17 January, 2009


Anguilla has been presented with the means to prevent the British Government from abusing us in the future. Those of you who are following the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s efforts to negotiate a new constitutional arrangement with the few remaining British Overseas Territories who have not yet adopted a new Constitution, will have noticed the report that the British negotiating team is meeting with the Cayman Islands team in early February to hammer out the final issues. The British team is expected in Anguilla shortly after that to enter into preliminary discussions with the Government of Anguilla. [Quite what the discussions will be about is unknown to all Anguillians, since the Cabinet and the members of the House of Assembly have been strangely quiet about what exactly it is they have been agreeing to for the past several months. We gather that the major thrust of the Chief Minister’s Committee is to go for “full internal self-government”. But, what exactly does that will mean for us the people in terms of Constitutional drafting is a State secret.]

So, it is amazing to see by comparison the openness, frankness, transparency, and sheer ingenuity with which the government of the Cayman Islands are treating the constitutional issues that confront them. They debate every issue in public, not in secret, as we do.

Caymanian Compass has a fascinating article summing up these remaining issues between the British government and the Cayman Islands government. The article reveals that there are ten issues which remain. Only one of them caught my fancy. That is a demand that the Constitution provide that the Governor shall be obliged to act at all times in the best interests of the people of the Cayman Islands. The consequence of such a provision is pellucidly clear. It wourld mean that the British Governor of Anguilla would be required for the first time to take our side in any argument with the FCO on any decision of the FCO that adversely affects our rights.

The British contend that this is a “novel proposition”.

However, if we wish to avoid the trap of being treated as the Chagossians were recently by both the British Government and the House of Lords under the fascist Lord Hoffman, then this is the most interesting constitutional proposal that I have seen yet. It would provide us with a mechanism that would assist us in protecting ourselves from being abused in the future by the British Government. We will have a most influential ally in our dealings with the FCO, employed by them though he is.

Will our leaders have the wisdom to consider, if not adopt, the Cayman Islands demand?

I have no doubt that the Anguillian public would, if they were consulted, support such a proposal.


  1. As the saying goes in the financial sector - When you owe the bank 100,000, they own you. When you owe the bank 100,000,000, you own them. If he wanted to finish the project quickly, it could be done. No bank wants that big of a foreclosure on their books. - Scotty

  2. Your recent article about the Governor and the "novel idea" presented by the Cayman Islands seems to be a lot more than novel. As you mentioned, "employed by them as he is". He is their man and he will do what they say, not what others say. Although I would not like to see anything like what happened in the Chagos Islands repeated, I think a different form of protection against Britain is required.


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