21 June, 2007

Constitutional Reform

Why Revise our Constitution? Anguilla is in the process of reviewing its Constitution. The British Government has encouraged us to engage in this exercise. It is not only Anguilla. All of the British Overseas Territories are involved. Nor is it only a British Government initiative. The US, Dutch, and French territories are engaged in the same process. Its genesis lies in the fate of the United Nations Committee of 24. The imperial powers of the United States, Britain, the Netherlands and France are determined to bring the work of the Decolonization Committee to an end. They have been arguing for years that they have no more colonies. They say that their colonies’ constitutions are so advanced that they cannot be considered to be classical colonies any longer. They are not willing to continue funding to support the existence of this UN committee. They no longer send the required reports to the Committee. In their eyes, it exists only to rain blows of embarrassment on their heads. The present Constitutional revision exercise in the Overseas Territories is not meant for our benefit. It can be viewed as a part of this effort to bring an end to the Committee of 24. Constitutional modernisation is principally intended to show how unnecessary this UN committee is. This is why the imperial powers have all been encouraging their overseas territories to upgrade their constitutional arrangements. That is why the Dutch overseas territories are engaged in the process of revising their arrangements with the Netherlands. The French have just completed the process. St Barths is no longer a part of Guadeloupe. It now has its own constitutional arrangement with France. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are revising their arrangements with the USA. So, Anguilla’s negotiation with the UK is a small part of an international process. That is not to say that we cannot derive some benefits from the exercise.

We have a say in what is to become of us. We are the only ones with the voice that really counts when it comes to our future. We will decide what our fate will be. It is only if we are not sure what we want that others will decide it for us. If we know what we want for ourselves, no one can order us around. Everything depends on us. If we organize and represent our interests in a unified way, there is practically no limit to what we cannot achieve constitutionally. If we keep quiet, there is practically no limit to the abuse that we can be made to undergo.

Tomorrow, we look at the example of the Chagos Islands.


  1. The police may be bringing drugs into Anguilla. If is not already going on, since it is common for police on other islands, it could happen in the future. It does not seem right that the police have the power to decide if the honest citizens of Anguilla can get guns. It seems for the last 4 years the police have not given out guns licenses.

    There is a general problem of, "who will watch the watchers?". If the police are corrupt and they are in charge of guns, then we could have trouble getting rid of them. Before getting rid of the St Kitts police, Anguillians first had to get some guns.

    The right to defend yourself seems very basic. In the US the right to own guns in the "second amendment" to the constitution. While we are changing the Anguilla constitution, could we at least do something so that corrupt police could not disarm the public?

  2. Not even in England do citizens have the right have guns. Infact English police officers are not armed. I agree with the restrictions on all weapons for personal use in AXA. We do not have any big game to go hunting.

    Arming yourself because there may or may not be corrupt police officers is no argument for having guns. The only people who should have guns are business folks or property owner with assets above a certain range.

  3. I have not heard of the British police smuggling drugs. If the police were properly run so there was no corruption, then I think there would be less need for citizens with guns.

    Allowing guns for "business folks or property owner with assets above a certain range" would be reasonable. If some citizens have guns then burglars have a chance of getting stopped and we are all safer. But it seems that in Anguilla the police are not giving licenses to anyone.

    This seems like a major policy decision that should have been debated, instead of just some policeman (possibly corrupt) deciding there was "no threat" and so citizens don't need guns.

  4. No one is above the law, and everybody who disrespects the law MUST be punished. In St Maarten, the Herald newspaper, did you not read that the Commissioner of Police was arrested,for some illegal acts and was disarmed, therefore, that is a lesson that no one is above the law, whether it is the polician, police, customs, immigration or any other civilian. They should be dealth with the full extent of the law.
    Corruption must not be tolerated.
    I do not support that every body who so desires to have a gun should have one, we are not living in the wild wild west yet.

  5. >Corruption must not be tolerated.

    If the police are smuggling drugs, what steps should be taken to not tolerate this, and by whom?

  6. We should all agree to buy our drugs only from criminals, not from police.

  7. After the Dunblaine school massacre, where unarmed teachers were unable to defend themselves or their students against an armed madman, Great Britain, in an attempt to legislate physics and abolish violence, created a actual prohibition of *all* private gun ownership.

    Since the Dunblaine firearm prohibition, armed violent home invasion burglaries have gone up dramatically in Great Britain. Criminals have no incentive not to do with they please with their innocent victims, and yet people who defend themselves and their property are, believe it or not, sent to jail if they injure a burglar or rapist. Knifings in the commission of simple cell-phone thefts on the street have become commonplace.

    It used to be on Anguilla that business and property owners were able to easily get a permit to own a firearm to protect their property and lives.

    Frankly, even then the licensure of firearms was a regulation more honored in the breach, and, in fact, and nobody much cared. A frontier post-revolutionary society needed to depend on a citizen militia, and all that. Back in the days when nobody had any money and firearms were inexpensive, every adult male not only had a boat and a piece of the rock, but also a machete to defend himself and his family with.

    Three years ago, apparently, the government of Anguilla ceased to issue firearm permits at all.

    Not coincidentally, three years ago, home invasion burglaries on Anguilla began to skyrocket. So too did the casual shooting of unarmed innocent people on the street by criminals carrying illegal firearms.

    Do the math, folks. Actually, do the statistics. Read "More Guns, Less Crime", a book by University of Chicago Statistics Professor John Lott.

    The paradox is true. An armed society is a polite society. If criminals don't know whether their proposed victims are carrying concealed firearms or not, violent crime is considerably less likely to happen. Ask the residents of the formerly violent gun-crime capitals of Florida or Texas. Or the now majority of states in the USA where firearm ownership has been radically decriminalized over the last ten years. With a concomittant dramatic reduction in violent crime. Particularly armed home-invasion burglary.

    So, sure, Anguillians should have gun control: they should hold their pistols with both hands when a home-invader comes through the window -- so they can hit what they're aiming at.


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