Has the Blog Served a Useful Purpose? Has the exercise been worthwhile? There have been some successes, but more failures. Let us look at some of both of them.
Successes: The police have started to use the media more effectively. They have proven much more efficient and professional than we originally assumed when the Blog began. They have recruited highly trained professionals. They have made several arrests that they can justifiably be proud of.
The community has become more actively involved in protesting against injustice. Anguillians have learned again how to demonstrate to express their views.
The print and radio media are more confrontational now, as they should be. The Anguillian Newspaper has published its first editorials critical of government within the last six months. The radio call-in programmes “Talk Your Mind”, “To the Point”, “The Mayor’s Show”, and “Social Solutions” have all begun in recent months to tackle previously taboo subjects.
Failures: On the other hand, our government has not embraced transparency, despite frequent promises. Very few government plans or policies are published. Just a few short months ago, the government press office started sending out press releases on Cabinet meetings and other government initiatives and activities. We got the first summary of Cabinet discussions. The promise was that it would be a regular thing. Then, it dried up. Now, it seems the press office only sends out bland official releases prepared by various government agencies and long, boring ministerial speeches prepared by civil servants.
The environment is under increasing threat. Environmental degradation continues unchecked. Environmental Impact Assessments are still a joke.
Land development scams continue to flourish, without any discouragement from the authorities.
Conflicts of interest at high levels have not been confronted and dealt with.
Youth gangsterism continues to increase.
Human trafficking and exploitation of foreigners continues, and increases daily.
The Public Accounts Committee shows no sign of beginning to function. The Opposition is still disorganized.
Sometimes, it seems that no headway is being made.
And, then the main reason this Blog was started. The failure of our leadership to push for constitutional reform along the lines preferred by a majority of Anguillians as published in the August 2006 Constitutional Commission Report. The constitutional review process has remained essentially stalled. There was a promising but temporary revival of official interest in March, April, May, June and July, after some digging principally from the radio and press. But, a failure of vision at the highest levels continues unabated. As this was one of the main reasons for starting this Blog, it has to be counted a major failure.
Is this too pessimistic?
On usefulness, I give the Blog a score of 5 out of 10.