forces of many of our neighbours, by comparison, has long ago been compromised.

There is nothing more frightening than a corrupt police force. It has been aptly described as an armed gang, backed by the full force of the State. Corrupt elements of the police force of Antigua control all drugs importation and distribution in that country. They own and run the whorehouses of St John’s. They control “security” at the casinos, and run all the illegal ones. They collect “protection money” from every little business on the sidewalk. In Grenada, St Vincent, St Kitts and St Lucia, corrupt police officers control prostitution, gambling and drugs trafficking. Police and Immigration officers openly usher Dominicanan prostitutes through the airports when they arrive. The main use of police cars in those countries is to distribute drugs to the approved outlets. In those islands, the only persons ever accused and charged in court are from the unauthorised competition. The Grenada Coast Guard distinguished itself after Hurricane Ivan by mounting a series of piracy attacks on boats bringing hurricane relief to the island. Typically, these police forces protect themselves by collecting evidence of corruption by politicians and businessmen. There is nothing such police like more than a prosecutor or an attorney general with a penchant for little girls, or better still little boys. They collect the evidence and then use it as blackmail to keep them quiet. The business communities and the professions in those islands know all about this state of affairs. They discuss it in hushed tones among themselves. They put up with this outrageous situation for one of two reasons. A few refuse to believe it is happening all around them. More often, they are too terrified to do more than give you a knowing wink and a nod when the subject of police corruption comes up.

So, it was with some unease that I read an email received recently from a correspondent. It raised fears. It read:

Check the Kristy Richardson thread on anguillatalk. Go to the second page of comments - there's not much of interest on the first page, a lot of whining by Yanchie and others about how young mothers should be exempt from criminal laws, including smuggling large amounts of illegal drugs.

The first entry on page two from Rudeboy alleges that the substantial amount of drugs she was convicted for is missing!

Now drive around in back of the police station and look at how many of them drive cars that are more expensive than the average.

You may ask, why did I not take my concerns to the Commissioner of Police? What in the world would I do such an idiotic thing for? The Commissioner’s job is to defend the members of the force from unwarranted attack. Notice that the correspondent did not offer a single name of an officer who might have stolen the drugs. Nor did the poster on anguillanews.com provide any details that can be checked by an outsider. Only the police know what is missing from the Evidence Room. Any Commissioner would strenuously deny to someone like me that even one ounce of the stuff was missing. There is no regulatory body of any kind that we can take any concern to. Besides, the Commissioner read the post on anguillanews.com just as my correspondent did. I did not hear any loud protest emanating from police headquarters.

The question is this: did the drugs disappear?

14 June, 2007

Education Standards

The Role of an Education Minister. It is probably very unfair. But, education in Anguilla is a very sensitive subject. People express extreme views when they write me on the topic. An increasing number of parents are taking their children out of the system and sending them overseas. Every time someone sends me anything about our Minister’s performance, it is negative. I do not know why. Whenever I have talked to Neil Rogers he has always come across as a very sincere and committed Minister. He seems to work fulltime and overtime at his Ministry. Why then do I get letters like this?

In the Cayman Islands there is an enlightened education programme. The new Minister of Education has introduced a change of governance model. He has brought in a new national curriculum. He has made interventions with regard to special education needs. He has dealt forcefully with literacy issues. He has introduced improvements in teachers’ conditions of service. Cayman's Legislative Assembly is considering the minister’s proposals to invest $150 million in education in the coming years, and last week approved $35 million for capital projects in the Ministry of Education over the next year. You can read all about it here.

By comparison, what we have in Anguilla is “community effort”. There was in the year 2005 a desperate self-help attempt to improve the appalling standards in the Stoney Ground Primary School. The teachers are underpaid, numbers of them do not turn up to work on time, the buildings are falling apart, the curriculum is out of date, discipline is out of the window, and the Minister appears to have no new ideas. You can read all about the self-help project here.

This project was never finished. The Minister took it over and then seems to have lost all interest in it. As we see in this article, there was a plan to extend this school grounds beautification programme to all the other schools. As far as I'm aware, it is dead, along with any pretence that our Minister of Sports has the slightest interest in the education of anyone other than his own children in America.

If, as I suspect, this story is completely unfair to our Minister, will someone in the know please tell us what we are doing with education in Anguilla?

13 June, 2007


Timeshare Fraud. I read with interest in the Independent Newspaper that a rise in timeshare frauds is causing the European Union to legislate. The peak of the timeshare scam in the United Kingdom was in the 1980s. Since then, the British have long ago introduced legislation to regulate both the property and the market. The fraudsters have moved to Europe and the West Indies, and now, to Anguilla. Their scams are sometimes camouflaged under names such as “fractional interests” and “holiday clubs”. What is being offered is a sort of timeshare that has the advantage for the property developer that the purchaser does not actually get anything in return for his money. And, because the property is being “sold” at an inflated price to many purchasers, the return to the developer is huge, with little or no downside.

In Anguilla you can legally purchase and own a condominium. There is a law creating condominium interests in Anguilla. There are one or two registered, well-established, condominium properties. If you are offered an interest in a new condominium property, with no established history, retain a lawyer to write you an opinion on the validity of the title. There are condominium frauds out there in Anguilla. Government is constantly throwing off the island salesmen selling non-existent condominiums. You do not want to be one of the victims, I promise you.

If you are offered a timeshare in Anguilla, be warned that such a thing does not exist. No, there are no timeshare properties on Maids Bay, or on Shoal Bay, or on Rendezvous Bay, regardless of what you have been told. Timeshares do exist in many parts of the world, but not in Anguilla. You cannot acquire title to real property in Anguilla by contract. You cannot take title to time in a property in Anguilla. Only a law or statute can give you that right. There is no law in Anguilla creating title to time. No, in spite of what you have been told, you cannot hold a timeshare interest in real property by contract. You will not be able to enforce what you imagine your contractual rights are.

The latest scam is the sale of "fractional interests" and interests in “holiday clubs” or “private residence clubs. The sale of fractional interests in aircraft and works of art in North America is long established. Aircraft and art works are personal property, something the law treats differently from real estate. In some countries you can get a deed for a fractional interest in real estate. What works in the USA or in Canada is not necessarily legal in Anguilla. There is no law providing for fractional interests in real estate in Anguilla. No, you cannot get a deed in Anguilla to a fractional interest. If anyone offers to sell you a fractional interest in a holiday destination in Anguilla, you are being conned. Especially if you are advised not to retain an attorney to write you a legal opinion on the validity of title before you pay a deposit. That alone provides you with all the evidence you should need to satisfy yourself that you are being conned.

An interest in a private residence club in North America or South Africa is an interest in real estate. Ritz-Carlton has been one of the pioneers in North America. Typically, there you get a deed to your interest, and you can will it with your other real estate. In Anguilla, by contrast, you cannot get a deed to an interest in a private residence club. Only a law could give you a real estate interest in a “holiday club” property, or a “private residence club”. We have no such law in Anguilla. What you are being offered will only be a private contract, like buying a can of sardines. All interests in land are required to be registered in the Land Registry. This type of contract cannot be registered. The paperwork you will receive will be worthless. This type of arrangement will only be as good as its manager. When the club goes on the rocks, so too will your investment. In Anguilla, avoid it like the proverbial plague. Don’t say you have not been warned!

12 June, 2007



We are lucky in Anguilla when it comes to poverty. The UNDP says we have none. We know differently.

World leaders agreed on the Millennium Development Goals at the Millennium Summit in 2000. There are now recognised 8 goals, 18 targets, and over 40 indicators. I leave you to look them up and decide for yourselves how many apply to us.

The following UNDP poverty profile shows Anguilla having the second best Gini Co-efficient in the region. The higher the figure for the Gini co-efficient, the greater is the degree between high and lower income households. Only the BVI scores better than us in being more egalitarian.

Poverty Profile in OECS Countries


% Below the Poverty Line

Gini Co-efficient







St Kitts



St Lucia



St Vincent and the Grenadines












Because we have no statistically significant percentage of households living below the poverty line does not mean that we do not have poor households in Anguilla. There are at least 50 homes that the Welfare Department have certified as deserving free public water because the heads of those households cannot pay the minimum bills. To put this in proportion, there are probably 3,000 households in Anguilla.

We may not have the deaths from starvation we see on Television, and that we may associate with “real” poverty. Our poverty has a different, less obvious face. We have homes with a poor standard of living, homes where the adults suffer from low education and low skills, and are employed in low income jobs. We have old and vulnerable persons without access to social services. There are many homes that have difficulty meeting the weekly grocery and the monthly telephone bills. With our tourism-based industry, when hotel business dries up, as it does periodically, people are let go from their jobs. The result is that loan payments become overdue. Homes are wrecked by the stresses that result. We see the periodic spates of advertisements by banks of sales of distressed properties. Our citizens have weak voices and limited power to influence the forces that affect our lives. We are at the mercy of so many forces that are outside our control. In all these ways many of us in Anguilla can be said to be impoverished.