10 August, 2007


A Refugee from Carnival. I feel out of touch. London this August has been wet and cold, and far away from home. News from Anguilla is hard to come by. Heartbeat Radio’s 6:30 newscast is broadcast at 11:30 London time. Radio Anguilla is just as bad, with its 7:00 o’clock newscasts. I am not in front of my computer at those times. In the morning, I am in the Public Records Office at Kew photographing Anguilla’s old colonial documents. In the evening, by that time I am asleep.

The gossip columns on AnguillaTalk keep me partially informed. The level of discussion there is too juvenile to keep my attention for long. I usually read one or two threads and give up. The Anguillian Newspaper is published only once a week. By Friday, I have read whatever the latest news is on the website. It will be another week before anything new goes up. The Anguilla Guide Forum has little to interest a resident. It is mainly for tourists. I fall back on the traditional means of keeping in touch in the islands: the drum. It’s modern form is email. So, please keep your messages coming. Or, you can correspond on the Blog itself. I publish every comment, no matter how uncomplimentary. The only ones that are deleted are uncalled-for attacks on other persons.

Personal attacks on me are OK. I do not understand why there have been so few of those!


  1. Our problems are over. This article appeared in The Anguillian, which conceals the date of its online articles by using some kind of date code. The date of this article is 2506/-1/140/.

    PR Office Ensuring Timely Information

    The Anguilla Government has taken a step towards improving its information services to the people of the island by setting up a Public Relations Division headed by Special Assistant, Curtis Richardson.

    The recent appointee functions in the Chief Minister’s Office which has responsibility for Information and Broadcasting.

    “The Government has recognised over the years that a lot of what it has accomplished has not really been disseminated to the public in a timely manner,” Mr. Richardson stated. “This information for the public is vital in order to inform the decision-making process. At times the information has not got out thereby creating a lot of mistrust and confusion.

    “The Government was aware of this throughout the whole campaign process and decided that this time something would be put in place that would really address those needs.”

    “With its Public Relations Division, the Government is hoping that its desire to be more open, accountable and transparent and to provide good governance for Anguilla would be visualised and realised.

    Mr. Richardson said efforts were underway to develop the type of public media the Government would like to see – whether by enhancing Radio Anguilla or possibly setting up a national television station which would be quite a costly venture. He added that in the meantime a GIS programme had started on Radio Anguilla and could be heard by listeners on Wednesdays at 12.30 noon.

    Mr. Richardson is a former Mathematics Teacher at the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School. He resigned his job to contest a seat in the General Election in February this year as a member of the Anguilla National Strategic Alternative (ANSA) headed by Edison Baird. He was one of three candidates who ran in District 6 (Road South) against the incumbent Hubert Hughes but lost.

    He subsequently joined the Government like his former ANSA colleague, Albert Hughes of District 7 (West End), who now serves as Parliamentary Secretary.

  2. One of the things that successive Governments in Anguilla have failed to embark on, over the years, has been the need to set up a proper machinery for the dissemination of public information. Not only has there been a lack of an in-house system, but there has been a failure by our leaders to effectively use the available media to channel timely and enlightening information to the people of the island.

    The present Government has learnt from its mistakes and has sought to remedy the situation by appointing a Special Assistant for Public Relations in the person of former Mathematics Teacher at the Comprehensive School, Curtis Richardson.

    --Editorial, The Anguillian, 1 July 2005

    So it's all right then.

  3. I have allowed this anonymous post which may appear to be a pointless attack on Curtis Richardson. It makes a valid point. Most if not all of the present Government's public relations problems can be traced back to an endemic failure to communicate the work of government to the public. We remember when, a few months ago, the Chief Minister promised to publicise the decisions of Executive Council. There was one release on what had been discussed in Cabinet that day. There was no follow up. Several meetings of Executive Council have occurred since then, without a single word being leaked into the public domaine as to what was discussed, and, more important, what was decided.

    This inconsistency has characterised much of the government's actions. It is the principal cause of the suspicion and distrust that prevails in so much of the community. And, the wonder of it all is that it is so easy to fix. The Chief Minister does not have to do like Hubert and rant and rave on the radio at every opportunity. He only has to instruct Curtis to ensure that all discussions and decisions of government are the subject of a press release and, where relevant, a press conference. What is Curtis doing?


  4. If I need heart surgery I am going to go to a specialist heart surgeon, not a baker. And if I need tutoring in maths I am going to go to someone like Mr Curtis Richardson and not an english teacher.

    I am no supporting of Mr Hayden Hughes, but he made a valid point some weeks ago about the appointment of Mr Richardson as a public relations personel. While his comments can easily be deemed as political motivated he is correct in what he said because the role of a public relations person is more than just releasing information to the public. Such jobs should go to specialist trained in public relations not someone with a maths background.

    If we do not get it right and put the right people in the right jobs and ensure that they do their jobs, instead of making 'political appointees' we will never develop and grow into the nation that we should be - we might as well let the British come in and take over.

  5. The solution to the audio timeshifting problem is podcasting: A recording of the radio broadcast in question, most easily taken from the webcast at the time in question, and posted somewhere for download later.

  6. The whole culture of governance is backwards. Here we are, trying to justify openness in government, when it is our leaders who should be justifying their secrecy.

    Begging them to be more open has failed. Let's quit doing that. Let's seek a solution that will be effective, and that doesn't require us to beg for handouts. Massa day done.

    The solutions in more politically advanced countries are the democratic institutions that have been recommended by both the Constitutional Committee and the Constitutional Commission. Freedom of information, open meetings, a police commission, a professional public service commission and an ombudsman with unlimited judicial powers of inquiry.

    I expect that our elected representatives have considered these things and see them as annoyances. I expect them to claim Anguilla is too small to have such things, and can't afford them. I expect them to throw us some bone to distract us. I am tired of their sloganeering and outdated cliches. I am tired, disappointed, frustrated and angry.

    I believe I speak for many others in saying I am counting on you, Justice Mitchell, to ensure that these basic democratic institutions are guaranteed to the people in our new constitution. Thank you ever so much for your good work.


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