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 . . .


  1. Val Banks’ loyalty to his long-time friend and tennis partner, Eustace Guishard, the previous General Manager of Cap Juluca fired under a cloud, is commendable at a personal level. But, he should have thought long and hard before he committed his political clout and influence with his brother, the Hon Minister of Finance Victor Banks, to such a hazardous enterprise as blocking the sale of Cap Juluca. He should never have permitted his personal feelings for his friend to drive him to venture away from banking, his primary area of expertise, into the risky business of the tourism industry.

    Marcel Fahie’s interest in seeing Anguillians “command the heights of the tourism industry in Anguilla” is admirable. His brilliance over the years as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance when he crafted and engineered the growth and development of Anguilla’s economy are well known. His less reputable achievements as a member of the Board of Directors of National Bank of Anguilla are more of a bother. Less reputable because he used his influence and skills to persuade the Board to approve questionable decisions in relation no only to NBA but also to NICA, as revealed by the Audit Report analysed in a series of previous posts on NICA. Less reputable also because his service on the Board was permitted and condoned by those in authority and who should have known better in spite of its obvious conflict of interest with his public duties as the leading economic adviser of the very Ministry of Finance which had a regulatory role in matters of finance and economics, making questionable his advice not only to the Bank but also, and more egregiously, to the government and the public that paid his salary.

    It is not surprising that Chief Minister Osborne Fleming could not remedy these dangerous defaults. He himself continued throughout his reign as Chief Minister of Anguilla, as he continues today, to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Commercial Bank, one of the leading financial institutions in Anguilla. It is still mind-numbing how he could justify remaining the chairman of so important a public commercial institution while he purported at the same time to serve the public interest as the leader of government. His own default made it impossible for him to demand proper behaviour from the most important adviser to his government. When the most senior public servant shows such scant respect and regard for ethical behaviour in public office, it is hardly a good example to give to his subordinates. It has been well said that, “The fish rots from the head.” For this alone, his reputation and heritage will forever be tarnished and reduced when the history of his administration comes to be written.

  2. I just heard that the Ricketts have been "kicked out of Cap Juluca
    again." This is from a reliable travel industry source in New York.


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