30 April, 2007


Sentence Planning. There is an initiative underway in the BVI for the rehabilitation and reformation of prisoners. It is a project called the “Sentence Planning Programme”. I learned about it in an article dated 18 April 2007 in the Cayman Net News. The article read in part,

According to information obtained from the Sentence / Development Planning Project, “Sentence Planning focuses on assisting prisoners to change their criminal lifestyle by taking the opportunities to address their offending behaviour.

“The document added, “At the heart of this process is identifying a plan to reduce those risks and meet the needs in a sequenced and coordinated way in preparation for community reintegration.”

The programme is being implemented in the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, BVI and Anguilla. The project is being spear-headed by Natalie Joseph-Caesar, the Education and Development Coordinator at HM Prison at Northward in the Cayman Islands. It is her picture that graces this article. I was impressed, as I am sure we all are. I look forward to learning in the local press how the project is progressing. Perhaps the Superintendent of Prisons will publish something on it.

29 April, 2007

Executive Council

Press Briefings. On 20 April the government of the Cayman Islands gave a “post-cabinet press briefing”. It is an example to us in Anguilla how an Executive Council can involve the people in good governance issues. It is a matter of regret to many of us in Anguilla that government, despite recent efforts, continues to shield us from knowledge of the important issues they are tackling. How are we to respond when we find out only after the fact?

Here is what the Cayman Net News published on 23 April:

Cabinet Ministers demand say in key Government agencies
Monday, April 23, 2007

Elected members of Cabinet are insisting that they be involved in national security
matters involving the Royal Cayman Islands Police Services, HM Customs and Immigration Department. Currently, these responsibilities fall under the Governor’s reserved powers in the Cayman Islands Constitution. . . Cabinet members . . . told last week’s post-Cabinet press briefing at the GIS they wanted a change in the status quo . . .

“This is just not right, we are the elected representatives, we are the people held accountable irrespective of what the Constitution says,” said Mr McLaughlin, stressing that it is his personal opinion on the matter . . . Mr McLaughlin said he was not prepared to support funding for the police if Cabinet did not form part of the discussions.

“It is fundamentally wrong and I have made it clear that I am not prepared to support funding or anything to do with the police if I am not apprised of the basis of that funding and if the elected Government is shut out of the discussions about it,” said Mr McLaughlin. “This is a constant battle and constant tension and we are seeking to have at least one elected member of the Cabinet part of these discussions.”

Mr McLaughlin warned that there could be a crisis if Cabinet is left out from discussions involving the three agencies. “From my perspective they are either going to involve the elected Government or they will have a crisis on their hands,” he said.

Is this not a refreshing change from how our Executive Council fails to publicise its difficult issues?

Of course, we in Anguilla are in complete control of our Customs and Immigration Departments. They fall under the Chief Minister’s portfolio. But, we have no local institution in charge of the Royal Anguilla Police Force. They are presently a law unto themselves. They are essentially unregulated. You cannot call having the Governor in charge a form of regulation. The Governor of Anguilla has repeatedly over the past decades abdicated all responsibility for ensuring standards in the police force. Only if we have a local agency, such as the Police Service Commission as recommended by the Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commission in its report of 25 August 2006, in charge of the RAPF will there be any movement away from the present near-disastrous situation.

That’s not just my opinion, but the opinion of a majority of persons who made representations to the Commission. Would it not be wonderful if we really had regular press briefings like those given by the Cayman Executive Council? How much we would learn about the problems faced by our government! How much more support we could give them!

18 April, 2007

Land Development


I received recently the following comment from one of my correspondents. It speaks for itself:

One event that seems to me to be a (although not the only, I fear) fatal watershed in the development of Anguilla is the embrace that Government has given to the owners/developers of Viceroy, and I ask myself why and what can we find out about why? I realise that the clock cannot altogether be turned back but I am fearful for the further damage they may be able to do to the island if given further indiscriminate approvals. For Government to suggest, as the CM did in relation to the Viceroy people, that ANY organisation is so unimpeachable and meritorious that it deserves to be the exception to the rule that no one is given more than one project is so ludicrously flawed that I hardly need mention the reasons for thinking so.

Is he right, dear reader? What do you think on the subject?

17 April, 2007

Freedom of Information

Too Much Information Can Be Dangerous to Your Health.

There was an early teacher on one of one of the more remote and smaller islands of South Pacific Fiji. His school children were assembled in the village one early morning, sitting cross legged on mats in the shade of the coconut trees. They were to the side and thus not in line of a falling nut.

'It is time,' said the teacher, 'for me to tell you about your home in Fiji and the world beyond your reefs and seas.' He drew a rough picture of the earth's land masses and oceans and then pointed at a large open expanse near the bottom. He placed a fingernail in the centre. 'You see this tiny spot, no larger than the eye of a fly. That is the size of your land compared with the rest of the world'.

When the children returned to their families with this extraordinary tale, the elders were incensed at such an insult. They went to the house of the teacher, clubbed him to death, roasted and consumed him: thus providing an early example of what happens when the truth is told to those who cannot recognise and do not wish to hear it!”

--Quoted by retired Counsellor Julian Cairns-Wicks, St. Helena, in his final opinion column in the St. Helena Independent.

16 April, 2007


Legitimate Expectation. There are stomach-churning reasons why we in Anguilla are apprehensive about the involvement of National Bank of Anguilla, its directors and advisers, and government’s advisers and public servants, in the company Anguilla National Tourism Investment, usually abbreviated to ANTIL. These officers, directors, and advisers have been whispering not so quietly in government’s ears that government is entitled to block the sale of Cap Juluca’s remaining leasehold interest to the foreign-owned entity Gencom unless they comply with government’s new policy.

This new policy involves rewriting the lease to force the new purchasers to include a significant number of Anguillians in its ownership. It also involves giving back or surrendering a tract of land and pond to be used allegedly for a “national park”. Needless to say, there is no national park legislation to regulate any public lands in Anguilla. It is not clear how this would work. This new policy has been written for government by the same public officers and government advisers. These public officers and government advisers have formed ANTIL to compete with Gencom. They are lobbying with government to put pressure on the owners of Cap Juluca to sell to them at a lower price rather than for the better price they are being offered by Gencom. They justify this outrageous conduct by arguing that they are doing it in the interest of all Anguillians who want to see more local ownership in the heights of the tourism industry, represented by Cap Juluca.

I am apprehensive for a number of reasons. One of them has to do with “legitimate expectation.” That is a phrase that is pregnant with meaning in law. Dion Friedland used it in his recent open letter to the Anguillian public published in all the newspapers. He did not use the phrase because he likes big words. He used it because his lawyers were sending a message to government. What does the phrase mean? It means, among other things, that Friedland claims a legal right to expect government to act fairly. Government cannot tell Friedland that he must sell, and then, when he has found a purchaser who is willing to pay him his price, turn around and tell him that it does not approve of his purchaser unless the purchaser gives back to government large tracts of land and gives undertakings to do other things that are not in the original lease and licence.

The situation as described above cries out for a law suit to be brought against all those involved. The legal costs and damages will be in the tens of millions of dollars, US dollars. I have not heard anyone offering to compensate the owners of Cap Juluca for the breach of their legitimate expectation to be treated fairly. But, someone will pay. That will more likely than not be us, the tax payers of Anguilla. Keep that phrase in mind in the coming months. My expectation is that you are going to hear more about it. My fear is that not just government, but NBA and ANTIL are going to hear about it. Is it any wonder my stomach churns every time I hear mention of ANTIL?

With that, I am finished with this series of posts on ANTIL, for now . . .

15 April, 2007


Compulsory Acquisition. Government is forcing the present owners of Cap Juluca Hotel to sell. Government’s advisers have written some innovative new policies for government to apply to the forced sale. One such new policy is that the present or future owners must surrender tracts of land and pond to government to be turned into a “national park”. Government is insisting that this must be agreed before the forced sale will be approved.

You do not need to be a lawyer to appreciate that if it is not voluntary and consensual, this sale amounts to an expropriation of property. Enforcing this policy is the same thing as forcibly acquiring the property. Government’s advisers have held public meetings and published press releases saying that if the owners do not comply with government’s new policy for Cap Juluca, then compulsory acquisition is being considered. Of course, government can acquire property against the wishes of the owners. Government is not powerless. The law permits it to forcibly acquire land in Anguilla. Compulsory acquisition from the Randall Estate is how government came to own the freehold at Maundays Bay in the first place. But, compulsory acquisition carries with it an obligation under the Constitution to pay full and adequate compensation to the owner. Otherwise, it is illegal.

I have not heard anyone saying who is going to compensate the owners when the sale they have negotiated with Gencom-Ritz-Carlton is blocked by the lobbyists at ANTIL. It will certainly not be Auberge-Firesky, ANTIL’s foreign backers. Auberge-Firesky have offered to invest, but they would never be willing to hang around while a case is dragged through the courts. They have offered to invest a certain sum, not to pay whatever sum the courts may award by way of damages. ANTIL and government will be on their own as owners of Cap Juluca.

You would have thought that government would have learned from the recent failed attempt to force the sale of airport land from Forest Estate. Unless you are completely fair, and fulsome, and up front, in your offer to pay compensation, the owners can tie you up in court for years.

If government forcibly acquires Cap Juluca, what will become of the hotel and its employees while the case drags through the court? Will government put out the capital to keep the hotel going pending determination of the court case? They will have to find a way to do so, as no purchaser will be able to take a good title from government until the case is settled. Just thinking about it gives me a stomach ache!

I am getting tired with the worry. Tomorrow, I publish the last post in this series on ANTIL.

14 April, 2007


Growing Unease. We have been looking at the risks of ANTIL and NBA being dragged into litigation over Cap Juluca because of their involvement in attempting to persuade government to block the sale of the leasehold interest in Cap Juluca to a foreign group, Gencom, and to somehow try to persuade the present owners of Cap Juluca to sell to ANTIL instead. We have been looking at some of the reasons why many in Anguilla feel a sense of distaste and apprehension when we consider this development. The question is, why do we feel concerned? Is it that we are unpatriotic? Is it that we are disloyal?

The owners of Cap Juluca have bent to government pressure to sell and get out of the Anguilla hotel business. They have been told to find a buyer. They have found Gencom, which has agreed to pay them their asking price. Because Gencom is a foreigner, it needs to get government approval to purchase Cap Juluca. A locally backed group, ANTIL, is lobbying with government to refuse Gencom the necessary permits under the law for a foreigner to own real estate in Anguilla.

Government advisers and local institutions are involved in lobbying government against the foreign group. They say they should be permitted instead to purchase, and not the foreign group. These government advisers are principals in ANTIL which is proposing that it would be the better purchaser of Cap Juluca. As government advisers, they have written government's new policy that Cap Juluca should give large areas of its property back to government to use as a national park. As principals in ANTIL, they have written to government saying that they would give back the large tracts of land and pond to government, showing how loyal they are to government's policies! They are urging government not to grant a licence to Gencom, but to encourage the owners of Cap Juluca to deal with them instead. This situation is a classical example of a conflict of interest. Is it any wonder our stomachs churn every time we think of ANTIL?

13 April, 2007


NBA and ANTIL. Why do all sensible, thinking Anguillians must feel an increasing tide of concern sweep over us when we contemplate the continued pressure being brought by ANTIL on government to reject Gencom’s application to purchase Cap Juluca Hotel? Is it that we are unpatriotic? Is it that we prefer the foreign developer over local investors? Is it that we lack confidence in the ability of indigenous Anguillians to own and run a premier hotel in Anguilla? Or, is it that we are concerned that when the law suits start to fly about, then our interests are likely to be damaged?

One reason for our apprehension is the involvement of National Bank of Anguilla. NBA is the premier bank on Anguilla. It holds nearly one half of all the banking business in Anguilla. NBA is the principal financial sponsor of ANTIL. ANTIL's recent press releases indicate that NBA has invested over US$100,000.00 in ANTIL. NBA’s CEO is Val Banks. Val is the brother of the Hon Minister of Finance, his long-time political adviser, and, one can reasonably assume, has the ear of the minister, and exercises influence over the minister. One of NBA's directors is Marcel Fahie. Marcel is one of the most influential of NBA’s directors. He writes the policy papers for NBA’s Board of Directors. What he proposes, NBA disposes. At the same time, he is government's principle economic adviser, and as such advises government on whether ANTIL's proposal is to be preferred over Gencom's. NBA has not just lent money to ANTIL, as it could to any borrowing customer. NBA is by far the single largest investor in ANTIL. NBA has put its CEO and influential members of its Board of Directors at the forefront of ANTIL. ANTIL is, by all appearances, an extension of NBA. If ANTIL does anything that is alleged to be wrong, then NBA can expect to be joined in the resulting law suit.

NBA has ventured into the risky business of hotel development before. It has previously lent money to Mariners Hotel and to Cinnamon Reef Hotel. It got burned when those ventures went bankrupt. It was left holding bad loans. We had hoped that NBA would be more careful about letting patriotic motives drag the institution into more speculation in the tourist industry. If ANTIL does not succeed in acquiring Cap Juluca, the likelihood is that NBA will not be able to recover its investment in ANTIL. Additionally, it will almost certainly be involved in expensive litigation for having induced a breach of contract between Gencom and the owners of Cap Juluca. Given the type of people that ANTIL is up against at Cap Juluca, I put the odds of ANTIL succeeding no higher than one in ten. It has no more than a ten percent chance of ending up as the owner of Cap Juluca. That makes NBA’s chances of recovering its investment at one in ten.

Those are not the sort of odds that I would have thought that bankers invested in. NBA is my bank. I hold shares in it. I bank at NBA. I do not bank at any other bank. I do not want to see NBA joined as a party to the law suits that are about to begin. Val and Marcel are friends of mine. I have every respect for them and who they are. I am concerned. I am very concerned.

12 April, 2007


What Will Become of Us? Why do we feel such a degree of unease, distaste, and discomfort when we contemplate the proposal by the locally backed group, ANTIL, to block the sale of Cap Juluca Hotel to its owners’ preferred purchasers, the Gencom Group? We are asking whether such feelings are wrong, or whether they are justified.

Marcel Fahie is a retired Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. He is on a $12,000.00 a month contract with government to continue to be its “principal economic adviser”. That means he helps Ministers to come up with government policies. He writes the speeches that the Minister of Finance and the Chief Minister give on economic matters. He writes the press releases that government issues on economic matters. He is the long-time brains behind the economic development of Anguilla over the past thirty years. For decades, he has been the Minister of Finance’s right hand man on policy matters. He is a person of immense intelligence, integrity and influence. Nothing I say here is meant to detract from that respect that he is due. When government recently published a press release condemning the present owners of Cap Juluca for publishing an open letter to the public explaining that they have a binding agreement with Gencom, it was Marcel’s handwriting on the government press release. It was transparently Marcel’s voice that one heard in the words of condemnation. And, because of the provisions of the Aliens Landholding Licensing law, government has to approve of the sale of any real estate in Anguilla to a foreigner.

Marcel Fahie is also one of the principals behind ANTIL. He is its main spokesman and lobbyist. It is his voice that we hear speaking in the frequently published press releases for ANTIL. He is ANTIL’s main speaker at the series of town hall meetings now being held throughout the island. When ANTIL lobbies with government that Gencom’s application for permission to purchase Cap Juluca should be turned down, it is Marcel arguing on behalf of ANTIL to government. At the same time, it is Marcel advising government on what to make of ANTIL’s proposals. He is government's principle economic adviser in helping them to decide whether or not to accept Gencom's proposal to purchase the lease of Cap Juluca. There is no suggestion that Marcel is an investor in ANTIL, that he has his private funds at risk . No one believes he is trying to feather his own nest through ANTIL. He says he is continuing his life-long struggle to better the economic lot of Anguillians. No one doubts the sincerity of his good intentions.

The question remains, do the government ministers not see a bit of a conflict of interest here? Are they content to continue to have their principal economic adviser, who helps them to arrive at their policies, lobby on behalf of a commercial entity that is encouraging them to break a contract between two commercial groups? And, these are persons who have previously shown themselves willing to engage in a twenty-year dispute in and out of the courts! What will become of us!

11 April, 2007


Inducing a Breach of Contract. We are discussing ANTIL’s efforts to whip up public support for their bid to stop the proposed sale of Cap Juluca Hotel to the Gencom Group. The present owners of Cap Juluca have said that they have a binding agreement with Gencom, and do not want to discuss with ANTIL. ANTIL continues to lobby in the press and at public meetings throughout Anguilla for public support for its efforts to purchase Cap Juluca from a reluctant owner. We are all in support of increased local ownership in the tourism industry. The question is why do we feel such disquiet at these proceedings?

One reason put forward has been the idea that it is a wrong, or a tort as the lawyers call it, for anyone to stop a legitimate contract from going through. This is a civil wrong called “inducing a breach of contract”. It gives the wronged party the right to sue the persons who are guilty. If the present owners of Cap Juluca have a binding agreement to sell to a qualified and worthy purchaser, and someone else, who wants the benefit of the contract for themselves, intervenes and successfully brings pressure on government to block the sale, then the question arises whether the proposed buyer and seller have been wronged. If they can show that they have, and that they have suffered loss, then they are entitled to sue for damages. And, they will probably succeed in their law suit.

I do not know about you, but I am filled with a sense of foreboding when I contemplate what the supporters of ANTIL are doing to the contract between Gencom and the owners of Cap Juluca.

10 April, 2007


David vs Goliath. We are looking at the dispute between the locally backed group, the Anguilla National Tourism Investment Ltd (ANTIL) and Dion Friedland, the principal present owner of Cap Juluca Hotel. Actually, Mr Friedland says there is no dispute. Government has told him they are fed up with him and with Charles Hickox. The two of them have been disputing over the ownership of the hotel for too long. Meanwhile, no maintenance and development has taken place. They have been frittering away the hotel income in legal expenses over the past twenty years. The result has been that the hotel is now run down. Its guests are leaving for Cuisinart and other competitors in growing numbers.

Friedland has agreed to sell. He has found a group willing to pay him his price. We will call them Gencom for short. He says he has a binding agreement with Gencom, subject only to Government doing its due diligence to make sure they are not crooks and can do what they have promised to do. He says he has no intention of breaking his agreement with Gencom and negotiating to sell to ANTIL. He has never spoken to ANTIL, so, he says, he has no dispute with them. ANTIL has been publishing press releases demonstrating how much more patriotic and environmentally friendly their proposals for redeveloping the hotel are than Gencom’s. They seek public support. ANTIL continues to press its attentions on Mr Friedland, even though he protests that he is already betrothed.

It would all be good fun normally. Whether it is a dispute between Goliaths or between Davids and Goliaths, it is all entertaining spectator sport. Whey then does the thinking person feel more than a little uneasy at the prospect of ANTIL succeeding in blocking the sale to Gencom. Why the sinking feeling? Is it a lack of patriotism? Is it a lack of loyalty to the local group over the foreign group?

09 April, 2007


Cap Juluca's Future.

Cap Juluca Hotel is one of the premier tourist hotels in Anguilla. Well, it used to be. It is going rapidly downhill. It is rundown. It is no longer the jewel it once was. Instead of investing some of the profits in maintenance and upgrading, all of the income of the hotel for the past twenty years has been frittered away in law suits among the owners. The result has been that Government has told the owners that it is fed up with them, and Government would like to see them sell to someone who will concentrate on renovating and upgrading the property.

So, Cap Juluca’s future ownership has been in the news. The ANTIL-Firesky Group is one of its would-be purchasers. The Anguilla National Tourism Investment Ltd, or ANTIL, is a grouping of local Anguillians. They are partnering with a foreign group called Firesky in bidding to purchase Cap Juluca. Another would-be owner is the Gencom Group. Dion Friedland, one of the principal owners of Cap Juluca, has published a release stating categorically that he has a binding agreement to sell to Gencom. He is not going to deal with ANTIL. He is not even talking to ANTIL. ANTIL, have not given up. They have published a large number of press releases in the media over the past few months claiming that they have a solid case to be the purchasers of Cap Juluca. They have been holding “town hall meetings” throughout the island explaining their motives and plans for Cap Juluca with a view to build public support for their bid.

Marcel Fahie is one of the promoters of ANTIL. No one doubts his personal integrity and good intentions. He has very eloquently defended ANTIL’s intentions at a series of “town hall meetings” throughout the island. Having recently heard him and other members of his team explaining why ANTIL would be a better option as owner of Cap Juluca, I am convinced. We all want the hotel to be owned by a competent hotel company that will preserve and improve the hotel and the many Anguillian jobs that are involved. The best purchaser of all would be someone who partners with Anguillians, someone who would look after the best interests of the employees and interests of Anguilla. That is what ANTIL is proposing to do. Gencom has no such plans. Clearly, any loyal Anguillian would prefer ANTIL over Gencom to be the future owner of Cap Juluca.

Why then is it that I still feel so uneasy? Why does my stomach churn whenever I contemplate ANTIL? Is it an unreasonable feeling, or is it justified?

08 April, 2007

Anguilla Lottery

Something Rotten in the State of Denmark.

I recently received correspondence about the Anguilla Lottery. I do not know what the status of this entity is. I recall that John Benjamin lost his right to publish “Talk Your Mind” on Radio Anguilla for permitting someone to question the motivation for certain government-connected persons to start up a lottery in Anguilla, contrary at the time to the provisions of the criminal law. This is what my correspondent had to say:

May I add to your list of boards and committees under a public trust a very suspicious entity, not a Government Board as such, but doubtless owned by Ministers and maybe others in the Government. That is the partnership which takes a percentage of all bets on the Government approved monopoly lottery. To an old hand, there is a certain odor there.

What is he talking about? Do you, dear reader, know anything about how the public lottery operates? If it is as questionable as my correspondent suggests, please let us know.

07 April, 2007

Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information: Guest Editorial
In California, the open meeting/access to public documents statute is called the Ralph M. Brown Act. It is extremely useful and works very well, and has changed the relationship between the people and their governments. (It applies to all public agencies in the State - not just state agencies but cities, counties, school districts, sewer treatment districts, everything.) But the preamble is one of my favourite things in the English language:

The Ralph M. Brown Act

California Government Code

Sections 54950-54962

54950. In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.

06 April, 2007


Environmental Charter.
Has anyone seen Anguilla’s Environmental Charter? A copy of it signed by the Hon Chief Minister of Anguilla, Osborne Fleming, and Baroness Amos of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK on our behalf on 21 September 2001 can be read by clicking here. Does anyone in public office in Anguilla have any word of information for us, the public, on how we are matching up to the commitments we made in this Charter. After all, it is supposed to be a Charter promising a variety of things that our government will do for the benefit of the Anguillian public.

05 April, 2007

Immigration Fraud

Tanya’s Story.

In May last year, Tanya, a 19-year old Zimbabwean, was at the center of a UK investigation that resulted in the Home Office minister, Tony McNulty, being moved from his post. One immigration official was sacked from his job and is now the subject of a criminal investigation. Tanya helped to expose his disgusting crime of offering to help asylum seekers with their applications to remain in the UK in exchange for sex.

Far from being rewarded, Tanya now faces a threat of deportation back to her troubled country. Not surprisingly, she says she would rather die than return to her home country, which as we all know is a hell-hole plagued by violence.

You can read the original exposee in the Guardian newspaper by clicking here. here. You can also read all about the recent threat to deport Tanya in the Guardian by clicking here.

What is the relevance of this story to Anguilla? Nothing like that would happen here, you say? That is just what we are going to have a look at.

04 April, 2007

Freedom of Information

Open Government.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 came into force in England on 1 January 2005. England thus joined more than 50 countries in having freedom of information legislation.

The Act is intended to promote “open government”, craved at the highest political levels. According to the manifesto of the governing Labour Party, “unnecessary secrecy in government leads to arrogance in government and defective policy decisions”. The Act can be used as a tool with which public bodies will be forced to become more transparent about their day-to-day operations and functions. The desired effect is to increase the accountability of such public bodies. The Act imposes a duty on all public authorities to release information unless it is exempt. The Act thus requires a fundamental shift in the way the public sector has to operate. It is a case of moving away from the historic need-to-know to the new right-to-know.

Do not be alarmed by the suggestion that freedom of information rights might allow another person access to information personal to you such as tax records. The English Act dovetails with the Data Protection Act. The FOIA cannot be used to obtain information personal to others if the release of that information would breach data protection principles. Any local provision can be designed to ensure that it is not abused. If freedom of information is a good thing it should be set out as law rather than a policy which may, from time to time, be departed from.

03 April, 2007


Land Development Control Committee.
When is the last time the Land Development Control Committee bothered to tell the people what it is doing? It has been some years since I have seen a published report. The last was in the year 2004, and you can see a copy of its then published report by clicking here.

That is three years ago. There must have been lots of applications for development permission dealt with since then.

To see how it is done in the Falkland Islands read the story by clicking here.

One other point you will pick up when you read the article. In the Falkland Islands the elected members of the Legislative Council are called “councilors”. They are so lacking in arrogance that they don’t even capitalise the word!

02 April, 2007

Drug Dealing

Primary Schools at Risk.
One of our best primary schools in Anguilla is the Stoney Ground Primary. It is situated at the Stoney Ground end of the Queen Elizabeth Avenue. It stands behind the pretty pink wall on the right in the photograph below. It is staffed by dedicated teachers. Some of the brightest and best taught high school students come from that primary school. Its dedicated teachers succeed in spite of the environment they work in.

Leaning on the eastern wall of the school is a “restaurant”. Its principal sale items appear to be rum and beer. At all hours of the day there are crowds of young men standing around outside drinking alcohol. They are drinking and talking and intermingling with the schoolchildren as they go to and from the school. Their drunken loutish shouting can be clearly heard in the schoolyard. What in God’s name prevailed on the police to permit a liquor licence to an establishment that is practically leaning on the wall of a primary school? Is no one in the Education Department or in the Royal Anguilla Police Force conscious of how inappropriate this is? The purpose of the annual Liquor Licence Court is to give the police and members of the public an opportunity to object to the grant of a licence to an inappropriate establishment. Is none of them bold enough to make a protest at the annual liquor licence court? The location of this establishment clearly makes it inappropriate for it to hold a liquor licence. No properly advised magistrate would renew the licence if the circumstances were pointed out to her. Perhaps one or two of the parents should be turning up to make a protest when the licence comes up next for renewal. Just my suggestion. Or, is every parent too afraid of retaliation?

Liquor sale and consumption outside the school wall is not the only negative influence in the environment that the teachers at the Stoney Ground Primary School have to contend with. As if that were not bad enough, on the opposite side of the Avenue from the “restaurant” is one of the most notorious drug dealing establishments in Anguilla. There is a steady stream of customers all day long. Some of them pretend to be attending the “restaurant”. The dealer runs out from his house and crosses the road to sell his drugs on the steps of the restaurant. The dealing is done in open sight of all passers by. The customer buys a beer and drives off. Children walk to and from school past this activity, day after day. It goes on right in front of their eyes. No one does anything about it. It is almost as if the activity is invisible to adult eyes. Is it that only the children know about it?

The restaurant is said to be owned by a retired Anguillian police officer. I am quite sure that had nothing to do with the reluctance of the police to object to the granting of the liquor licence. Men of principle and integrity would never have allowed such a matter to influence them in doing their duty. They must have a very good reason why, after all these years of broad daylight drugs dealing and sale of alcohol outside the school wall, they have failed to arrest a single person or take a single step to provide a safe environment for our primary school children. I just do not know what it is. Do you?

I took the photograph below on a quiet Sunday. I do not recommend you try to do the same on a workday in broad daylight. Innocent tourists photographing the pretty primary school have been known to get chased by cars filled with tough young men carrying guns.