21 September, 2008


Why do Anguillians not sue lawyers more often? I have credible stories recently about the activities of a lawyer in Anguilla. Two of the statements involved the lawyer helping his client to steal land from two absentee Santo Domingo Anguillian descendents. The third involved tricking a 90 year old terrified woman into signing documents that she had not requested and knew nothing about.

I asked one of my Santo Domingo informants why the attorney had not been sued. She explained that the owner lived in Santo Domingo. That person would have to be the one bringing the court action. That person is an elderly impoverished labourer and lacks the resources to bring an action in Anguilla. My informant did not have the ability to bring the suit for the client. She does not have the necessary first-hand knowledge of the facts that would be needed for admissible testimony. Nor does she have the money to spend on protecting someone else’s land. So, it looks as if the lawyer and his crooked clients may well succeed in successfully stealing the properties. All this assuming that the story I have been told is true and correct.

As for the family of the old lady, their incident relates to the same lawyer. They are not bringing any legal proceedings either. They do not believe that she could have been persuaded by the lawyer to sign over anything that would affect them. I hope they are right. As I explained to them, if they wait until she is dead to protest, it will not be very credible. They would be expected to have sued immediately they learned of the fraud. They will never be able to answer the question, whey did you not bring this claim while the old lady was still alive? It will be difficult for them to refute the allegation that they waited until the old lady died to make this claim. It will look very bad for them.

It is not that we are like some islands of the West Indies where when you complain about an important lawyer you are likely to be awakened by the police in the middle of the night and subject to a vaginal search. Our police would not have any hesitation in arresting any attorney at law in Anguilla. They would be happy to arrest some.

Is it that Anguillians are so respectful towards lawyers that even when we are robbed in this way we cannot believe that the lawyer was to blame? That does not seem very likely knowing the fiercely independent spirit of most Anguillians.

It could not be because we still believe, "It is impossible to get a lawyer in Anguilla to go against another lawyer." That nonsense cannot still be repeated.

Is it that only foreigners have the resources to pursue the crooked lawyer, and we prefer not to throw good money after bad? Surely, most Anguillians know how to find the money to defend themselves.

Is it that we have so little confidence in our judicial system that we believe the judges are part of the problem? Nonsense, this is the OECS, not Barbados.

Could it be that we simply do not know who to complain to? That is unlikely. We know there is the judge, the governor and the Chief Justice. Any of them would kick up a stink on our behalf if any credible allegation was made against an Anguillian lawyer.

Is it that we are too embarrassed to complain? Perhaps we fear we will be thought stupid by our friends and neighbours for having allowed ourselves to have been tricked? That is always possible.

Is it simply a fear of appearing to rock the boat in a small community where everyone is related to everyone else? That is the explanation of much of the acceptance of wrongdoing among our "Christian" leaders. When the pastor runs off with my wife, or the businessman impregnates two of my daughters in the same year, I learn to grin and bear it.

Is it that our expectations of our lawyers and our leaders have fallen so low that we just shrug our weary shoulders and prefer to move on? Almost certainly.

Or, is it just that we have developed such low standards for ourselves that we shrug our own shoulders and wink at another successful trickster among us? I certainly hope not.


  1. "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

  2. Bob Marley explained it quite clearly:

    Redemption Song

    Old pirates, yes, they rob I;
    Sold I to the merchant ships,
    Minutes after they took I
    From the bottomless pit.
    But my hand was made strong
    By the and of the almighty.
    We forward in this generation
    Wont you help to sing
    These songs of freedom? -
    cause all I ever have:
    Redemption songs;
    Redemption songs.

    Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
    None but ourselves can free our minds.
    Have no fear for atomic energy,
    cause none of them can stop the time.
    How long shall they kill our prophets,
    While we stand aside and look? ooh!
    Some say its just a part of it:
    We've got to fulfil de book.

    Wont you help to sing
    These songs of freedom? -
    cause all I ever have:
    Redemption songs;
    Redemption songs;
    Redemption songs.

  3. Dear Mr. Mitchell,

    I know what land you are talking about, and that is a bold-face falsehood. The man has a son who is a lawyer in Santo Domingo and a son who is a doctor. They are well educated people . Stop misleading the public. The people willingly sold their land and received a very good price for it.

  4. I have checked again. In the cases I am speaking about, neither family has a son who is either a doctor or a lawyer in the Dominican Republic.

    The crooked Anguillian client has got the assistance of a crooked Santo Domingo lawyer. This crook has visited Anguilla to assist in the defrauding of the two families I am writing about.

    The crooked Santo Domingo lawyer may have claimed to be a son of yet another victim that I do not know about. No doubt, there were several victims I do not know about. You must be speaking of one of these.

    This is a very sad state of affairs. I will do all I can to bring it to an end.


  5. Don MItchell I agree with you.What you are referring to ( men of law and lawyers) are taking advantage of the elderly consistently in Anguilla. They prey on the illiterate elderly Anguillians who they believe have no family members to look after them.They usually gain they trust and then strike up a plan to take their land right out their fingers. I know of another case. Two individual of the law tried to steal land from an elderly individual but luckily the family members caught on to it and stop it in time. Anguillians, especially the elder look out for the wolves in sheep clothing and watch who you let in your yard!!! Beaware of these thieves!!! Family members you need to look and pay careful attention to your elderly family members because they are being taken advantage of by individuals of law they trust!!


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