29 December, 2008


Is Anguilla at risk of a dengue Epidemic? Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection that causes severe flu-like illness. Sometimes it causes a lethal complication called dengue haemorrhagic fever. That‘s the worst form of dengue. All dengue is very painful and dangerous. It is also known as ‘break-bone fever’, for good reason. There is no known treatment for the virus itself. That's not to say that dengue is untreatable. They treat the symptoms. They can reduce the pain with analgesics, etc. Appropriate medical care can save the life of a patient. But, you have to know that the possibility of dengue exists in the community to begin to take precautions.

As The Anguillian Newspaper warned us last year:

Persons suspected of having dengue fever must see a doctor at once. As Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever is a deadly disease, early diagnosis and treatment can save lives. Unless proper treatment is given promptly, the patient may go into shock and die.

The characteristics of Dengue Fever/Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever are
• Abrupt onset of high fever.
• Severe frontal headaches.
• Pain behind the eyes which worsens with eye movement.
• Muscle and joint pains.
• Loss of sense of taste and appetite.
• Measles-like rash over chest and upper limbs.
• Nausea and vomiting.
• Severe and continuous stomach pains.
• Bleeding from nose, mouth, gums and skin bruising.

The virus is widespread, if not epidemic in the islands around us. It is in the BVI. It has long been a health problem this year in nearby St Maarten/St Martin.

Now, I read in the Anguillian Newspaper that the Anguillian public health authorities are spraying for mosquitoes. They warn us to shut our windows against the fogging. But, they don’t indicate why they are fogging, or what exactly the target is.

There are no known requirements for reporting the statistics on the incidence of dengue. No person in authority will admit to the prevalence of dengue in Anguilla.

Dengue is now in Anguilla? Shusssh! That is a national secret. We are not supposed to know about it. We are certainly not allowed to talk about it. It might damage the tourist industry. Anyone who even discusses dengue in Anguilla is betraying our tourist industry. And, the tourist industry is the real and only Anguilla, isn’t it? So, any discussion amounts to betraying Anguilla.

How widespread in Anguilla will dengue have to become before it becomes a dengue epidemic? Should we even be told that dengue is a problem that already exists in Anguilla?

27 December, 2008

Long Bay

Long Bay Development in Anguilla. A story posted on an international property blog caught my attention.

“Exhibiting with Global Development Group, International Golf & Resort Management (IGRM) will unveil the Long Bay project at Excel, the trade fair for international property developers and sales agents. Michael Longshaw, the CEO of International Golf & Resort Management and former Managing Director of Brocket Hall, will announce details of the Long Bay project which is located close to the western tip of the island and take the form of an exclusive club residence. The luxury residential community will be situated on one of the best beaches in the Caribbean and feature 41 exclusive villas and 15 apartments with full concierge service together with beach club comprising swimming pool, tennis courts, restaurant, bar, gym and spa.

Michael Longshaw is well qualified to lead the project having spent two years living in Anguilla managing the Cocoloba Hotel on Barnes Bay. International Golf & Resort Management has undertaken the market and financial study to determine the opportunity for Global and gone on to produce the master plan recommending the concept, standard, scale and range facilities as well as the best market positioning and target markets.”

I decided to look further into this new project. The Movie Channel webpage carries an advertisement for it:

· - Exceptional Land Investment – 48% per annum

· - Caribbean Haven in Anguilla, British West Indies

· - This 31.5 acre, 6-star resort will be created on the beautiful Caribbean Island of Anguilla

· - Investment available from just £20,000 (€25,000; $35,000)

· - Planning was awarded on the 19th June 2008, with full planning expected in January 2009

· - The land has just been valued independently at US$45 million and once full planning is granted a valuation in excess of US$75

· - The developer is looking to secure US$7.5 million

· - Repayment target date 30th April 2009

· - Return on Investment 4% per month (equivalent to 48% p.a.)

Long Bay epitomises the highest qualities of Anguilla. 41 villas and 15 apartments nestling on the south west coast of this jewel of the British West Indies, meticulously constructed and fitted to six star resort quality.”

The Movie Channel story is illustrated with a photograph of a generic little Caribbean island that is certainly not Long Bay. It looks a bit like Sandy Island used to look twenty years ago, but I am not sure this picture really is of a place associated with Anguilla.

Further details are given at The Investor Portal dot com page:

“The Investment

The Investors will hold Shares through a specialist Investor Company in proportion to the value of their investment.

The Investor Company will acquire ownership of building Plots whose value, once full planning permission has been obtained, is at least twice the value of the amount invested – as determined by an independent valuer of international repute.


We will have the Option to buy the Plots from the Investor Company at any time up to 31st December 2009, for the amount of the Funds provided, plus a premium of 4% per month or part month, calculated on a daily basis from the time when the Investor Company provides the Funds. This is equivalent to an annual return of 48%. It is intended that the Option will be exercised by 30 April 2009, since by this time institutional funds should be in place.


If the developer fails to exercise the Option by 31st December 2009, they will arrange the sale of the Plots on the open market, and remit the proceeds to the Investor Company.

This is a strictly limited offer and investors will be dealt with on a “first come first served” basis.


§ Return of 48% p.a.

§ Minimum investment of £20,000

§ 8 months estimated duration of investment

§ Your investment will be secured against land valued in excess of twice the investment made

I read up on the Carlton Hospitality Group. The information on this project on their website is less overstated than the more recent stories above. The claim then was that:

“Carlton Hospitality Group (CHG), a division of real estate investment bank Carlton Advisory Services, is fast becoming one of the leading financiers of Caribbean hospitality transactions, according to chairman Howard L. Michaels and CHG president John Bralower.

Carlton presently is arranging over one billion dollars of equity and debt financing for Caribbean projects.

In 2006, CHG has closed the following Caribbean transactions: . . .

* $205 million acquisition and development financing of Long Bay Resorts, Anguilla--The financing will be used for development of a five star luxury resort located on 21.5 acres of pristine beachfront in Anguilla.”

At the Interchange fx webpage we read that:

Global Development Group, through an Anguillan local company, Global Investment Anguilla Limited (GIA, company no. 1016654), are the resort developers with key personnel who have a proven track record in successfully creating this type of resort.

· The development is a joint venture with a local Anguillan family who own the land which has already been transferred into the development company, GIA."

Their story is illustrated with a banner montage, allegedly depicting “Long Bay”.

I need hardly tell you that the picture does not depict Long Bay in Anguilla. It looks like nowhere I have ever seen before, except perhaps Maundays Bay on the opposite coast.

It is interesting that this is to be an “exclusive club residence”. I thought that government’s policy was opposed to the construction of exclusive club residences. The objection, we have been told, is that such residences remain empty most of the year, and offer few employment opportunities for Anguillians. Beaches, we have been repeatedly told, are reserved for hotels.

Anyway, given the excess of planning permissions, building permits, and aliens landholding licenses given to developers to construct or enlarge projects on Shoal Bay East, Shoal Bay West, Conch Pool Bay, Savannah Bay, and Meads Bay, over the past seven or eight years, I thought there was a moratorium in place. When the proposed approximately-4,000 new rooms are constructed, Anguilla will need some 12,000 additional workers. That is the equivalent of the entire present population of Anguilla. Not to mention the impossibility at this time of world-wide economic depression of anyone selling any “investment” apartments or residences in Anguilla.

Carlton Hospitality Group is a very reputable company.

Does any legitimate investment today offer a return of 48% per annum, even on a short term?

If “the development is a joint venture with a local Anguillian family who own the land which has already been transferred into the development company”, can someone tell me this: How can the family still own the land if it has been transferred to GIA?

Did the investors put up the equivalent of the value of the land into the development company in order to make this a true joint venture? If they did not, and if the local Anguillian family have transferred their land to GIA in a joint venture but without any quid pro quo, does this mean that they are the only ones at risk if something goes wrong with this venture?

Why and how did the description of the resort change from “5-star” to “6-star”? Did something change in the plans, or is it all just marketing hype?

Why, anyway, would a reputable hotelier to claim that he is building a “6-star-resort”? The star system originated in Europe where the highest ranking is five stars. Six stars exist only in the minds of over-enthusiastic hotelier marketers.

How did the area of the property come to grow from 21.5 acres to 31.5 acres?

Long Bay is on the north-west coast, not the south-west coast.

Would a photograph of the real Long Bay have revealed that the sea is not as inviting as depicted in the advertisements?

Have you been able to work out from the various promotional pieces above how the investment is structured? How exactly will the individual investors, the Anguillian land-owning family, and the Anguillian government and public, all be protected?

And, can anyone tell me how the government of Anguilla could bring itself to allow this type of development?

25 December, 2008


The Chinese and the Dolphins. I had been hoping to hear something on the radio. Perhaps, something in the papers. But, there has been no news published about the only two important events in Anguilla during this Christmas week worth reporting on.

I am told that on Tuesday, some fifty or sixty Chinese were seen off with their packed suitcases.

We do not know several important pieces of information. Did the Chinese workers get their pay for the last months they worked for Ashtrom? Or, were they sent packing with empty pockets. Does anyone know how many there are actually still marooned on Anguilla? How many have actually left our shores? Not the number of seventy announced last week in the House of Assembly, the real numbers? Did Ashtrom pay for their trip back to China, or did the Anguillian taxpayer take up the tab? Did anyone take a photograph of them leaving?

The other piece of news is that the dolphins have been sent off to work in the Cayman Islands. They were seen off earlier this month in a large cargo plane en route to Tortola. Around the same time, a plane load of dolphins showed up in Cayman for work in their newly authorised dolphin abusement industry. I am told they are the same dolphins. Does this mean we in Anguilla have seen the last of them? One can only hope so.

And, another thing, did the export shipment from Anguilla and the import shipments into the BVI and the Cayman Islands comply with the CITES requirements? Was proper documentation produced? Did our Agriculture Department and the Government Vet sign off on the export? Or, did our agricultural, environmental and public health authorities conspire to permit an illegal shipment? Does anyone know the microchip numbers on the animals?

Is this our new line of transhipment, or just a case of dolphin laundering?

And with that exciting thought, may I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

19 December, 2008


A hundred Chinee. I was in town on Monday to hold the Anguilla Legal Aid Clinic. I saw the parade of Chinese workers outside the Government Secretariat, and wondered what it was all about. On Tuesday I heard the banter between the members of the House of Assembly during the Budget Debate. That provided a little light on the subject. And, now I read about it in the Daily Herald. It turns out that about one hundred Chinese construction workers employed by Ashtrom on the temporarily shut-down Flag Luxury Properties project went to see the Chief Minister. They wanted to “express their concerns and to share their experiences” over the past four or five months. As I understand the language, that is journalese for being extremely upset at not having been paid for the work they have done over the past four or five months. For having their water and electricity cut off for non-payment of utility bills. And, for not being repatriated to their home in China as agreed.

According to the newspaper story, the Chinese workers put forward to the Chief Minister two main requests: One, they wished to have their wages owed to them by Ashtrom paid. Two, they wished to be repatriated to China as soon as possible. Their preference was to be home in time for the New Year. The Chief Minister assured them that he was in constant contact with Ashtrom and Flag. He was working to resolve several issues, including the same requests they were making.

The question that springs to mind is Which New Year? If it is the new year according to the Gregorian Calendar, the Chief Minister only has about ten more days to get the Chinese workers home. If the Chinese were talking about the Chinese New Year he has a bit more time. This year 2008 is the Year of the Rat. Next year 2009 is the Year of the Ox. The Chinese New Year begins on 26 January 2009. The festivities go on for fifteen days. Somehow, I do not believe the Chinese workers are very interested in our New Year. The Chinese New Year sounds much more fun. That means the Chief Minister will have a little more time to get Ashtrom to live up to their legal duty of paying and repatriating their abandoned workers. During the Budget Debate he said he expected some seventy of them to be home for Christmas. I don’t believe the Chinese know anything about Christmas. But, I am sure the news of going home would be welcomed by them. He did not mention their unpaid wages. I am assuming they are going home with money in their pocket. They will not be simply picked up by the police and placed on an aeroplane and deported.

Perhaps the most noteworthy event is buried in the second paragraph of the newspaper story. It says that police officers of the Royal Anguilla Police Force went quickly to the scene to maintain law and order. They informed those present that they did not “have authorization to hold a gathering at the location in the manner in which they had assembled”. That was disturbing to me. The action of the police, while legal, was grossly uncaring and offensive. These people were victims, not rioters.

Perhaps the police did it pour encourager les autres. Maybe they had Percy and Quincy in mind?

One is still left to wonder. If the police were to be made to go unpaid for five months, would they take care to have authorization to hold a gathering at the location in the manner in which they had assembled?

18 December, 2008


What is acceptable to the people of Anguilla. I read the Governor’s Christmas message with interest. It is published at Anguilla LNT. My eyes zeroed in on the bit about Constitutional reform.

We all heard one of the Ministers say in the House of Assembly yesterday in the Budget Debate that the Anguilla government will be presenting a draft Constitution to the British negotiating team in January or February of next year. It is now the end of December. No one in Anguilla, other than the Chief Minister’s Committee, has seen this draft Constitution.

We heard the Hon Hubert Hughes say in the same Budget Debate that he was upset that one of the members of the Chief Minister’s Committee had demanded and was being paid to prepare the draft. I asked him what he meant. He told me that the Hon Chief Minister had told him that the member had demanded to be paid for the drafting work she had volunteered to do. He said that the Chief Minister told him that she was being paid over $11,000.00 per month. I have some difficulty believing that story. I cannot imagine that she would do such a thing. It would mean that she was taking the risk of having people falsely accuse her of delaying the process so that she could drag out her salaried tenure.

The Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commission produced a Report in August 2006. This Report and its recommendations for constitutional and electoral reform were based on six months of exhaustive public exposure. There were innumerable public meetings and consultations. There were regular radio programmes and the occasional television broadcast on the topic. Members of the Commission met with Anguillians in New York, St Thomas and St Maarten to present the issues and to solicit further ideas. Meeting after meeting was held up and down the country, though some of them were not very well attended. Every person in Anguilla who had the slightest interest in constitutional reform was given the opportunity to contribute orally and in writing to the process. Hundreds of such contributions came in to the Commission’s website alone. The draft report went through revision after revision, all of which were published and widely distributed throughout the island. Since its publication, it has been available on the government website free to read on-line or to download to your computer and print out. [At least the part containing the recommendations should be read by every educated Anguillian.] The whole process was transparent and public. Contrast that with the present process, where no one has the slightest idea what is going on.

The Chief Minister commissioned one of the members of his Committee, in one of the last meetings of his Committee that I attended, to turn the Commission’s recommendations, together with the amendments agreed to by members of the House of Assembly, including the concept of full internal self-government, into a draft Constitution so that members of the Chief Minister’s Committee could see what the finished product would look like. He stated to his Committee that his intention was to take the draft to the public to get a public consensus before the British negotiating team arrived. This was important because the public were not aware of the amendments made to their recommendations as reflected in the Commission’s Report, particularly the idea of demanding from the British Government full internal self-government. His Committee’s negotiating hand would be strengthened if they could confidently assert that a majority of Anguillians had expressed support for the new constitutional proposals.

A draft Constitution has been produced for the Committee, but no member of the public has yet seen it. Has the draft taken on board the recommendations that came from the many Anguillians who contributed, or has it gone off on a tangent of its own? Have the amendments to the Report agreed by the Members of the House of Assembly been reflected in the draft, or have they been knocked to one side? If there are in the draft any major new proposed alterations to what was previously agreed, have the government ministers and supporters, who make up the present Chief Minister’s negotiating committee, accepted them?

And, now we hear on the radio that what has been produced is not a "draft", it is a "template". Not a draft, a template! It has been pointed out that a draft is something that I can present to you for your comments and suggested alterations. A draft is amenable to change based on our discussions. A template, by contrast, is something that forces or guides a process along a pre-determined line. It is a term used in engineering and in the arts to describe a device that makes the finished product conform to a design that has been pre-selected. Was this just an unfortunate use of language? Or, was the word deliberately used in all its malign sense, to give some indication of the attitude of some members of the Committee to the process of public consultation?

Will the Governor, before he departs in March next year, inform the FCO that as yet no member of the Anguillian public has the slightest idea what the Anguillian negotiating team will be presenting to them?

Will the Anguillian public accept a flurry of last-minute “public consultations” on the proposed template in the few remaining days before the British arrive as a suitable alternative to genuine public consultation on a draft Constitution?

Or will the Chief Minister stick to his word, and circulate the draft widely for public comment and input? Will he ensure that the British team does not come to Anguilla until he is certain that the majority of Anguillians have been consulted and agree with the proposals contained in the draft.

I shall observe it all with interest from the sidelines to which the Chief Minister’s abusive language has relegated me.

16 December, 2008


Curtains for Michael Misick. For those of us who follow events in our sister British Overseas Territories in the West Indies, the breaking news is that it may be curtains for Premier Michael Misick. His parliamentary colleagues are abandoning him en masse.

Misick has led one of the most corrupt and degenerate regimes in the British West Indies for the past several years. The news is a welcome development not only for the TCI citizens, but for all of us in the BOTs in the West Indies. We all felt nothing but shame having such a leader among us.

May both grace and sanity come to our sisters and brothers in the TCI at long last!

14 December, 2008


Planning on knocking down and opening. You have to wonder at the chutzpa. Someone informs me that they contacted the Shoal Bay Resort and Spa development. They claim that they are planning on knocking down Madeariman and Uncle Ernie’s in March 2009 to start construction of the villas! IMI staff swarming all over the place. They deny they are in anyway connected to Viceroy. Just coincidence. God knows, no one else does, how Viceroy connections come to be so pervasive. And persuasive. IMI have to have some story about when construction is starting. After all, they can’t just tell the speculators, “I don’t know when we will start. Just give me your money and don’t worry about it.” They only have two choices: tell some lies, or quit marketing the project indefinitely. And, then what do they tell the suckers who gave them their deposits? That they spent their money on something else? I don’t think so.

So, why is the whole project for sale? [It has since been pointed out to me that I mis-read the linked advertisement which relates to one unit only, not the entire project.]

Someone else emails me that I am to stop worrying. Rendezvous Bay Hotel is ‘getting its financing arranged in a few months’ time’. Let me see now. I am an investor and looking for someplace to put my money. Anguilla has six developments. Five of them are closed down. Yep, seems like just the place I would want to put my money. Rendezvous still has a sales staff, so it seems like a good story to tell people who stop by. But, there is no sales office, and the hotel is falling down. Maybe they’ll move in with Flag at Savannah Bay.

Cap Juluca is burning through money. Wish they’d give me some. I walk Maundays Bay beach once a week, early in the morning. I notice the barge load of sand due three weeks ago finally arrived last Sunday from Barbados. But, it’s ‘bad sand’, a darker colour than the ‘good sand’ on the beach. So, they’re digging huge pits on the beach. Like twenty feet deep full of water. They are piling up the ‘good sand’ in big mountains of sand. They’re filling the holes with ‘bad sand’ and then topping them off with ‘good sand’. You’ve got to see it to believe it. More beach buggies on one beach than I've ever seen before. Except that they are fifteen feet high, and twenty feet long. We’ll have to see what happens to these mountains of sand in the coming weeks. Really pouring some bucks into the old place. They open on Monday.

What a start to the tourist season!

09 December, 2008

Bribery Index

International Anti-Corruption Day, 2008. Today, 9th December, is International Anti-Corruption Day. Transparency International has released the 2008 Bribe Payers Index. This survey reveals that companies based in China, India, Russia and Italy are more likely to engage in bribery when doing business abroad than are companies from other leading exporting nations. Companies based in such countries are routinely engaged in bribery when doing business abroad.

The survey also reveals that public works and construction companies may be the most corruption-prone when dealing with the public sector. They are the most likely to exert undue influence on the policies, decisions and practices of governments.

Public officials and managers of State-owned enterprises must be particularly careful in avoiding corrupt transactions when dealing with companies from those countries.

Perhaps the clearest thinking and writing on the subject has come from Transparency International of Trinidad and Tobago. Their website reminds us that political corruption affects us all. Citizens of three out of four countries polled by Transparency International and Gallup International in 2003 and 2004 singled out political parties as the institution they perceived as most corrupt.

Government must put in place the system of checks and balances that the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago promised when he laid in Parliament the White Paper on the Reform of the Public Sector Procurement Regime.

Public and private sector executives must make corruption prevention as much a priority in their organizations as health and safety.

See previous posts on the need to enhance procurement integrity in Anguilla.