30 October, 2007

Environment Forum

Commitment No 1: To Bring Together Governmental Departments, Representatives of Local Industry and Commerce, Environment and Heritage Organisations, the Governor’s Office, Individual Environmental Champions and other Community Representatives in a Forum to Formulate a Detailed Strategy for Action. This was the first commitment made by the government of Anguilla when in the year 2001 it signed up to an Environmental Charter [link here]. Dr Mike Pienkowski is the Chairman of the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum. He was engaged as a consultant to examine how we were performing under our Charter. He prepared a Report of August 2007. He calls it “Measures of Performance by 2007 of UKOTs and UK Government in Implementing the 2001 Environment Charters or their Equivalents”. A copy of his 19-page Report can be read [link here].

According to the Report, Anguilla has done quite well in living up to this first commitment. We have assembled a group to develop and manage strategy for action, unlike Cayman Islands and the BVI. The group has developed a strategy for action, unlike Gibraltar. We have named a Minister responsible for carrying out the implementation forward and ensuring reporting on progress, unlike St Helena. We have named officials designated and resourced to coordinate across departments and other partners unlike the Falkland Islands and Pitcairn Islands. We have NGOs resourced by government to provide an independent monitoring and reporting mechanism, unlike most of the other BOTs. We have a strategy implemented and monitored as an ongoing process, unlike most of the other territories. We alone have annual reports produced on progress achieved and plans for the forthcoming year. Funding is more complicated. It appears that government only partly funds recurrent expenditure and projects to implement the Charter strategy. Additionally, we do not yet maintain a fund ear-marked for the environment.

After that, as we shall see, it is almost all downhill so far as Anguilla is concerned.


  1. The Anguilla National Trust has just published the following



    In an attempt to help protect the world’s distinctive places through wisely managed tourism and enlightened destination stewardship, National Geographic’s Centre for Sustainable Destinations (CSD) surveyed conditions on 111 selected islands and archipelagos in its fourth annual Destination Scorecard survey. The survey reflects evaluations made by a panel of 522 well-travelled experts representing a variety of fields, including ecology, sustainable tourism, geography, travel writing and photography, site management, historic preservation, indigenous cultures and archaeology.

    In the survey, reported in the November-December 2007 National Geographic Traveller magazine, Anguilla received a score of 70 points placing it in 37th position from among the 111 islands and 4th among Caribbean islands with only Dominica, The Grenadines and St. John (USVI) being ranked above the island once dubbed Tranquillity Wrapped in Blue. According to the scoring key provided by the experts, with a score of 70, Anguilla is classified as having minor difficulties. The panel of experts which included representation from Anguilla characterised the island as having “Tremendous aesthetic appeal with pristine beaches and healthy reef system. Tourism is up-market and low density. Large hotels have altered formerly pristine coastal settings, damaged archaeological sites, and required the importation of labour.”

    The panel, aided by George Washington University, considered the qualities that make these island destinations unique - the “integrity of place” – using six criteria weighted according to importance: environmental and ecological quality; social and cultural integrity; condition of historic buildings and archaeological sites; aesthetic appeal; quality of tourism management; and outlook for the future.

    In what amounts to both commendation and constructive criticism to some of the Anguilla’s tourism policies presently being employed, the panel of experts rationalised the island’s ranking by explaining, “The Island has eschewed large cruise ships, minimizing the impact of thousands of day-trippers. Islanders are aware of Anguilla’s special providence and aren’t selling it off at the pace seen on other Caribbean islands.” They however, observed that while “The beaches are gorgeous…it is becoming a place only the ultra-rich can enjoy.”

    In explaining the reason for undertaking the study, CSD Director Jonathan Tourtellot said, “Islands symbolise vacation. Their very insularity makes them more attractive than a comparable piece of real estate on the mainland…But as micro-worlds, islands are also more vulnerable to population pressure, climate change, storm damage, invasive species and now, tourism overkill.”

    While Denmark’s Faroe Islands and Portugal's Azores received the highest scores, the publishing of the survey’s findings is intended to serve as motivation for those islands that did not fare too well to take strong decisions to ensure an upward move. The magazine’s Editor in Chief, Keith Bellows admits that the promotion of sustainable tourism and sustainable destinations is “a work in progress, a snapshot in time. We hope that places at the bottom of our Destination Scorecard won’t be there for long. We’re interested in constructive criticism, not condemnation.”

    For Anguilla, the survey results expose the need for a greater focus on “Geo-Tourism” (i.e. tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of the place being visited - its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents). The island’s scorecard highlighted issues of stewardship with the hope that tourism development on the island is placed on the political and social agendas for active discussion and debate. END

  2. Some of us appear to be more concern about animals, birds and rodents than our own children. Here is a very serious environmental concern I have. I understand that some schools in Anguilla are using what is called portable classrooms. Of course if you are in California you may hear them refered to as bungalows. In the South they may be called Trailors. Anyway, my great concern about these type of structures on Anguilla is the health risk. Such structures have been plagued with mold issues. Now why would we bring in this type of unit when we can't even test for mold in AXA. Another major concern is the lead and formaldehyde in some of these structures. Did anyone from the Education department seek assistance in checking out these units before using them as classrooms.

    Perhaps I should find out more information about what is being used in my little AXA before I alarm anyone any further. If anyone has the name of the company that manufactures these units, it will be helpful to find out if there have been other concerns about this particular Lot. But, from what I have seen it is not advisable to be enclose in these structures for more than a few hours. I am begging the authorities in AXA to rethink putting our little kids at serious health risk. They should not be housed for any extended period in this structure. It may look nice and feel comfortable. But remember the air the kids breathe in is invisible. Little Shawn or Susie may not know what has them sneezing all night. Or why mommy has to take them to the Emergency room to be nebulize.

    Obviously, I'm not on AXA to check this out for myself. But I would be very cautious about housing children in these units when all over the USA they have big debates about the health risk. Most kids can suffer serious asthma and allergy attacks.

  3. What is this, election time already? Our Government has its own Public Relations Officer to put out Happy-Talk about how wisely and thoughtfully the island is being developed. So does the Tourist Board. I thought the primary job of the National Trust was to be an advocate of environmental conservation, to bring some balance to the pro-development attitude that our elected leaders must necessarily support.

    Is this the position of the ANT governing council, that ANT should simply echo the excuses of the United Front, the Viceroys and sand miners?

  4. What is this junk propaganda doing here? Lod, I thought I'd gone to "The Anguillian" website or gov.ai by mistake! I thought this was a serious discussion of the Environmental Charter.

    Is there someone who doesn't want us to discuss the Charter? Is someone running for cover? If so, why?

  5. It has come to this, that the National Trust are acting like house slaves? "Massa day done." Watch me:

    "Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."

    -Frederick Douglass, civil rights activist, August 4, 1857

  6. I, too, must question whether it is the remit of ANT to help blow Curtis Richardson's public relations trumpet. If this is so, who then is left to speak for the continuing health of our beaches, the cleanliness of our waters or the biodiversity of our coral reefs?

  7. Who in Anguilla was consulted about the extension of the territorial limit which came into force today ?

    Statutory Instrument 2007 No. 2916

    The Anguilla (Territorial Sea) Order 2007

    Made 10th October 2007
    Coming into force 31st October 2007

    "This Order extends the boundaries of the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla so as to include, as territorial sea, the sea within twelve nautical miles of the baselines of Anguilla, together with its seabed and subsoil, and makes other provisions in this connection."

  8. Who was consulted about the 12-mile limit? I'm sorry, you must be from someplace else. On our planet the Anguillian people are consulted once every five years, each of us gets to choose among the many persons of great wisdom who try to out-promise each other for our vote, and then just about everything is a State Secret for a next five years.

    Perhaps you should read this again:

    "Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."

  9. Why don't some of you people educated yourself on the issues first before you run your mouth on this site.

    What do you prefer, a territorial sea of 3 miles or one of 12? Do you even know what is meant by territorial sea? It is not something to be consulted about, it is a given right for all coastal states, which Anguilla did not have until today. So be thankful and find something else to rant about.

  10. Do any of you know what is meant by territorial sea?

  11. It's now a fact, Osbourne Fleming will not be running in the next election. Curtis will go work for his brother in construction. And finally, we can get serious people elected who understands running an island. How much longer must we sit by and watch the elders destroy our country so they can live in comfort luxury in retirement?

    I hope Anguillians have enough sense this time around not to elect anyone who is retired and looking to politics as their means to wealth. After wasting their youthful years on individualism, women and vanity, they now want to turn politician. Well we have seen what the elders are doing. It's time now for a new generation of leaders.

    Now about the Environmental Charter, It is wriiten in a language not for ailing politicians to follow. We need leaders to implement the Charter.

    Britain does not need to consult anyone in Anguilla about matters involving maritime markers. As much as I dislike some of the British actions towards the islands, in recent times she has shown more of an interest in the islands than those elected to govern. Now that we have technology and more access to information across the net, our leaders cannot blindly blame the British for everything gone wrong.

    There are numerous outdated legislations on our books that our incapable leaders are clueless on how to get started. They rather make short sighted decisions in a hurry instead of doing the public work.

    Is it so hard for them to place a 10 year moratorium on foreign development and large scale projects on coastal and beach lands? NO, the nicompoops rather talk about beach front and ignore the coast. As if there is a major difference on a 2x4 island.

    May God have mercy on us, when the wrath of of a Cat 4 Hurricane and sea surges unleash its power on our little rock.

  12. The Territorial issue also means that BVI now has access to waters closer to SOmbrero. But that issue is now solve and Sombrero remains with ANguilla.

    That part of the boundary was always in contention. With this STatute all is now well. However, I do agree the people should have been involved in these discussions. An interested public is an informed public.

  13. Anguillian fishermen should now know that the fishing area south west of Sombrero belongs to the BVI. The BVI had much discussion. They have won more sea area and Anguilla has lost some. Over 75% of BVI is National Parks and protected from fishing. Are you amaze they wanted more of ANguilla sea for fishing?

    Here is why there should have been public consultation or HOuse of Assembly debate.

    The United Kingdom government has enacted an order which extends the British Virgin Islands’ territorial sea from 3 to 12 nautical miles from the shoreline.

    Deputy Governor Elton Georges said that the BVI has been pursuing such an extension of its territorial waters since 1991, when Executive Council first requested the 12-mile limit.

    Before the waters could be extended, however, the BVI was required to agree on its maritime boundaries with the United States Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Anguilla. The U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico boundary was agreed in 1995, but it took a further 10 years until the boundary with Anguilla was settled.

    Mr. Georges explained that a territorial sea is that part of the waters surrounding a country where its laws are deemed to apply.

    “There is particular relevance for customs and immigration enforcement, anti-narcotics activity, marine environmental protection and shipping,” he said, noting that a country generally has certain safety and rescue responsibilities inside its territorial waters.

    Since 1977 the BVI has also had an Exclusive Fisheries Zone, which gives the Territory exclusive rights, under international law, to the fishery resource within 200 nautical miles of the BVI’s territorial boundary.

    The Deputy Governor said that the extension of the territorial sea now clears the way for establishment of a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone around the BVI. Such a zone would give the Territory exclusive rights to a broader array of economic and natural resources, including oil and mineral resources on the seabed.

    The Virgin Islands (Territorial Sea) Order 2007, which came into effect on August 15, was made in accordance with the UK’s Colonial Boundaries Act of 1895. It was published in the Virgin Islands Official Gazette in September.


    1. A nautical mile is 1,852 meters, or 1.15 geographical miles. It is equal to one minute of latitude along any meridian.

    2. The Virgin Islands (Territorial Sea) Order 2007 was made on July 25, 2007; came into force on August 15, 2007; and was published in the Virgin Islands Official Gazette on September 20, 2007. It may be downloaded in its entirety at www.bvigazette.org.

    3. In December 1991, Executive Council agreed to request that the United Kingdom extend the BVI’s territorial sea 12 nautical miles from the low-water of the coast.

    4. On November 5, 1993 the boundary between Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands was agreed upon via Treaty between the U.S. and U.K., which was ratified on June 1, 1995.

    5. In 2002, a compromise boundary between Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands was agreed upon. The main sticking point in the protracted negotiations was the weight to be given to the island of Sombrero which is accepted as belonging to Anguilla, but formerly had been named as part of the Virgin Islands.

    6. On July 11, 2005, in Royal Prerogative No. 49 of 2005, the boundary between Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands was formally established.

    7. The international law referred to in the fifth paragraph of this news release is primarily the United Nations Law of the Sea.

  14. Correction SOuth favors Anguilla while North Favors BVI.

    Source; The ANguillian

    BOUNDARY BENEFITS ANGUILLA, BVI Anguillians Fishing South Of Sombrero
    Publishing date: 15.07.2005 10:53

    The maritime boundary between Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands has now been formally established, ending a longstanding matter between the Governments of the two territories.

    The new boundary was established by joint Proclamations issued on Monday, July 11, by Anguilla’s Governor, Alan Huckle, and the Governor of the BVI, Tom Macum. A press released from the Governor’s Office here states that the UK Government will now be taking steps, as agreed by the two Governments, to extend the territorial sea of each territory from 3 to 12 miles.

    The release points out that the maritime boundary was agreed to by the territories in 2002 following extended negotiations facilitated by the UK Government. The technical and legal advice was provided by the UK Hydrographic Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The agreed boundary replaces the median line which was used previously on a provisional basis when Anguilla and the BVI established their Fisheries Zones. The new boundary represents a compromise agreement between the then Governments of the territories which has since been confirmed by the current Administrators. The boundary is an all-purpose one, taking into account the fisheries zones and continental shelves of the territories.

    The boundary was under discussion for many years. The issue was first raised with the territories by the UK Government in 1991. The negotiations began in 1993 and the boundary was eventually agreed upon in 2002. The difference of opinion causing the initial delay in agreement was about the extent to which Sombrero Island should be taken into account in determining the boundary. Anguilla wanted 100% consideration to be given to the 94-acre Sombrero Island, (which is part of its territory and has supported a manned lighthouse and phosphate mining in the past). The BVI on the other hand wanted 50% consideration to be given to White Horse, an uninhabited rock standing three feet above the high water mark on the Horseshoe Reef south of Anegada.

    The territories eventually arrived at a compromise agreement. Sombrero has been given full consideration south of 19 03.58 N to the advantage of Anguilla. BVI is compensated for this further north (ignoring White Horse), giving an overall weight of 75% to Sombrero. The Governments regarded this as the best solution and it is felt that neither territory has benefited more than the other.

    It has been pointed out in briefing notes by the Governor’s Office that the way the neutral boundary has been delimited, Anguilla and its fishermen have the benefit of fishing in the south. “As Anguilla’s fishermen tend to fish nearer to shore, in shallower water, it is to their advantage that Anguilla received the benefit of Sombrero in the south (nearer this island), and not in the north where the boundary is cutting through much deeper water further offshore,” it was stated.

    The new maritime boundary between Anguilla and BVI will be notified to the UN Secretary General as well as to regional islands and organisations. Anguilla’s boundary is now delimited on its western border. It was ratified with the US Virgin Islands in June 1995 and with St. Martin and Saba I January 1997. Agreement was reached with Saba in 1994 but remains to be ratified. Anguilla’s eastern border with Antigua and Barbuda is still to be agreed.

  15. Please note that the information posted By Anonymous October 31, 2007 6:09 PM was found on the website "BVIonline".

  16. So last week, the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE released their "Islands Ratings" for sustainable travel to island destinations throughout the world. On a scale of 1 to 100, Guide to the Islands Ratings Scores:
    > 0-25: Catastrophic: all criteria very negative, outlook grim.
    >26-49: In serious trouble.
    >50-65: In moderate trouble: all criteria medium-negative or a mix of negatives and positives.
    >66-85: Minor difficulties.
    >86-95: Authentic, unspoiled, and likely to remain so.
    >96-100: Enhanced.

    in which the Caribbean average was 58. For the 30 islands rated:

    St. Thomas got a 37 --- IN SERIOUS TROUBLE ---
    the LOWEST of all 30 islands rated in the Caribbean region (St. John 70, St. Croix 53, BVI 66).

    SO --- in a brilliant and practically instantaneous riposte, the St. Thomas Coastal Zone Commission approved TWO MORE OVERPROMISED, OVERBUILT, OVERCAPITALIZED DEVELOPMENTS right on the coast where they can have maximum visual and anti-aesthetic effect while creating maximum storm risk for the time when the island gets a REALLY serious hurricane (unlike the wispy little Marilyn in 1995 that as a CATEGORY THREE broke every power line on the island).

    But tourism interests in St. Thomas don't really need to worry too much, because the folks in St. John seem intent on approving several more new, REALLY UGLY, REALLY OUT-OF-SCALE developments on St. John, so they won't look so good in the future, and the US Department of Homeland Security is making it harder and harder for people to go to the BVI, so local tourism can continue to bloom . . . maybe. . . . he said whistling by the cemetery.

    Nice work.

    Here's what National Geographic's panel of geo-tourism experts said about St. Thomas (see the whole story at www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler):

    >Score: 37
    > "A mess-too many cruise ships disgorging their passengers into the small town. Totally spoiled and low-quality, high-volume destination."
    >"The main town is essentially one big, ugly jewelry store, but the island is nice outside of the main town."
    >"Must have been a lovely place before it became the shopping mall for cruise ships. Still some pretty beaches away from the shoppers and stunning views from steep hills."
    >"Once upon a time, St. Thomas was the most beautiful island in the Caribbean, with sculpted peaks and deep coves. It's all developed now, and the pressure of up to ten cruise ships in a day (almost 2 million arrivals a year) erases that natural beauty. The native population is unfriendly, with a coldness that borders on outright hostility."

  17. It's an interesting subject, but has been used in an attempt to distract people from discussing how well Anguilla has done with regard to our Environmental Charter. I guess we could discuss how much better Anguilla has done than St. Thomas, but is that because of our wise leadership and thoughtful environmental stewardship, or simply because things were so backward here for so many generations that no one had the money to mess the environment too badly?

    I believe we need to continue having an objective discussion about the Environmental Charter, without any shouting, without any "Hey look at me!" and without any frantic flag waving.

  18. We have two primary agencies to protect the land environment: the Environmental Department and the National Trust.

    The Environmental Department is located in the offices of, and is responsible to, the Chief Minister. The CM is also the Minister of Lands, and is at the centre of discussions about unsustainable development. He is also Chairman of the Board at CCB. Banks thrive on economic development. So do political parties. The CM's position on development is obvious to even the blind. It would be unrealistic to expect the Environmental Department to fight with their boss over issues of unsustainability. Thus we do not see them out at Viceroy demanding that they stop allowing tonnes of mud to wash into the sea, destroying our reefs, every time there's a heavy rain. They are silent. They are relegated to non-political non-issues like counting birds' nests and exterminating rats on Dog Island. They don't mess with the 200+ goats out there that are doing all the damage. The goats belong to a voter. In India they have sacred cows. We think that's strange. Here we have sacred goats and no one thinks anything of it.

    So that leaves the National Trust in charge of trying to conserve what we have for those who come after us. Like Social Security, they're doing so well that they have time to put our press releases about how healthy Anguilla's environment is.

    Social Security has failed and refused to reveal any information on past due contributions. They are intentionally hiding that information from us. What is it they don't want us to know and why are they distracting us with rites and ceremonies about their successes? This is like the RAPF giving a press conference about all the people who didn't commit any crimes this week, in order to distract us from all the people who were robbed.

    We have a problem with unsustainable practices and the National Trust wants to talk about other matters. What are they hiding? Why are they hiding it? What is going on at ANT that they don't want us to know?.

    Some of us have been complaining that the CM must address this problem. He has failed to do so. We continue making the same demands and whining the same complaints, and he continues to "develop the economy." It's time we realised this isn't working.

    What else can we do? We can look to the National Trust and demand that they do their job. What do members of the ANT Council see as the job of the trust with regard to unsustainable practices and what is being done about it?

  19. i am really baffled to hear of this extension of the territotrial limit from 3miles to 12 miles .Who exactly are the ones benefiting from this expansion??What are we to gain by such a move?What studies have been conducted to make sure that we are not giving up valueable natural resources to the BVI?Sometimes and in most instances there are ulterior motives for any country requesting such considerations.Remember 200miles is a long long distance and who knows what treasures lie in that radius.I sincerely hope that we are not conned into making concessions that would ultimately be to our detriment.


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