31 October, 2007


Chagos Islands

An email received today from Iain Orr of “BioDiplomacy” moved me to go online and do something I have only done once before: sign a petition. The email read:

This email goes as blind copies to friends in the UK Overseas Territories, seeking support for exiled islanders from another territory - British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The Chagossians' search for justice will be delayed if the FCO decides by 6 November to go ahead with a fourth attempt in the courts to deny them their right of return. There are thee ways you can help:

FIRST - Sign the petition on the number 10 website at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/chagosappeal/

That has a drop-down menu so that you can show where you are from. Names are not linked to territories on the petition, but those reporting to the Prime Minister and the FCO will be able to say if there is support from other territories, as well as from the UK. You have to be a British citizen to sign. I'd say that support from the UKOTs will count more than double (and other overseas territories might need support when you find HMG being a bully rather than a partner).

SECOND - forward this to friends and email groups in your and other territories - and in the UK,- giving them the opportunity to sign the petition.

THIRD - urge your local media to give publicity to a letter from a group of UK MPs, MEPs and members of the House of Lords which should appear in a UK daily paper on 2 November. Once published, the final text will be on the website of the UK Chagos Support Association (www.chagossupport.org.uk - which also has a great deal of background on the way the UK government has treated the Chagossians). The draft text is at the bottom of the enclosed document which shows that the Prime Minister's fine words in his recent speech "On Liberty" ring hollow when compared with the treatment over the years of the Chagossians. Local publicity might be linked to the current enquiry by the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) into the FCO and the overseas territories.

Chagossians deserve support. To see their faces, go to an excellent site for photos of the exiled Chagossian community in Mauritius by the photographer Phuc Quach at: http://www.phucquach.co.uk

Thank you


IAIN ORR, BioDiplomacy, 12 Otto Close, London SE26 4NA

It is very easy. Just follow his simple instructions above. If you don’t know what happened to the Chagos Islands, then shame on you. Don’t worry to do anything further!

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.

26 October, 2007


Government’s Commitments in Signing the Environmental Charter.

We are looking at how Anguilla fared during the recently concluded examination by a team of consultants from the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum [link here]. To understand what the consultants were looking for, we need to understand what it is that our government promised to do. The Environmental Charter [link here] signed on our behalf by the government of Anguilla in August 2001 contained a number of specific commitments. These were to the effect that the government of Anguilla will:

  1. Bring together government departments, representatives of local industry and commerce, environment and heritage organizations, the Governor’s office, individual environmental champions and other community representatives in a forum to formulate a detailed strategy for action.
  2. Ensure the protection and restoration of key habitats, species and landscape features through legislation and appropriate management structure and mechanisms, including a protected areas policy, and attempt the control and eradication of invasive species.
  3. Ensure that environmental considerations are integrated within social and economic planning processes; promote sustainable patterns of production and consumptions within the territory.
  4. Ensure that environmental impact assessments are undertaken before approving major projects and while developing our growth management strategy.
  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.
  6. Implement effectively obligations under Multilateral Environmental Agreements already extended to Anguilla and work towards the extension of other relevant agreements.
  7. Review the range, quality and availability of baseline data for natural resources and biodiversity.
  8. Ensure that legislation and policies reflect the principle that the polluter should pay for prevention or remedies; establish effective monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.
  9. Encourage teaching within schools to promote the value of our local environment (natural and built) and to explain its role within the regional and global environment.
  10. Promote publications that spread awareness of the special features of the environment in Anguilla; promote within Anguilla the guiding principles set out above.
  11. Abide by the principles set out in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and work towards meeting International Development Targets on the environment.

Those were our government’s promises to us when they signed up to this Environmental Charter. It is not much use signing up to a series of high-sounding promises if we do not keep to them. There are further legal implications. These commitments give rise to a legitimate expectation [link here] in the minds of Anguillians that government will live up to the promises they made to the people. If government fails in any significant way to uphold these promises, they lay themselves open to a lawsuit on the part of an affected citizen or resident of the island. The consequences can be costly. That is why it becomes necessary, from time to time, for someone to review our progress and to report on our achievements and failures, if we are to have an appreciation of how well or badly we are doing in meeting our commitments. That is what the recently concluded Overseas Territories Conservation Forum consultants did when they visited Anguilla and interviewed all the persons involved in environmental issues. Their Report does not place Anguilla in a very good light. To be fair, there are other Overseas Territories that fared just as badly when it comes to living up to their promises. We shall look at the Report next, and examine some of its conclusions.

24 October, 2007

Environmental Cost

Recent Environmental Workshop in the Cayman Islands. There is an interesting environmental article in today’s Cayman Net News. I interrupt a series of posts examining the working of the Anguilla Environmental Charter to bring you a mention of it.

Apparently, a group of environmental officials from the British Overseas Territories in the West Indies met there to discuss how to calculate the monetary value of our environments.

The experts hope to be able to help our decision makers become more aware of the need to do a cost benefit analysis. They must learn to take into account environmental and social values, and not just the direct financial considerations of development projects.

The truth is that there are no prices or values placed to our eco-system good and services. The natural and cultural environment is not like other financial assets that are traded in markets.

Unless our leaders can come to understand the economic value of our environment, they will be unable to make good decisions about projects and policies.

Who knows what value we lost when Mr Hodge sold all the sand at Windward Point.

What about the value of Sile Bay Beach. Was what Ronald got for the sand worth the cash he received? Was whatever fine he paid anywhere near the equivalent of what we lost?

Who represented Anguilla at this workshop?

Will we get a report on how what was learned will be put to work for Anguilla?

22 October, 2007

Environmental Charter

The Environmental Charter. In August of this year a team from the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum came to Anguilla. They interviewed all the major players in environmental protection on the island. They asked questions. They did their research. They have now published their report [link here]. We shall have a look at some of their findings on our progress on implementing our Environmental Charter. My reading is that Anguilla did not fare well. In some cases we came out very badly compared to other British Overseas Territories. Over the next few days, we are going to look at some of the findings. It will be interesting to learn from the experts in Anguilla whether the consultants got it correct. Did they misunderstand anything?

We should start the exercise by reminding ourselves what this is all about. On 26 September 2001, acting on behalf of itself and the people of Anguilla, the government of Anguilla signed up with the British government to an Environmental Charter [link here] which contained certain guiding principles. We promised then:

  1. To recognise that all people need a healthy environment for their well-being and livelihoods and that all can help to conserve and sustain it.
  2. To use our natural resources wisely, being fair to present and future generations.
  3. To identify environmental opportunities, costs and risks in all policies and strategies.
  4. To seek expert advice and consult openly with interested parties on decisions affecting the environment.
  5. To aim for solutions which benefit both the environment and development.
  6. To contribute towards the protection and improvement of the global environment.
  7. To safeguard and restore native species, habitats and landscape features, and control or eradicate invasive species.
  8. To encourage activities and technologies that benefit the environment.
  9. To control pollution, with the polluter paying for prevention or remedies.
  10. To study and celebrate our environmental heritage as a treasure to share with our children.

The Charter contains some explanatory notes. Each of the above promises was elaborated and developed to show the types of actions that government would take to honour its commitment.

This Charter amounted to a series of promises made by our government to the people of Anguilla. It created what the lawyers call a “legitimate expectation” that government would honour the various promises. Any development project on Anguilla that is permitted by the Land Development Board to go ahead without the requisite Environmental Impact Assessment, and the requisite follow-up public discussion, might be a breach of the promises made in paragraph 4 of the Charter.

We shall look at some of these details in the next post.

16 October, 2007

Health Authority

Is there something seriously wrong with the Health Authority of Anguilla?

First, we heard that the Board of the Authority was pressured by the Minister into resigning en masse.

Then, last month we learned that the surgeon at the Hospital had been told to go home.

Now, last night we heard on the radio that the Health Authority CEO has been given three months’ salary in lieu of notice, and told that his services are no longer needed.

Will somebody please enlighten us?

Why all this blood letting in the Hospital?

13 October, 2007

Fractional Ownership

“Fractional interests” in Anguilla. It was a straightforward question, “I am interested in purchasing a fractional interest in Ocean Terrace Condos. Will I get good title in Anguilla? Is it true there are no taxes?

A fractional interest is a form of shared ownership. For years, friends have come together to purchase a holiday villa together. The resulting industry that has developed is less than 10 years old [link here]. Where it is legal to give individual titles to owners of a fractional interests in real property, each owner receives a deed, either in fee simple or for a lease. When you are ready to sell your shares, you can deed them to a purchaser [link here]. Owners are typically provided with specific rights of use and other entitlements, restrictions, and more importantly, monthly charges. This type of holiday investment has recently become popular in resorts in North America [link here]. This new industry is perfectly legal in the USA and Canada and elsewhere. Not in Anguilla. Anguilla’s legal system does not permit the granting of a freely transferable title to a fractional interest in real property. I have previously published a post on the invalidity of such titles [link here].

I went on line and searched for Ocean Terrace Condos. I found them on The Anguilla Guide [link here]. Ocean Terrace’s websites offering the sale of fractional interests are here [link here] and here [link here] . Their website states that you can purchase a month “structured as a very long term lease (97 years)”. It states that the only cost is a fee of US$250.00 to "write up a contract." I could not believe it! They were still advertising the sale of fractional interests in apartments in Anguilla! So, I went to the enquiries page for Ocean Terrace and sent them an email, “Are you still advertising and selling fractional interests?” I had a response saying that they were. I enquired why they were doing such a thing when it was not legally possible. I have not had a satisfactory answer. I did find an effusive “advertorial” page on the internet claiming that someone called “Bret and Nancy” had bought one of the condos [link here]. They claim that they are entirely satisfied with their purchase. I have not yet found any evidence of anyone purchasing a “fractional interest” at Ocean Terrace.

A further search of the internet for "fractional interests" in Anguilla came up with a number of additional pages. An early promotion from the Flag Resorts project at Rendezvous Bay indicated they would offer “fractional interests” [link here]. Further research seems to indicate that Flag is no longer offering such interests for sale. I found a page suggesting that Rendezvous Bay Hotel would be offering “fractional interests” starting at US$250,000.00 [link here]. I have asked Alan Gumbs to explain what it is he is doing, but have not received a reply. I found a page on the Anguilla Guide which indicated there is at least one real estate company that is advertising “fractional interests” for sale [link here]. When I attempted to contact them it appeared the page was dead.

It is simply not true that you can get a legal title to a fractional interest in fee simple or for a lease of a condo in Anguilla. Four or five friends can join together to purchase an apartment together. They will be registered as “joint owners” or “owners in common”. They can do a lease in the same way. This type of ownership is legal, and has existed for hundreds of years. When the owners want to sell, they all have to join together to sign the Transfer Form or Assignment of Lease Form. This is not required in the case of so-called fractional interests. With a true fractional interest, each owner can sell separately. Anguilla does not recognise such fractional interests in real property. The Registered Land Act limits the kind of interests that can exist in real property in Anguilla. Any interest in real property in Anguilla must be are registered in the Land Registry. The law guarantees the title of all registered interests.

To repeat, fractional interests are not interests that are recognised under the Registered Land Act of Anguilla. The purchaser of such an interest in Anguilla will not acquire a title that can be dealt in, as in North America. The use of a corporation to own the real estate, with the investors holding shares in the company, is not a feasible alternative. Anguilla’s laws control the ownership of real estate through the use of a corporation as strictly as it does direct ownership of the real estate.

The Aliens Landholding Regulation Act says that no non-Anguillian may hold an interest in real property in Anguilla without a Licence from the government of Anguilla. This includes holding shares in a company that owns real estate in Anguilla.

The Stamp Act says that any purchase or transfer of a freehold or leasehold interest in real property in Anguilla attracts stamp duty. Any transfer without payment of the relevant stamp duty is void and unenforceable. The purchaser is not permitted even to produce the document as evidence in court in a dispute.

I have asked the Anguilla Registrar of Lands, Gifford Connor, to explain if he is registering fractional interests. He has responded that the Land Registry is only permitting joint owners or owners in common, up to a maximum of four in number, to be entered on any one Land Register. The result is that any non-Anguillian who thinks he is purchasing an unregistered, unlicensed “fractional interest” in property in Anguilla is acquiring no property at all. The purchaser will have nothing better than a common law contract for the use of a property. If something goes wrong, there is no recourse, except perhaps to sue someone.

Any investment property in Anguilla that advertises that a non-Anguillian can purchase an interest in property in Anguilla without obtaining an aliens’ landholding licence, or paying the transfer tax, is saying something that is not true.

One would have to be brain-dead to believe that you could get legal title to property in Anguilla, or anywhere in the world for that matter, on payment only of a US$250.00 fee to “write up a contract”.

The old rule is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Could it be simple ignorance at work here, or is it something worse?

Are investors really flying in to Anguilla, and buying these “interests” for upwards of a quarter of a million dollars United States currency, without getting legal advice?

Are they innocents who are mistakenly relying on the Government of Anguilla to shut down misrepresentative schemes, as would happen in the US and Europe?

Do they mistakenly believe that Anguilla has some kind of consumer watchdog that is looking out for their interests?

Or, do “investors” in Anguilla still check their brains at Kennedy Airport together with their baggage?

12 October, 2007

Human Rights

Human Rights Conventions. Labour MP Andrew MacKinlay asked Meg Munn, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, an interesting question in the House of Commons on Thursday. It concerned the human rights conventions with which each BOT is expected to comply.

The answer, so far as it relates to Anguilla and the other five West Indian territories, was revealing:




British Virgin Islands

Cayman Islands


Turks and Caicos Islands

International Convention on Civil and Political Rights






International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights






Convention Against Torture







Convention on the Rights of the Child







Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women



Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination







European Convention on Human Rights







The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly. It is often described as an international bill of rights for women. It defines what constitutes discrimination against women, and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. By accepting the Convention, States commit themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including:

  1. to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women;
  2. to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and
  3. to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.

It is difficult for us to accept that, after nearly 30 years, Anguilla has yet to adopt the Convention.

What have all the women in positions of power in the Anguilla public service been doing for their sisters all these years?

11 October, 2007


Restaurant Workers Now Permitted to Take Home Food. I do not know how many of you heard the recent news. Up to now, restaurant workers have had to resort to the demeaning and degrading measure of stealing food from their work places. Traditionally, food has been concealed in the garbage, and sorted outside with the help of the hotel security staff. But, now the workers have passed a resolution. They are going to take the stuff openly from the hotel restaurant deep freezers. That way, it will no longer be illegal. What you want? A ham? A ham for you. You want beef? A side of beef for you. Nutritional levels in the average restaurant worker’s home are rising fast. Children are enjoying a wider range of delicious foods. Medical bills are falling. It is all for the better!

Construction workers have passed a resolution. They are now openly taking steel and concrete from construction sites. So long as it is done in daylight, it is OK. No more illegally driving onto the site late at night. No more risking injury lifting the stuff in the dark. It is allowed to take it in daylight now. What a boost this is proving to the local home improvement movement! Houses that were previously lying there only partly built are now being rapidly completed.

I overheard Frankie told one of his boat crew that he is permitted to bring any number of family and friends on The Link for free. So long as he works on the boat, it is one of the natural privileges for crew. Dr Hughes will soon be performing all operations on staff, their family and friends, at the Medical Centre for free. Shopkeepers are running as fast as the can to keep the shelves stocked. Shop assistants are making sure the shelves are emptying at an astonishing rate. Freeness spreading everywhere! And, it is all legal!

All this is due to the acquiescence, if not generosity, of the owners. They are not complaining. By their silence they accept it. It is the way we show appreciation. The whole thing is a positive new development. It is all part of Anguilla’s changing culture. Nothing stands still. It is called progress!

And, government ministers were pioneers in showing the way! Another first for Anguilla!

09 October, 2007


Foreign Exploitation of British Overseas Territories. One of my readers has drawn my attention to a recent article in the Royal Gazette of Bermuda [link here]. It concerns an initiative by Bermuda Premier Dr Ewart Brown and his wife to set up a stem-cell research centre in Bermuda. They have linked up with a US-based Russian medical research company to develop a private research facility. They hope to treat patients using as yet unproven, controversial and highly expensive scientific techniques. What conceivable reason could these Russian-American foreigners have for wanting to be in the West Indian territory of Bermuda? The answer should be obvious to most of us. Bermuda lacks the laws under which such treatment can be monitored. Bermuda has no infrastructure to ensure compliance with internationally agreed standards. The obvious intent is to avoid and circumvent regulatory oversight by regulators such as the FDA or the European Medicines Evaluation Agency. Dr Brown is no stranger to questionable activities in Bermuda while serving in government. His recent investigation by police for his alleged involvement in a fraud concerning public monies has been widely reported [link here].

What disturbs me even more is the risk to the integrity and good name of Bermuda’s public service. The Chief Medical Officer of Bermuda reports to Cabinet. How can he be expected to properly carry out his function when the proposed facility will be partly owned by the Premier and his wife? The potential for conflict of interest is staggering in its extent. The moral of this story is that we are at far more risk of exploitation by our local leaders than by crooks from overseas. The Foreign Office will continue to follow the official policy of not intervening on the basis that the colonies have to learn by making their own mistakes. All I can say is, thank Heavens, such a thing could never happen in Anguilla!

08 October, 2007


Is Anguilla a Literate Society? It is with reluctance that I enter into this topic. It touches a sore spot with me. A correspondent sent me an article from the Observer Newspaper in Antigua. The 6 October story was written by Annabel Fuller. I cannot give you the link, as the Observer can only be read by subscription. The story is about a gift of 29,000 books made by the Rotary Club of Antigua to a number of schools and libraries in that island. This worthy project was done in partnership with a Rotary Club in Annapolis in Maryland. According to the article, the gift went down very well in Antigua. Why, asked my correspondent, did the Rotary Club of Anguilla not do a similar project here?

My answer was as follows: It does not always work out. The Anguilla Rotary Club tried a used book project two years ago. We got about 30,000 books shipped for free from a Canadian school that was closing down. They were selected, sorted, and packed by the members of a Rotary Club there. When they arrived in Anguilla, they were rejected by the librarians as unsuitable. Even the encyclopedias and classics were described as "out of date". Worse, some of them had been previously handled. That was not good enough for Anguilla. Some were given away. The Club held four or five "one book for one dollar" sales of the remainder at Mariners. Those that were left over ended up in the dump. We all swore we would never again become involved in anything like that!

My correspondent shot back, “Don, this is very depressing. Russell wouldn't have done such a thing, would he? There are a few children here who really want to learn. Some of their families are quite poor and could never afford to have their own encyclopedia in their home, not even an old one. I come from a home that was filled with books. I did poorly in school, but educated myself about the things I wanted to know by reading books. I still do that today. I have very strong feelings about making books available to those few who want them.

There's a popular book here that's over 2000 years old and hardly anyone thinks it's out of date. This is insane. I hope you will write about it.”

Owning, reading, and handling used books are not, in my opinion, degrading or demeaning activities. I built up a collection of nearly 3,000 books on West Indian history that I later gave away. Some of the books were over 300 years old. How does anyone think you can get a “new” 300 year-old book? When I was a student, I used to haunt the second-hand book stores of Port-of-Spain. I visited the public library and bought every old book they were discarding that I wanted to read. Today, I still own thousands of books that were previously owned by someone else. I love second-hand books. I educated myself on second-hand classics.

But, the question is, does anyone in Anguilla still read today? Would second-hand books be appreciated by anyone in Anguilla? Or, would most people agree with those who rejected the books on the ground that it was demeaning for Anguillians to be invited to handle used books?

07 October, 2007


Patriotism is the Last Refuge of a Scoundrel. So pronounced Samuel Johnson, the British lexicographer. I read a story on the Barbados Free Press today [link here]. It was about how Ministers of Government in Bridgetown use “patriotism” to silence their critics. It rang a bell with me. I never thought it was possible in Barbados. Not only is it possible. We learn that recently Barbados Government Ministers have taken steps to suppress free speech and opposition. Government Ministers now openly threaten citizens who ask reasonable questions about the lack of accountability and transparency and the conflicts of interest that make overnight millionaires of elected representatives. On the Barbados Labour Party Blog [link here], and in the Nation News [link here], citizens are being told that they should remain quiet about corruption in the Barbados government. The explanation given in the two links above? To publicly speak about government corruption is “unpatriotic”!

Thank heavens nothing like that can happen in Anguilla! We don’t have corruption at Ministerial level.

Compare that with the story from the Cayman Islands about the Ombudsman investigating a complaint against a Minister [link here]. Cayman Net News has filed a complaint with the Ombudsman against Minister Charles Clifford for cancelling freight arrangements for the paper’s newsprint from Miami. The reason? The paper has been printing articles critical of the Minister [link here]. The Minister has retaliated against the paper by making it difficult for them to get newsprint. Nothing like that could happen here in Anguilla. Our papers don’t print articles critical of any Minister! It also helps that we do not have an Ombudsman. So, we cannot complain even if we wanted to!

06 October, 2007


When Pessimism Sets In. I read the press release in my Inbox. It said,

Press Conference on Anguilla’s Biodiversity Strategy & Action Plan:

The Government of Anguilla as part of its renewed commitment to sustainable management of the country’s limited natural resources has initiated the preparation of Anguilla’s Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (ABSAP).

At this critical juncture of this initiative, the Department of Environment extends invitations to all Media Houses, Heads of Departments with responsibility for Natural Resource Management to a Press Conference outlining the details of the ABSAP.

Please join us Monday - October 8, 2007, at the Anguilla Tourist Board Conference Centre at 2pm.

The Department of Environment through the Ministry of Environment will be detailing the concept, focus and benefits of the ABSAP to Anguilla’s current development landscape. The team of regional and international consultants facilitating the consultation as part of the development of the ABSAP will be available to answer questions.

In my innocence, I thought it sounded like a good idea to attend. I contacted some of my environmentally concerned friends. I asked whether they would like to be there with me. The responses were discouraging, to say the least. One wrote back in reply:

I listened with belief and encouragement when they signed the Environmental Charter.
I listened again when I read the United Front Manifesto. I was encouraged. I voted for them.

I don't go to ceremonies.

I am no longer interested in listening to promises about what is to be done about Anguilla's environment. I have been to what used to be a landfill at Corito. I have been to what used to be Windward Point Beach. I have been to what used to be Sile Bay Beach. I have seen the pilings dumped on the beach at Mariners. And I have seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.

I was there when Olasee Davis said, "Because we don't think about the future they will never forget us."

It is truly saddening to know so much about our island.

I have learned that it's possible to know too much.

It completely put me off. I don’t want to go to the Press Conference any more. Is this too pessimistic? Do you, by contrast, have the courage to hope for improvements in the future? If so, it probably means that you are younger than I am!

05 October, 2007


Let us Take NICA off Life Support. A group of shareholders of the National Investment Company of Anguilla Ltd met on 2 October at Bob Rogers’ home to consider the meeting that had taken place with the directors on 27 September. The number of members attending and showing interest continues to rise.

Concerns were expressed about the failure of the Board to have taken any steps to prosecute the offences revealed in the Report of Mr Avondale Thomas to the Court in Bob Rogers’ court case of 2003.

Others expressed worry on learning that the Board had leased the Wholesale Building to the Rum Factory at very unfavourable terms. They were paying rent of about $3,500.00 per month instead of $7,000.00. It was also noticed that the Rum Factory was trespassing onto land that they had not been leased. They were proposing to build 10,000 sq ft of storeroom on it.

What was even more worrying was the Board’s expressed intention to bring in to a future general meeting teams of experts to persuade us to let them develop the Gibbons Estate lands owned by the company at Lockrums. Members agreed that after nearly twenty years of mismanagement and inactivity, the company was brain dead and should now be taken off life support machines. The time for the Board to be coming with schemes to develop land was long past.

Particularly worrying to some was the announcement made on radio just that morning that the Board was calling a general meeting of shareholders to elect new directors and appoint new auditors on 22 October at 5:00 pm at the Stoney Ground Primary School. There was general consensus that the company should be taken out of its misery. It was time to apply to the court for a court supervised voluntary winding up. That means that it is pointless to appoint new directors. They will be replaced by the Liquidator immediately he is appointed.

Members also considered that it was pointless to conduct an audit of the company’s accounts over the previous thirteen years. It is not as if there would be an incoming new Board that needed to know what the state of the accounts was. We were now past the stage where audits were required. It would be a waste of money to audit the accounts just before the company was put into liquidation. Members agreed that the ideal Liquidator would be Mr Thomas. He would not need an audit to be presented to him for him to know what to do.

Several members expressed the strong desire that there be a resolution for the company to be wound up on the agenda of any future shareholders’ meeting. Members approved the following resolution to be submitted to the Board of Directors for inclusion in the official Notice calling the meeting: Resolved: That the National Investment Company of Anguilla Ltd be voluntarily wound up, under the supervision of the Court, that the assets of the company be sold, that the debts be paid off, and the balance distributed among the shareholders. Mr Avondale Thomas of Antigua to be the Liquidator of the company.

03 October, 2007

No Names

In Anguilla We Do Not Name Names. I received the following press release from the government press office on Tuesday. I guess I am on the mailing list as part of Anguilla’s “media”. I challenge you to read the release below and guess what it is really all about [excuse the bad spelling, but I did not think it in my place to correct someone else’s press release]. Have a look at the photographs below that accompanied the press release. Clicking on a photograph should enlarge it for better viewing.

Chief Minister Calls Fire Pit On Meads Bay Beach A Disgrace

The Valley, Anguilla, October, Tuesday, 2nd, 2007 --- The Honourable Chief Minister Osbourne B. Fleming responded to a call at 7:00am Sunday Morning, September 30th, 2007, made by the West End Concerned Group. Upon his arrival he was alarmed and dismayed to notice that someone had dug a circular hole some 4 feet in depth and 10 ft in diameter and used it for a fire pit right on the beach some 20 feet from the water’s edge.

It was obvious that some form of merrymaking had taken place there on the Meads Bay beach just to the North West of Frangipani the Saturday night before. It was undetermined at the time if the said merrymakers of this function were responsible. The Chief Minister is investigating the matter to determine just who the culprits are. The offenders had not only used the beach inappropriately but displayed blatant disregard for the safety of others. The intention obviously was to provide more lighting or some sort of bond fire effect but what was left in the final analysis was a danger to others that could cause injury. The firewood used obviously was construction material such as lumber with nails and Pallot Boards taken from a construction site in the vicinity. Chief Minister Fleming has called the act disgraceful and an irresponsible use of the beach.

Chief Fleming is urging all persons using the beach to sustain the aesthetics of the beach environment by cleaning up after functions and by ensuring that any and all use of the beaches does not infringe on the rights and privileges of other users. It is quite disturbing to behold sights such as the one witnessed on Sunday Morning at the Middle part of Meads Bay Beach. Mr. Fleming is also encouraging persons to report all such acts to the Environment Department.

What is so funny about this story is that every schoolchild in West End knows who lit the bonfire on Meads Bay. Every little turtle trying to lay her eggs and getting confused with the light from the bonfire knows who held the party. It happens every last Friday in every month. It has been going on for at least the past four months. That is when the Kor Group holds a beach party at night for their sales and construction staff. The party-goers light a big bonfire on the beach. They eat and drink to their hearts’ content. That is what happened on Friday 28 September. Except that this time my information is they were not sitting around the bonfire drinking with merriment. They were drowning their sorrows. After months of effort, and a huge expenditure on flying prospective purchasers in to Anguilla, my information is that not one villa or apartment has sold. Viceroy at Barnes Bay is not selling. The Tides projects at Meads Bay and Savannah Bay are not moving at all. Money is hemorrhaging. Staff are being let go. Carillion, the construction company, has its share of woes. My information is that they are about to leave Anguilla. Anyone with more accurate information is welcome to add their comment.

So, will somebody please enlighten the Chief Minister and tell him that the unknown culprit who left the abandoned fire pit on the beach is probably his favourite developer in the West End of Anguilla?


I have just learned from a very reliable source that I misinformed myself and misled you when I wrote above that Viceroy was responsible for the bonfire on the beach. It was nothing to do with Viceroy.

Apparently, Val Davis celebrated the birthday of the charming Ms Lake by holding a beach party on Saturday night. The party involved the subject bonfire. All eyes now turn to Val to see if he will apologise to the Anguillian public for leaving such a mess uncovered on the beach.

Meanwhile, apologies are due from me to Viceroy for the incorrect information. My apologies!