26 October, 2007


Government’s Commitments in Signing the Environmental Charter.

We are looking at how Anguilla fared during the recently concluded examination by a team of consultants from the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum [link here]. To understand what the consultants were looking for, we need to understand what it is that our government promised to do. The Environmental Charter [link here] signed on our behalf by the government of Anguilla in August 2001 contained a number of specific commitments. These were to the effect that the government of Anguilla will:

  1. Bring together government departments, representatives of local industry and commerce, environment and heritage organizations, the Governor’s office, individual environmental champions and other community representatives in a forum to formulate a detailed strategy for action.
  2. Ensure the protection and restoration of key habitats, species and landscape features through legislation and appropriate management structure and mechanisms, including a protected areas policy, and attempt the control and eradication of invasive species.
  3. Ensure that environmental considerations are integrated within social and economic planning processes; promote sustainable patterns of production and consumptions within the territory.
  4. Ensure that environmental impact assessments are undertaken before approving major projects and while developing our growth management strategy.
  5. Commit to open and consultative decision-making on developments and plans which may affect the environment; ensure that environmental impact assessments include consultation with stakeholders.
  6. Implement effectively obligations under Multilateral Environmental Agreements already extended to Anguilla and work towards the extension of other relevant agreements.
  7. Review the range, quality and availability of baseline data for natural resources and biodiversity.
  8. Ensure that legislation and policies reflect the principle that the polluter should pay for prevention or remedies; establish effective monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.
  9. Encourage teaching within schools to promote the value of our local environment (natural and built) and to explain its role within the regional and global environment.
  10. Promote publications that spread awareness of the special features of the environment in Anguilla; promote within Anguilla the guiding principles set out above.
  11. Abide by the principles set out in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and work towards meeting International Development Targets on the environment.

Those were our government’s promises to us when they signed up to this Environmental Charter. It is not much use signing up to a series of high-sounding promises if we do not keep to them. There are further legal implications. These commitments give rise to a legitimate expectation [link here] in the minds of Anguillians that government will live up to the promises they made to the people. If government fails in any significant way to uphold these promises, they lay themselves open to a lawsuit on the part of an affected citizen or resident of the island. The consequences can be costly. That is why it becomes necessary, from time to time, for someone to review our progress and to report on our achievements and failures, if we are to have an appreciation of how well or badly we are doing in meeting our commitments. That is what the recently concluded Overseas Territories Conservation Forum consultants did when they visited Anguilla and interviewed all the persons involved in environmental issues. Their Report does not place Anguilla in a very good light. To be fair, there are other Overseas Territories that fared just as badly when it comes to living up to their promises. We shall look at the Report next, and examine some of its conclusions.


  1. I expect we are about to witness officials and bureaucrats running for cover while throwing unseemly verbal hand grenades at the negativity and evil intent of those who the Anguilla members and others elected to run the UKOT Conservation Forum. We have considerable experience in Anguilla in blaming the corrupting influence of foreigners for everything, even NICA. Stay tuned

  2. According to today's Cayman Net News, President of the Chamber of Commerce, Angelyn Hernandez, warns residents that if they fail to protect the environment it could affect their future economic prosperity.

    Speaking at the Environmental Pledge Awareness reception hosted by H.E the Governor, Stuart Jack, at Government House, Ms Hernandez said, “History has shown that communities and countries that neglect or fail to protect their environmental capital may in the short to medium term prosper, but in the long-term struggle economically, as their natural resources become depleted and investors, visitors and even residents elect to go elsewhere,” she said.

    Governor Jack encouraged the participants to support the Chamber of Commerce initiative by signing the pledge to become more environmentally friendly. “I signed the pledge on behalf of Government House and personally,” he said. “Many of the environmentally friendly products you see displayed here tonight is in use at Government House. I encourage you to do your part.”

    If Anguilla's Governor cares about our environment he's been exceedingly quiet about it.


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