16 November, 2007

EIAs Again

Commitment No 5: Commit to Open and Consultative Decision-making on Developments and Plans which may Affect the Environment; Ensure that Environmental Impact Assessments include Consultation with Stakeholders. This was the fifth commitment made by the government of Anguilla, like other OT governments which in the year 2001 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. The Report measures performance by the year 2007 of UKOTs and the UK Government in implementing the 2001 Environment Charters. A copy of his 19-page Report can be read [link here].

According to the Report, Anguilla is not living up to this commitment. We are not alone. Only Turks and Caicos, BVI, Montserrat, Jersey, Gibraltar and Falkland Islands do better than we do. So, EIAs are generally not publicly available to community and peer review with time for comment before decision. There is no public enquiry system or decision independent of parties and government. The decision process is not open with reasons given. Any policy development is not open to public consultation. It is not unusual for the Anguilla administration to send its environmental expert an environmental assessment prepared by an investor’s tame consultant with a note on it to the effect that the project has already been approved, and no comment or recommendation he makes will be taken account of.

We can conclude that the Anguilla government has taken a deliberate decision to abandon environmental concerns in exchange for rapid over-development. The outcome is clear to all of us. Future generations will pay for the short-sightedness and greed of our present policymakers and decision makers.


  1. http://tinyurl.com/28dkwe

    A Luxury Travel Blog
    November 14, 2007
    Viceroy Anguilla prepares to open

    "The Viceroy Anguilla is hosting a beach clean up next Saturday, 24th November 2007. Viceroy Anguilla Resorts & Residences wants to do their part to keep Anguilla’s beaches pristine and plans to host similar events when the resort opens in the summer."


    Government failed to exercise any real control over what Viceroy would do to the environment. They were allowed to make major changes to the terrain, which resulted in tonnes of mud washing into the ocean and causing siltation to the northern reefs. If any assessment has been made of how this may have killed or damaged our reefs, it is a State Secret. Remedial measures seem to consist of Viceroy erecting a silt fence near the beach. Silt fencing is effective only for light flows of water-borne silt, not for tonnes of mud. As far as I am aware, this disastrous situation continues today, and our environmental agencies are either silent, or attempt to distract us with unrelated achievements.

    Greed rules.

  2. Lynne Featherstone (Hornsey & Wood Green, Liberal Democrat) [link here]

    I apologise if I strayed too far from the track, Madam Deputy Speaker.

    Al-Yamamah is not the only problem. I fully concur with the Committee's support for DFID's new strategic objectives, especially the promotion of good governance, but I have to return to a consideration of how we operate in the UK. When the Nigerian dictator, General Sani Abacha, was looting billions from Nigeria, $1.3 billion ended up in 23 London banks, making them a profit at the expense of the neediest people in Nigeria. Much that is honourable and good is done in the City, not least the creation of jobs and wealth, but there is a dark, rotten secret—complicity in financial crime and its concealment.

    Offshore tax havens play a key role in corruption and the vast majority are based in countries closely connected with the UK because they are Crown dependencies or overseas territories. Many of those financial operations are run by the subsidiaries of major international banks operating in the UK. The tax havens may not be within immediate reach of a memo from No. 10, but there is no doubt that the British Prime Minister wields huge influence. The UK Government must do more to put pressure on our companies, our financial systems and our dependencies and overseas territories.


    Ann McKechin (Glasgow North, Labour)

    I commend the Department for International Development for its work. As a Member of the Select Committee, and having seen its work first-hand on a number of occasions, I feel that we should be proud of the palpable dedication of many of its staff, particularly abroad blah blah...

    The second issue that I want to raise today is that of environment. It has been the subject of a great deal of debate, and the Government's commitment to the World Bank fund and to the area of research is welcome. Some people airily declare that it is perfectly feasible to plant solar panels and wind turbines in health clinics and schools throughout remote rural communities as a means of combating the problem. However, we need research and policy development to see how to manufacture renewable technology in the regions themselves at sufficiently low cost to be affordable and to have the reliability and easy maintenance required to meet the environments in which they will be located. That is no easy task and, by definition, it means developing a whole range of skills that could be picked up by large numbers of people. I sometimes think that that is more of a challenge than the inventions themselves. We also need to help low-income countries to retain their low-carbon status, while at the same time being able to invest in areas that will achieve greater economic growth. The capacity for such long-term strategic planning is currently low and I believe that the UK and other major donors can contribute significantly to this field.

    There have been concerns that the funding required for adaptation over the next decade will swamp the existing Overseas Development Administration commitments, so we need to consider now the innovative solutions required to bring in this extra finance. In his report, Sir Nicholas Stern estimated that we need an extra 10 per cent. on top of existing estimates for aid requirement. The UK has been a world leader in innovative funding through the international finance facility and UNITAID.

    May I take this opportunity to recommend that Ministers look at the report, launched last week, of the all-party group on debt, aid and trade, of which I am the Chair? The report looked into the possibility of having a sterling stamp duty on all sterling foreign exchange transactions. At a rate of only 0.005 per cent. it would generate £2.4 billion a year. I would like the Government to consider that report and undertake research into whether it could be used as part of a new funding mechanism. As I said, it is not just the quality of aid that is important; we also need more on quantity as well.

  3. "Lynne Featherstone" showing what we have been saying all along: the British don't give a damn about us, and will continue not to give a damn about us. They never have, and they never will.

  4. To point out that tax havens are sometimes misused and that better regulatory control needs to be exercised over them is not evidence that the Member or the British don't care about us. She is, in fact, speaking the truth, as I believe we will see quite soon in Justice Mitchell's comments on the UK National Audit Office report.

    The Member, in fact, has an excellent record on human rights, and is being most supportive of the people of the Overseas Territories, including the Chagossians.

    These thinly-disguised race hate messages about the British are immature and childish.

  5. Let me see if I get this straight.

    A Bandit Who Doesn't Move calling itself a "nation-state" (Mancur Olsen's words, wish they were mine) steals a billion or two from its citizens at tax time, and wires it to another "nation-state" south of the Tropic of Cancer in "foreign aid". Or, more likely, to the receiving "state's" bank account in the "donating" "state's" capitol.

    Whereupon that previously stolen money is stolen by a not-so-sessile tinpot kleptocrat calling himself a "head of state", who then wires it to yet another "nation" (stateless, at the moment) south of the Tropic of Cancer (Anguilla or the Caymans), or north of Tropic of Capricorn (Vanuatu?), or wherever, who then, in turn, wires it *back* to the "donating" nation's capitol, in presumably, but not necessarily, another bank, or banks, under said tinpot's name, this time.

    So. "The People" -- actually politicians claiming to represent "The People", said politicians usually having lost their right to be called actual "people" themselves, usually at birth, or by some form of childhood mutilation, be it physical, mental, or emotional, but definitely losing their humanity sometime shortly after their first election -- have been ripped off, certainly. At tax time. Well, real people were, people who actually earn their money, not "The People", see above. And all the other stuff is mere window dressing. To paraphrase Shaw, we're past discussing what it really was and are now merely discussing details, like who eventually got all the swag.

    Put it this way: The "theft" was the money for the "foreign aid" in the first place. That some cookie-cutter shark lunged out of the depths of iniquity, and took a little round bite out of Leviathan, is mere theatre. And, for that matter, since we're talking about cookie cutting sharks, it's, heh, Just Desserts. :-)

    It's not having free (as in liberty, not as in beer) places to keep one's assets theoretically unmolested from the depredations of Bandits Who Don't Move that's the problem, here. It's the on-going operations of those Bandits in the first place.

    Of course, that's all moot these days anyway. The exponential increase of politicians to legislate (Moore's Law begat the word processor, e-mail, PDF files, and Blackberries, all the better to legislate with, or play solitaire -- hyperbloviation and playing games being the two primary functions of legislative computing the world over), coupled with increasingly ubiquitous geodesic internetworks (Moore's Law, again...), means that, soon, everything will be illegal, everywhere, all at the same time. It has various acronyms now: FINCEN, PATRIOT, WOD, GWOT, etc., but it' s the same old stuff.

    Kinda like the Dark Ages, when the church (there being only one at the time, the law said so, and killed you if you said otherwise...) made everything immoral everywhere all the time, to better maximize *its* income; but that's a sermon for another day...

    It would be nice to say that "Massa State's Day's Done!" and get said Bandits out of your pockets, and mine, once and for all, but I don't think that's gonna happen anytime soon. We'll just have to settle for watching said political theater on TV with our milk and cookies at bedtime, and hope to at least have dreams of freedom while we sleep, if not actual freedom itself when dawn finally comes.

  6. Anguilla Financial services commission has a website. This is suppose to be an independent body. If there is any corruption , the Governor and by extension the British Government has full responsibility for it. When they took it away from local government , it was because they could do a better job with anti-corruption laws. How are we doing so far?



    We have a legitimate suspicion that environmentalism is only a cover for take over of our land and resources, and we have a right to view foreign environmental interest in Anguilla with suspicion.

    Our suspicion is that Anguilla is being set-up for bio-prospecting and bio-piracy and environmental exploitation.

    The British chemist Conrad
    Gorinsky, registered the property of the tipir plant as his finding.

    Before applying for the patent Mr. Gorinsky lived with the natives in the Amazon jungle and studied their way of using the plant.

    Similarly foreign companies have claimed generic material of the meca plant, a well known sex-enhancing root used in herbal remedies among the natives of Peru, as long ago as the time of the Inca empire.

    Patents for properties in thousands of African plants have been filed. To name just a few the brazzein- a plant protein 500 times sweeter than sugar;the African soap berry; the zulu cowpea; teff; thaumatin - a naturral sweetener from a plant in West Africa.

    Bio-science is big business and what we want is truth and transparency.

    We are tired of pirates.

  8. Yes, there have been, and continue to be today, instances where native peoples and Third World countries have been ripped off by bioprospecting pirates.

    I, an Anguilian Belonger, have been in discussion just this week with two ethical scientific organisations about the possibility of doing bioprospecting in the Overseas Territories. One of the basic assumptions is that all licensing revenues would go to the respective OT governments.

    The thinly-disguised race hatred concealed in the attack by a poster who calls herself "we" (but is not the Queen or the Pope) is unseemly. Concern for the kind of Anguilla we leave to those who come after us is not a foreign plot to rip off our people. If it were, we would see our elected leaders taking a far greater interest in the environment.

  9. if bio piracy is what we are worried about then we need to act with some urgency to establish policy and regulation to prevent and prohibit other from claiming or placing patents on discoveries of plant products or remedies customarily used here in Anguilla.We cant sit back and waituntil they have attained rights to what ever they so called dscovered and then try to get it back.That might be too late and just a futile act.We are a young and upcomimg country who can learn alot from other countries mistakes or shortcomings.We have to be prudent and exercise caution whendealing with outsiders who are more experienced and cunning then we are in terms of projecting into the future.We are by no means close to the experienceand brilliance of these crafty professionals who are bent on running scams on us to sucker us out of our birthright.In a way we have to adapt a socialist attitude to make all our natural resources the sole property of the people and so prevent others from exploitiing us for their own selfish gain.
    Anguilla is ours and all its natural resources should remain national and not in the hands of foreigners.

  10. Most of the following is from a report by DEFRA, the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs: http://tinyurl.com/2y388f

    Developing countries, non-governmental organisations and the media are well aware of the issue of “misappropriation” or “biopiracy” (i.e. when material is “illegally” acquired - without the consent of the providing country). There is a steady and growing stream of publicity focusing on the alleged failure to comply with ABS requirements, which reflects adversely on the reputation of organisations in developed countries.

    The situation of the Overseas Territories is pressing, given the general lack of awareness and clarity of the applicable law, and the potential for much more significant returns. A number of biodiversity-rich OTs have expressed urgent concerns about bioprospecting issues.

    The list of biodiversity ‘hotspots’ proposed by Conservation International, includes several OTs. The Caribbean region, which includes Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos is considered to be in the top 5 of the 25 world hotspots.

    Since the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was signed in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the rights of States over their natural resources extend to their authority to determine access to genetic resources. The Convention covers for the first time the issue of “access” to “genetic resources” and requires “the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits” derived from their utilisation.

    Ethical companies willing to share the rewards of bioprospecting with us will have nothing to do with us, as we have neither regulations nor procedures to which they can agree.

    UK acts on behalf of OTs regarding foreign policy and, in the case of international treaties, they extend to OTs only if the OTs so decide. Cooperation and coordination on the development of policies on CBD issues between the respective OTs and the appropriate authorities in London is undertaken by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

    Ratification to the CBD was extended to British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar and St Helena and dependencies (i.e. Ascension and Tristan da Cunha). Bermuda, the Falklands and Turks & Caicos Islands have all expressed an interest/are working towards having UK ratification extended too.

    Anguilla seems to have expressed no interest in such protection.

  11. hmmm i wonder why the BVI was so anxious to get Anguilla to agree to agree to the extension of the 3mile boundary this give them more area call their own and who knows what hidden natural resource treasures lie within this extended boundary?We seems to be asleep with our eyes open and just allow others to infringe on our territory at will.
    Please Anguilla and
    gov't stop making arbitary and unilateral decisions that probally will adversely affect us as a whole.Embark on a study of the proposal before leaping in blindly and committing disastrous acts.Remeber once they are signed they are irreversible and totally binding by law.
    Protect Anguilla and all of us who dwell here from these scam artists and criminal minded who elect to prey on us.
    Anguilla forever


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