Chief Minister Osborne Fleming Responds in the Anguilla House of Assembly to the British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Recommendation for an Inquiry. Those of you who follow Anguilla’s public affairs will know that the FAC has recommended a Commission of Inquiry into allegations of corruption in
On 15 July 2008, using the privilege of not being liable to be sued for anything defamatory said in the House of Assembly, the Hon Chief Minister Osborne Fleming reacted to the FAC recommendation. Two Anguillians had made written submissions to the FAC. He accused them of deliberately destroying
The dramatis personae are Don Mitchell and Harry Wiggin. The theory the Chief Minister advances in his speech is a simple one. In case you have difficulty following his argument, I will explain. Harry Wiggin married an Anguillian. He sent a submission to the FAC. His must have been a marriage of convenience. Don Mitchell and his wife decided not to have any children. Don Mitchell sent a submission to the FAC. Any man who is deliberately without a child is incapable of love. Don Mitchell must hate all Anguillians. Both Mitchell and Wiggin are evil persons who are bent on the destruction of
If you would like to hear his words in living audio, I have the speech divided into two parts here.
If you would like to read his words, I have tried my best to accurately transcribe them below for you. Read the speech for yourself.
Transcript of a portion of a speech by the Hon Chief Minister, Mr Osborne Fleming, in the
The big question this morning, Mr Speaker, as I deal with tourism, is that I was called this morning and I was told that the major hotel operators in Anguilla are concerned about the accusation about corruption and bribery with the ministers in Anguilla, to the extent that they are so nervous, for one, the US government will get wind of it eventually, and begin to tighten up on them, and two, the people who are potential investors and buyers will ward off. They are very concerned about this loose talk about bribery going on in
I made the point last night that these accusations are not the ministers, you know. Each of us, each of us here will pay the price for that. Each of us in
But, you must remember, Mr Speaker, that the perpetrators of the destruction of Anguilla, because that is just what it is, it is the destruction of Anguilla, deliberately destroying Anguilla, deliberately destroying Anguilla! I want to make this point, that there is nothing like a mother's love.
Oh, when you see a woman does not have a child, Mr Speaker, when a father does not have a child, it is a sad thing. You take a child, that mother takes that child and she holds that child in her lap, and she feeds him from the breast, and she looks at his beautiful eyes as he sucks. That reminds you of true love, true love. Take that child. I am not a mother, but I see it in my children. And the mother gloats with pride and joy. But, when people have no children, there is no love in them. Hardly, I say hardly. Not everybody.
It is a good thing, Mr Speaker, to have a child. It is a good thing to have a child, because you have love for your fellow men and your country. But, when you don't have, then you have problems. I thought of that last night.
We have one mother here, and she can tell you the joy she has when that little baby is in her hands, how sweet. But, when people deliberately do not want that joy, they can't have love for their country, they can’t have!
So, I come back to the point of the bribery, and to say that me and the ministers, and the members on the other side, you are affected the same way. Understand that. It is not Mr Banks, Mr Rogers, Mr Fleming, Mr Harrigan and Mr Hughes, it is all of us paying the price for this.
I am not guessing what I am saying. The document that I have here is clear. And I want to say, Mr Speaker, where we are even threatened by the Foreign Affairs Committee not to say nothing to these people. Well, I want to tell you one thing. I am in Anguilla, in
I strayed a little bit. I want to come back to this, “Finally, the Committee concludes . . .” this is what the document says that went from the Foreign Affairs Committee to the British Government. They conclude by saying that, “It would be deplorable and totally unacceptable for any individual who has assisted the Committee with its inquiry to be subjected to threats, intimidation or personal sanctions or violence in any form.” We are not doing that to anybody. We are going to talk the truth. “If the Committee is informed of any such retaliatory measures being taken against any person who has submitted formal or informal evidence to this Inquiry, it will take all appropriate steps within it powers . . .”
We are going to come down. We are in
Mr Speaker, I mention all this because it encumbers our tourism, our livelihood, our life.
And, the list of written evidence to the Commission . . . Members are free to have a look at it . . . “
They talk about corruption. You know, Mr Speaker, when I get in here I am going to talk, I am going to talk. They tried their best. And, the main reason for all of this is to stand in our way for seeking full internal self-government. That is the only reason. We are not saying that we are going to get there. But, we are trying to get there. And, they are doing everything to block us.
Could you imagine a Committee receiving a letter about the Ministers of Government and immediately publishes it all over the world, where my friends, and I am sure all members concerned. My children called and asked me what this was all about. Do you think it is an easy thing for us to go through this?
I do not know Mr Banks' position financially. But, I personally believe that if he received a bribe, he would have had on a totally different shirt and suit today. I would not owe a soul in the world. I have some loans at the bank. I would not owe a soul. If I was getting bribes, I would pay off my debt. This is what we are subjected to today. They have done that.
But, I am glad to say this, Mr Speaker, the people of
There are people in
And, we have had a number of cases of marriages of convenience. We had a young man who was in gaol here, who was being deported to St Kitts, and a girl from
And, I want to bring this House up to date on a case in point. One of the writers to the Foreign Affairs Committee . . . I want us around the table to be the judge of this . . . one of the writers here got married to an Anguillian girl. I have no problem with that. After three years, that person can apply for belongership. This writer applied for his belongership on the exact date that made three years. Gentlemen, listen to what I am saying, listen to what I am saying. You are decent. You are not corrupt. What did you come here for? You come for belongership? On the exact day that made three years he applied for his belongership. It came to my Permanent Secretary's attention. I got it. I said, let him bleach for a while, because this is clear cut to me. Something else!
And, these are the people that would seek to destroy
[change of tape]
It would not go as easy as this.
Mr Speaker, I want you to forgive me if in any way I have behaved unseemly in this House. But, you must understand that we are only human, and that this is the only place in the world where we do not have to line up to get time. The only place. You go to St Maarten, you have to line up. This is the only place where you do not have to ask for time. Home,
Mr Speaker, one of the writers is in Court right now for accusing us of corruption, in court right now accusing us of corruption, and we are going to push it to the hilt. Because, you cannot admit, apologise, and you go back. Because, in one statement made here by the other one, the foreign fellow from England, says that the other one was charged for accusing us of corruption, and it went on to talk . . . I can't find the item. But, this letter I have in my hand here is a copy of the submission from Harry Wiggin,
I have sympathy for any Anguillian girl who subject themselves to be used by people like that, where, as far as I am concerned, there is a marriage of convenience. It is wrong. I have no respect for anybody to take that position.
I do not mind the personal attack. I am used to it, and, now that I am retired, there is little else, short of physical violence, they can do to harm me. What concerns me is the implied threat to any other Anguillian who gives information to the proposed Inquiry if it should take place. Not everyone in
Most Anguillians of working age are employed by government, by far the largest employer on the island. Their jobs and future promotions will be at risk.
Most public servants are parents of school age children. They depend on political favour to get scholarships for their children. All children in
All Anguillians presently live in fear of victimisation, real or imagined. In the face of this warning, to cooperate with any Inquiry will actually appear to invite victimisation.
That intimidation has got to be addressed.