28 September, 2007


The Right to Know. Today, 28 September, is International Right to Know Day. It was established to support global Freedom of Information legislation. The aim of Right to Know Day is to raise awareness of every individual’s right of access to government held information: the right to know how elected officials are exercising power and how taxpayers’ money is being spent. Freedom of information advocates have used the day to share ideas, strategies and success stories about the development of freedom of information laws and the goals of open government.

It is celebrated from Argentina to Venezuela, from Uganda to the Ukraine, and even in the United Kingdom. In these countries, it is secrecy that must be justified, not openness.

In Anguilla and other places with repressive regimes, no celebration will be required.

[Adapted from a letter to the Editor by London Reader published in today’s St Helena Independent.]


  1. Anguillians have the right to know whether it is true Viceory paid for the Chief Minister's kidney transplant. In other countries that type of gift would be consiered a bribe and probably impeachable. Or whatever the equivelent word is in British law.

  2. What is the source of the (alleged?) information about Viceroy paying for the CM's kidney transplant?


  3. In America, there is a federal law prohibiting American companies operating overseas from giving bribes or gifts to foreign officials.

    It has been alleged on anguillatalk that our Chief Minister admitted, in front of witnesses, that he had been given $300,000 by Viceroy to pay for his medical bills.

    I do not believe he would do such a thing. I certainly don't believe he would be stupid enough to admit it, had he done so. But my opinion in this matter counts for nothing. I wasn't there, and my computer sees no more than anyone else's computer.

    If the allegation is true, Viceroy may have violated a serious federal law in the U.S.

    If the allegation is untrue, those who defamed our Chief Minister in this matter could be facing a civil action for damages.

    In a similar vein, we hear repeated rumours that Viceroy put up the bail money for accused murderer Abraham Harrigan. Again, I don't know if this tale is true. But in the popular view, there are those who believe, rightly or wrongly, that it places Bunton and Abraham in substantial debt to Viceroy.

    It is one thing to be accused of favouritsm. To be morally aligned with an accused murderer is really over the top and places a very dark cloud over the head of our Chief Minister and thus our entire Government. This has really gone too far and I hope Mr. Fleming will take strong and positive action today, on Right to Know Day, instead of outsourcing his public relations to the likes of Percy, Haydn, and others in the shadows.

    by Bankie Banx

    Gazing out on the New York City Skyline
    I see a grim and fading sunset
    As it melts into the night

    I see the lights go on in the highrise
    I watch the inmates as they come
    I see the faces by the roadside
    I see the place they once called home
    Do you, Do you, Do you
    See what I see

    I see the crisis in the ghetto
    It's not from hunger for the food
    They cook it up to feed the illusion
    To try and better the mood
    I see a dark cloud over the skyline
    I watch the leaders as they sneer
    I read between the print and news lines
    I see the sad ones as they stare
    Do you, Do you, Do you
    See what I see
    Depopulation, Genocide, Frustration, Suicide
    Do you...See what I see
    Do you, Do you, Do you
    See what I see

  5. Oh well... Why is the Investors of Flag Luxury Properties keep lying to our Anguillian? They know St. rgeis is no longer apart of them they are no good for starwood nor Anguilla... They need to inform all Anguillians of their newly hotel operation out of Paris"" Oh well... So interesting how our small community haveto dive their ears under the ocean to hear the true sound of " FLPA"

  6. Don....
    Aren't these issues the Ethics Committee should investigate???

  7. With respect to the spurious allegation that Viceroy put up money for Mr. Abraham Harrigan's bail, I regret to inform those thrill seekers who would like nothing better than to spur on Tabloid trash talk that that is quite untrue.

    It is nobody's business but the Judicial System's and Mr. Harrigan and his family and his many friends what the financial arrangement is with respect to his bail. However, given that there is general knowledge that Mr. Harrigan is the grandfather to one of the Chief Minister's children, it is now sought to cast a wide net and ensnare Mr.Abraham Harrigan in the attack against the Chief Minister.

    Please leave Mr.Harrigan out of this debate. He has nothing to do with it.

    I know where the bail sum came from and I can assure one and all that it did not come from Viveroy or any other foreign investor, in or out of Anguilla. The children of Mr.Harrigan obtained a bank loan to pay the Bail sum.(I am authorized to make this known in light of the false allegation levelled, by way of innuendo, against this gentleman.)

    While it is true that that is nobody's business, it is necessary to state that fact to bring an immeadiate end to these unfortunate erroneous allegations.

    Furthermore, the writer who hides behind "Anonymous" to declare that the Chief Minister is somehow acting , at the very least, inappropriately, in his support for Mr.Harrigan, assuming that he does indeed support Mr. Harrigan, which, again, is nobody's business,misses the point completely.

    Mr.Harrigan is the grandfather of the Chief Minister's child;

    Mr.Harrigan is Constitutionally Innocent unless and until a Jury finds otherwise on admissible evidence in the Court. So to presume someone "guilty" because they are charged with a Criminal Offence is to disregard the fundamental basis of Constitutional Democracy.

    Have you ever paused to consider the very similar "coincidences of fact" between the shooting at Mr. Harrigan's supermarket and the spate of shootings and armed robberies which took place in July/August? I guess you think Mr, Harrigan is responsible for those incidents as well given the tremendous similarities between them and the one he is accused of.

    Rest assured that I know what I am talking about: I am Mr.Harrigan's Lawyer.


    Thomas Astaphan.

  8. To the person who asked if these matters are not suitable ones for the Ethics Committee. There is no Ethics Committee in Anguilla. Unlike in many Caribbean states, in Anguilla there is no Anti-corruption Commission endowed with the constitutional and statutory power to investigate allegations of corruption against Government Ministers.

    What we have is only a Public Service Integrity Board. The statute establishing the Board makes it clear what are the limitations of the Board's powers. The Board is only to investigate allegations of conflict of interest involving civil servants, also known as public servants. And, it does not have the power to initiate its own investigation into allegations against a civil servant. It must wait until the Governor requests an investigation. When it reports to the Governor, the Governor can accept or reject the report or recommendation. The Board is essentially a toothless watchdog. It was a good start at integrity legislation. It has proven to be so inadequate and unequal to dealing with problems of good governance in Anguilla that it is now time to replace it with more aggressive institutions.


  9. To Mr Mitchell

    Thank you for explaining how the Public Service Integrity Board works.
    So, what should happen is that these allegations against Mr Fleming should therefore be brought to the attention of the Governor? How does one do this? Do the people have to have some sort of proof or do they present their concerns to the Governor and then his office investigates?
    It would be a waste of time and effort to investigate every rumour floating around (can you imagine!) but in a case like this where the members of Govt are constantly suspected of corruption perhaps they would welcome the investigation as a chance to prove their innocence.

  10. Mr. Astaphan... as much as you the lawyer representing Mr. Harrigan, little do you know that the said Mr. Harrigan is the grand father to two (2) of the chief minister children. Perhaps that’s another lie you were told as well… get your facts and be aware!

  11. This is a matter for the Attorney General. Unfortunately, Attorney Generals past and present in these islands wait for the public to bring an issue to their desk. Instead of recognising that the Attorney General is not just Chief Legal Advisor for Government but also must function as Chief Consumer Advocate and Chief Guardian for matters of public interest. Over the years Attorney Generals in AXA have function in only one role - Chief Legal Advisor for government.

    What will it take for the Attorney General Office to behave independently of the government of day to address matters of public interest? I would imagine ethics, transparency and anti corruption laws are a great place to start.

  12. Dear " Anonmyous a dit.." ( You are afraid to put your name to your comment)

    The fact that Mr.Harrigan is the Grandfather to TWO of Mr. Fleming's children strenghtens my point, not weaken it.

    Read my comments again and , after putting your name to your comments, show me the "facts" which I did not get " straight",
    unless of course you are too much of a coward to expose your identity.

    Thomas W.R.Astaphan

  13. There you go again Mr. Astaphan - this is a blog, not evidence in court. Requesting names is a preposterous dejavu… trying to cover and divert attention from criminal actions. There is a victim, and their families hurting too Mr. Astaphan? Your previous winnings on technicalities, inexperience and ill-equip Crown Prosecution Service and lack of government’s willingness to resource the Attorney General Chamber does not merit accreditations, but rather, a recipe and the furtherance to the escalation of crime on Anguilla. This will be a turning point… I know you are aware Mr. Astaphan.

  14. What we need in Anguilla are laws that prohibit such corrupt behaviour.Why hasn't this been done as yet is still a mystery to me as a concerned citizen of Anguilla.This circulation of rumors and fabricated stories should be left for the tabloids not everyday media informaton.
    If there is a problem then we need to imediately address it instead of whining and airing it out in every venue except where it matters most ,ie the legilative assembly.We need to give the PSIB the necessary powers and authority to initiate such actions or create an Ethics commission expressly for that purpose.How can we erradicate corruption without any anti corruption laws or institutions that are empowered to do so.
    We are not bandits, pirates or lawless individuals bent on existing in this day and age in an uncivilized state.We are highly inteligent interlectuals who I know will come together for the common good of our country and our selves.
    What Mr Harrigan and his
    attorney do is their business.However the CM shouldn't even be involved with it even if he has children by his daughter.It is not wise or ethical.No official should associate with any suspected or know criminals regargless of his relationship(biological or otherwise.
    It is therefore imperative and critical that we establish such a c`ommision with haste to prevent such illegal and unwanted behaviour.Our country and its people deserve more any less is unacceptable.

  15. Dear Cowardly "Anonymous a dit":

    Whether " this is a blog, not evidence in court..." is irrelevant to the true facts.
    Requesting you to name yourself is quite simple: you are quite prepared to defame the Chief Minister of Anguilla behind the protection of " Anonmyous a dit"; you are quite prepared to suggest corruption against the Chief Minister and Mr. Abraham Harrigan from the illusory safety of "Anonymous a dit", ; but you do not have the balls to state your name; to stand up and be held accountable for your false allegations against these two gentlemen. Instead you invoke the "victim and their families hurting..'. So I take it that the Chief Minister doesn't have families who hurt when cowards like you jump on this site and cast very serious and criminal allegations against him and hide your identity? Or is it that his family's feelings do not matter to you??
    Same questions for Mr. Abraham Harrigan family; they do not have feelings too?

    Please inform us just how " Requesting names is a preposterous dejavu...trying to cover and divert attention from criminal actions"? That is, if you are capable of doing so and if you are further capable of making sense out of that nonsensical utterance.

    You refer to my " previous winnings on technicalities, inexperience and ill-equip (sic) Crown Prosecution Service ( something we do not have in Anguilla; something that exists in England.Does this point to your identity?) and lack of government's willingness to resource the Attorney General's Chambers..."

    I will not enter into a debate WITH A COWARDLY PERSON with respect to my numerous successes in defence of the Rights of the People of Anguilla. Suffice it to say that no one like YOU, COWARDLY QUISLING, can deter me in my representation of the People of this Country. Nothing you do or say merits a second thought.

    Your attacks on the variuos Lawyers in the Attorney General's Chambers who have served with distinction over the years is yet again a hallmark of your cowardly and insular existence.

    Those who have served and are still serving with distinction in those Chambers include our present acting Governor, the Honourable Mr. Stanley Reid, former Senior Crown Counsel , a Lawyer of immense talent, Mrs. Chanel Petty -Barrett, Crown Counsel, another excellent Lawyer; one of our past Attorney Generals, Honourable Mr, Kurt DeFreitas, Q.C, presently Attorney General of The Turks & Caicos Islands,and the longest serving Attorney-General in the British Overseas Territories, and a Lawyer of high repute; our immeadiate past Attorney general, Mr. Ronald Scipio, Q.C; Miss Vernette Richardson, Crown Counsel; Miss Dawn Richardson, Crown Counsel,; Mrs Dawn Holder-Alert, former Senior Crown Counsel; Mr.Ivor Green, Senior Crown Counsel; our distinguished present Attorney General, Mr. Wihelm Bourne; and our present Senior Crown Counsel Ms. Tecla Francis- Benjamin, each and all of whom are distinguished Lawyers in their areas of practice and none of whom deserve your vituperative attack on their professionalism and characters.

    What is your basis for accusing the Government of being unwilling to resource the Attorney General's Chambers?

    That is a blatant lie as I know for a fact that none of the Governments of Anguilla for the past twenty years had " a lack of willingness to resource the Attorney General Chamber" ( whatever you meant by THAT!). Each of them have in fact fully funded those Chambers, and the results have been remarkable. But you would not know that, and you do not care to know that. You just want to abuse people.

    As for my " previous winnings.....not merit accreditations' but rather, a recipe and the furtherance to the escalation of crime on Anguilla.", pray tell, what the hell were you TRYING to say?

    "This will be a turning point...I know that you are aware Mr.Astaphan". No, I am not "aware" of what "this " is which " will be a turning point..". Again, if you can, and, in so doing do not tax your " mind" too much, tell us.

    But, alas, we know what will follow; another attack signed " Anonymous a dit", for you are not made of the mettle of which real men and real women are made. You are mere pablum, and cannot dare state your name and stand up and be counted.

    Finally, a word of advice to my good friend and Senior Collegue Mr. Don Mitchell, Q.C: It is in your best interests not to publish any Anonymous a dit comments, for when a Suit in Defamation is filed, it will be filed against you as Defendant because you are the Publisher of this site.

    Have a good day you weasle of a Coward, "Anonymous a dit"( it sure rhymes with your real name, doesn't it?)
    Thomas W.R. Astaphan.

  16. Mr Astaphan we are not the jury hearing your argument,so there is no need for anyone to identify themselves if they choose to remain anonymous.
    To hear you sy that what goes on with Mr HARRIGAN and the CM is nobody business is really quite shocking coming from you as a lwayer and supposedly educated person.Your client stands accused of a serious crime MURDER against the people.Is that not so?Then ,how can you say its nobody business,duh.You whine about constitutional rights,however ,he is allowed his you .Is there not a trial set?His contitutional rights are protected,he was arrested,charged and set for trial.I'm sure the police didnt violate his rights by doing that?You too seems to caught up in the snare of tabloid rumours,my good man.The people has a right to know any and everything that affects that case,even in the instance of bail.We are a small community and rumours do circulate freely and rapidly so it behooves you to set the record straight but do so in the media.
    The Cm business is our business.What he does and who he associates with is our business.Afterall he is a public official, and as such ,has to be accountable to the public for his activities 24/7.Any association with or support of criminals (accused or convicted )is wrong.If the both of you do not like that, you both need to retire from the public arena,then your private life will and can remain private.

  17. We are missing the point about Freedom of Information Day. This was not a post about Abraham Harrigan's problems. It was about something much more profound. Can I now ask that there be no more ill-tempered exchanges on the subject. The discussion is now closed.


  18. I totally agree with you Mr Mitchell.This is about openingness and transparency in Gov't.When people are curious and questions a gov't action or an official action or decision ,it is their responsibilty to respond in like kind to set the record straight.Secrecy breeds resentment and comtempt against those individuals and or the Gov't.Whenthe public is told of the plans or actions that are about to be undertaken,then it allows them to understand and effectively voice their position on the matters at hand.
    What we as Anguillians are desperate for is a Gov't that is open enough to include us in the loop.A Gov't that will address us utilizing the public media to disclose those critical issues that affects us whether directly or indirectly.If we can achieve this I am positive that we would be less suspicious of
    Gov't and it's motives.Anguillians have a long history of fighting for that which they hold dear and why should we comprimise now?W hy shoild we not demand an accounting by our Gov't and it's officials?Did we not make demands on Bradshaw and his tryranical Gov't?
    In this day and age we cannot afford to sit back and not take full advantage of the freedom of info. act and make it work to our benefit.Are we democratic or we a society that only do it as lips service only but rahter be governed as dictatorial surpressive regimes?


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