Interview with Ken Richards of the BBC. The Chief Minister appointed his negotiating team to meet with the British during the course of the week of Monday 2 July 2007. I first learned who they were when I met with other team members on Tuesday 17 July in our first planning session. Chief Minister Fleming made me sit next to him and act as spokesman for the Commission's recommendations. At this meeting,
As I drove away from the meeting, Bailiff Michael Fleming stepped forward from where he was lying in wait to serve me with a lawyer's letter threatening a lawsuit for libel if I did not tone down my criticisms of government ministers on this Blog!
By Thursday, two days later, the Chief Minister was announcing on radio that he had decided to hold a meeting of the House of Assembly on Monday morning. They would debate full internal self-government. Presumably, the British team were to be attentive observers and listeners. The first time I heard about this change of plan was when the Chief Minister announced it on radio.
By Friday morning, he had a new plan. I first heard it on radio again. He was announcing that he had decided to ask the Governor to completely postpone the meeting with the British. His new idea was for government to more thoroughly discuss the concept of “full internal self-government” with the Anguillian people. That morning the Concerned Citizens Movement led a demonstration on Government House demanding a referendum on any new Constitution. Over the weekend, I learned that the British team had been told to cancel their flight arrangements.
Thorough Anguillian consultation on measures for constitutional advancement is a good, indeed an essential, thing. The problem is that it should have started one year ago, immediately after the Report of the Constitutional Commission had been presented!
On Monday morning, I am sitting at home minding my business. The phone rings. It is well-known BBC "Caribbean Report" presenter Ken Richards. He is telephoning from London. Am I willing to talk about the circumstances surrounding the postponement of the constitutional talks with the British team? He had learned that this had been announced by the Chief Minister just two or three days before the team was due to arrive in
To hear the broadcast, go to the Americas page of the BBC News website. In the right-hand column you will see the audio for “Caribbean Report”. Click on “Listen”. If you have the appropriate speakers, you should hear the interview. Or, if I have done it right, the last link should take you straight to the audio! [Sorry, late readers. By Tuesday evening BBC Caribbean Report had moved on to other stories. You will have to try to access the BBC archives.]
Do you think Bunton is capable of long-haul planning? Will he stick the course? Or, will he react to the next last person who speaks to him, as usual?
One of my concerns is that I do not know who the Chief Minister is now listening to. What will be his next announced “plan”? I learn he says that he is now a committed member of the Concerned Citizens Movement. No doubt, he will soon claim them as part of his new negotiating team.
No, I did not tell Ken Richards about all this confusion. It was too embarrassing to talk about it on the radio in front of millions of listeners!