Concerned Citizens March.
On Friday 20 July an almost unprecedented incident took place. Anguillians have been dormant for years. No one dares to take part in any demonstration. Jobs are at stake. Fear of victimization is rampant. But, Friday was different. There was a public march. It was called by the Concerned Citizens Movement.
There were two issues at stake. They were both included in one petition. The petition was taken by a crowd of demonstrators from The Valley to the Governor’s residence at Government House at Old Ta. I estimate some 200 person participated. The petition concerned two separate issues. A pity really. I would have marched in support of one, but not the other.
One issue was that of suspicion of corruption at the highest levels of government. Why have our Ministers permitted the
The inviolable rule has been that no developer has been permitted to control more than one project. That rule has lasted for decades. All governments obeyed it. No one developer would be permitted to control our government and our economy.
But, we have just woken up to the realization that Viceroy controls three different areas of the island. And, they are negotiating for more. The people were determined to express their displeasure and to say to our government, No more. The petition went further and demanded an enquiry into the relationship that has built up between these developers and our government ministers.
That was one issue that I would have signed with pleasure. With conviction. With earnestness. That is an issue that every Anguillian should feel deeply ashamed towards our government about. If that had been the only issue, I would have been there in the marching crowd.
The second issue was to do with the Constitution. It was a demand for a referendum to approve any new Constitution. I happen to have a deep-seated and irreversible aversion to referendums. They are poisonous plants. They are not, and never have been, anywhere in the world, at any time in history, a way of finding out the people’s attitude to an issue. They have always been used by the people as an indicator as to how they feel about the government. A referendum always ends up being a popularity vote on the government. It is never an expression of opinion on the issue contained in the referendum. That is the only reason I was not in the march.
I am firmly convinced that other methods must be used to educate the people and find out their feelings about the issues involved in the Constitution. A referendum urged by a popular government will always return a yes vote. A referendum urged by an unpopular government will always return a no vote.
If the present government of
The protest march ended peacefully. The police did a good job of controlling traffic and facilitating the demonstration. It was proof that the system that requires demonstrators to get police permission for a march can work well. Congratulations to all concerned. Even though I do not approve of the main purpose of the petition: the referendum.