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.


  1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2109544,00.html

    Brown must act for the Chagos islanders

    Saturday June 23, 2007
    The Guardian

    We applaud Gordon Brown's proposal to review uses of the royal prerogative and hope he won't let government lawyers undermine it. Within days, they could ask the Lords to deny the Chagos islanders their right to return to their homeland (Leaders, May 24). Under a bilateral agreement, the US maintains a base on Diego Garcia; but that is 150 miles to the south of the other islands of the Chagos archipelago. On May 23, the court of appeal struck down as unlawful the 2004 orders in council banning the Chagossians from their islands, calling them "an abuse of power". If this appeal proceeds, Mr Brown's administration will be attempting to govern the overseas territories without parliamentary oversight or the possibility of judicial review. After three defeats in the courts, why waste more money on losing an argument he says he doesn't believe in?
    Robert Bain
    UK Chagos Support Association
    Clive Baldwin
    Minority Rights Group International
    Dr Vincent Cable MP
    Jeremy Corbyn MP
    Tam Dalyell
    Geoffrey Fairhurst
    Administrator, Ascension 1999-2002
    Andrew George MP
    Richard Gifford
    Solicitor for the Chagossians
    Baroness Ludford MEP
    Don Mitchell QC (Anguilla)
    Bernice Olsson
    Legislative council, St Helena
    David Snoxell
    High Commissioner to Mauritius 2000-04
    David Steel
    Mike Summers
    Councillor, Falkland Islands
    Caroline Yon JP

  2. What Orders in Council. Politicians are too busy manipulating the system to see what's best for them.

    Looks like my friend got banned for suggesting on Anguillatalk that two incumbant politicians are considering runing at-large so they can endorse people in their districts. They are having a hard time logging on. Imagine a situation if Buntun and Victor run At-large separate and apart from United Front. Victor puts his support around Russel Reid. Buntun puts his support around Vernal Bryan in district 2. Rodney Rey is seriously thinking about running at-large. So is David Carty. Kenneth steps down and lets Keisha run. We all know Victor clone Neil will be together. Then you can very well have a situation whereby a new government may be formed for the next election. I do hope Victor and Buntun run at-large because I guarantee neither of them will get 1000 votes. But then again their strategy may work.

    They must be having sleepless nights thinking about whether to go with At-large seats or splitting the Valley in two districts or just leaving it alone. What games these crooks playing with what's best for AXA. My people now is the time to demand answers from your politicans about the Constitution changes.

  3. The suggestion that Bunton would endorse Vernal Bryan, the British-hating independence radical, is farsical.

    Keesha Webster has shown no loyalty to the United Front and has no future with them. And she has other problems that are unresolved in the minds of most people. They render her a political liability. Her continued silence condemns her in my mind. And I believe the truth would condemn her as well.

  4. According to the Arguments of the British Government the Chargos-Islanders ( and by implication the descendants of African and Indian plantation workers in all of its overseas Territories) are simply tempory labour and can be removed at short notice, i.e. by use of an order in Council!

  5. Why should Keesha Webster be loyal to the United Front, That is ridiculous. She is her own person. That is the reason we are in the mess that we are in being loyal and selfish for our own needs and forgetting the needs of the whole island. Tell me who is in the government to follow name one, maybe, I might see then and be able to agree. What is wrong with Vernal, he is an Anguillian, the only thing may be wrong is who is endorsing him. Anguilla need intelligent politicians, not who we have there, that is why we are in the mess. what a sad and a gloomy day coming to Anguilla, our progress has been progress without its people and has not been for its people, what a sad day hovering over our children's future.

  6. I hope that people listen to the house of Assembly at all times, because it was Ms Keisha Webster that raised a motion in regards to the crime wave in Anguilla, and she was highly praised for doing such a job, I believe that she can make a valuable contribution to the executive because she is intelligent, and moreso a lawyer. let us be objective and stop being so small minded because we are missing the mark while we stay idle and dwell on small matters and allegations.
    Anguilla is in such a serious state of affair now that we better banned together and stop all this foolishness. We do not have the politicians , all we have is ourselves, so let us stay together please.

  7. I have never met Keisha personaly but I would definetley support her as a candidate for district 1. Now people may think I am only saying this because I'm a woman. But lets face it, when Anguilla had a mix of male and female politicians our social policies were in harmony with the people interests. Women such as Idahlia Gumbs and Albena Lake-Hodge serve our island admirably. This male leadership has focus too much on the decptive dollar while our social infrastructure is tearing apart. Although I think Keisha may have suffered a major set back with her legal troubles earlier in the year.

    Anguillians are more forgiving of men when they are accused of wrong doing while some try to crucify women without knowing all the facts. I do not know the facts and so I will not speculate. But, we all make mistakes and ill judgements at times . It is how we rise above adversities that counts. Obviously, Keisha cares deeply about Anguilla and we need more women to come forward and speak out on issues.

    Whoever decides to contest the next election, as a citizen and a voter, I hope they recognize we must change this road the United Front has taken us on. We need leaders who have a plan of action not a plan of reaction. We need people who will sacrifice their personal interests for what’s best for Anguilla and not what’s best for them and their family. And we need people who are not looking to serve in government as a means to make a living but persons who are prepared to give back to this country.

    Why can’t every school in Anguilla have decent bathroom facilities?

    Why must every Minister of Government drive around in cars paid for from public funds? All government ministers should be driven around in their own vehicle or an unmarked police car.

    Why are we asked to pay heavy duties on essential items while alcohol and tobacco duties remain relatively the same.

    How can government justify infusing over a half of a million dollars in carnival while ignoring the need for a permanent community college or a community recreation centre.?

    When will the people of Anguilla know the positions of each elected member on constitution reform?

    Over eighty percent of the present generation of elected officials are over the age of sixty. They are rewriting history. Instead of creating an Anguilla that is better than past generations they are building an Anguilla for friends and family. I grew up hearing the present generation of Anguillians must always do better than the generations before them. But if this economic policy does not change, I foresee many Anguillians not being able to buy a lot of land, build a decent home of provide the basic necessities for their family.

    Anguilla leadership must change. Clearly, they cannot take us any further. They have repeatedly shown a a myopic mind set. We must change and rethink our policies to powerful forces luring us in for short term profits. We must change, our children deserve better. We must change, our elders fought for too much.

    Strenght and Endurance, change is coming!

  8. It has come to thus, that allegedly stealing from one's employer has become a "small matter" and that persons with extremely doubtful ethical foundations can be seen as future leaders of our island.

  9. The problem in Anguilla is that we focus on things that are not important, that is why we are in predicament. Allegations must stop and look at the big picture. Being intelligent is njot the only criteria for being a politician, because James Ronald Webster had no formal training to my knowledge but what a stalwart of a man , a character that is not seen in any ot the politicians, when he says something he stands by it not like some of these they talk from every side of their motuths, take a look at Sir Emile Gumbs, what leaders, yes had shortcomings but not grave like these deceptive politicians. Anguilla is in a mess and if there is no change what would become of us.

  10. Good day as i stream through the many post on what was once a great island of incredible people its quite apparent that Anguillians have lost sight of who we were as a great group of people and not individuals who seem to only think as far as they can see which is only into the next day. The level of people that stood their ground and fought for freedom when no one else would realize how pure life was back then,
    now more than ever greed is more important than your own childs future or did you think your actions now wouldn't affect them as well please step up and embrass who you were back then now so unity can once again become the back bone of ANGUILLA.
    sincerely your your lost child
    Ade Henry


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