Can We Ever Believe Our Government? On 31 July, the Flag/Temenos project began to shut down. It had until then been
We have touched on Ashtrom on this blog before. They had been permitted to bring in hundreds of Chinese workers to do their construction. Anguilla is a West Indian island of some 12,000 people, men, women and children. We are a mainly Afro-Caribbean, relatively homogenous, society. Hundreds of imported Chinese contract workers made a significant impact on the demographics of the island. Popular discontent with this situation has been brewing for some time.
We were assured that we need not worry. The Chinese were safely locked away on the project. They were not allowed to venture out to compete with the local working population.
Now that Flag had apparently run out of money, the Anguillian workers on the project were laid off first. The Chinese workers continued working.
While we waited and worried, Government came charging over the hill with flags flying. They wrote a letter to Ashtrom. The last paragraphs were the critical ones. They read:
So, the Chinese workers were to cease work immediately.
The question was, what would happen to them now that Ashtrom no longer had any work for them? The Government letter also made that clear. The Chinese must be repatriated until the Anguillian workers were back on the job.
Relief flowed through our arteries like re-oxygenated blood. Government was at last doing the right thing. But, that sentiment was not to last.
By 12 August, more Anguillian workers were being laid off. At least, we knew that Government had told Astrom that the Chinese workers must go unless the project resumed within two weeks.
That was some six weeks ago.
What has happened since?
Most of the Anguillian workers are still laid off. The remainder are expected to go soon.
The Chinese workers are still residing in
There has been no explanation for the apparent change of mind. Has government rescinded its demand that the Chinese go? Has Bob Sillerman, said to be the principal investor at Flag/Temenos, persuaded Government to change its policy? No explanation has been forthcoming.
Now, Government has announced that they are utilizing forty (40) of the Chinese in completing the Football Field project at the Webster’s Park in The Valley. The announcement in last week's Anguillian Newspaper is that this is supposed to be a generous gesture by Ashtrom to benefit the community.
The bottom line is that the Anguillians at Flag/Temenos are unemployed, and the Chinese are still here.
Is the Government right in adopting a cynical approach to crises? Is it true that everyone in Anguilla forgets promises made within a week?
Is there no one holding Government to the promises they made?
Is no one protesting at the hypocrisy and contempt shown for the people by those in power.
Hey, I have some repairs to do. Can I take ten (10) of them?