30 November, 2007

More Ministers

Increasing the Size of Executive Council. I may have misheard. It was on the radio yesterday as I was driving back from a most strenuous walk. I was not concentrating. It was the Hon Chief Minister speaking. He was saying something about going to London. He was explaining that the burden on the existing four ministers is unbearable. There is a need to increase the size of the Executive Council to share the burden of government. He was saying that he was going to “ask permission” to have a fifth Minister appointed.

I could not understand what he was saying.

Then, I heard him say that he wanted this done “before the Constitution was changed”. I was dumbfounded! I could not believe what I was hearing.

As every Anguillian schoolchild knows, section 23 of the 1982 Constitution of Anguilla says that ExCo consists of the Chief Minister and “not more than three other Ministers”. It is in the Constitution! The Constitution limits the maximum number of Ministers to four. The Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commission has reported since August 2006 that a majority of Anguillians making representations to the Commission want to see ExCo increased in size. They also are clear that this is on one condition. The number of Ministers must never again exceed fifty percent of the elected members of the House. To do otherwise is to completely gut the House of Assembly and make it useless as a check or balance on the Executive branch of government. There are only seven elected members of the House. Most Anguillians want to see that number increased to thirteen. Then, there can be an increase of ExCo, or Cabinet, to five or six. See paragraph 37 of the Report [link here]. The correct balance will thus be maintained.

The Hon Chief Minister is no dummy. He well knows that no one can increase the size of ExCo without changing the Constitution. Not even the British Government can alter this. Not even the Queen can authorize such a change without changing the Constitution. The Constitution cannot be changed without the consent of the people of Anguilla. The people have spoken through the representations they made to the Commission during the year 2006. The only way that the number of Ministers can properly be increased is by following the voice of the people as heard in paragraph 37 of the Constitutional and Electoral Commission Report.

Of course, I may have completely misheard. Worse mistakes have happened!


  1. People are saying on anguillatalk that yesterday's earthquake was caused by all this wickedness.

  2. At least the CM told us before he left. The last time they tried to change our constitution they didn't even bother to tell us.

    In Anguilla, we call this openness and transparency.

  3. Dictators do this, but without the quaint ritual.

  4. Mr Fleming says this change is necessary.

    "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves."
    --William Pitt, House of Commons, 1783

  5. Osbourne Fleming et al wants to hijacked the democractic process with an interim amendment to the Constitution. Yes, we need more Ministers but I will not support this move unless the people get to elect those persons in a general election. Hence, we need Constitution change not Constitution hacks. I have repeatedly said these elderly politicians are the most greedy bunch to ever sit in that House. They want to hold on to power at all cost. If they cannot handle their Ministries, resign and let others who can do the work serve the people.

    WIth all these advisors, special assistants and liasons they can't handle the Ministry for the next two years until they are voted out? Can we really afford to pay for another Minister at this time. Don't these people have a heart anymore? What we need are young, energetic, capable leaders who are comparable to their counterparts in the other territories. It is now clear, the (UF) has no intention for Constitution modernisation or reform.

    But if the British go ahead with this change, Anguilla will see a protest never before seen in the history of this island. I am fed up with this nonsense now. This is political suicide for the United Front government. They have now shown that the people of Anguilla are not valued and they are the only ones who know what we want.

    No more Ministers unless there are more districts or at large voting.

    On another note, I find it rather alarming that so many of the elected members will be overseas at one time or another, including the Governor.

  6. I heard somewhere that Osborne was taking the Hon Edison Baird to London as part of his team. Eddie Baird is a member of the Loyal Opposition in the House of Assembly.

    I wonder what Eddie has offered the Chief Minister to get a pick? I wonder what the Chief Minister promised Eddie in return?

    Will we soon learn that the Hon Hubert Hughes is the sole member of the Opposition in the House?

    Eddie is no dumbie. He has a degree in political science. He knows the score! No political promise can overcome the obstacles place by the Constitution.

  7. Hubert said Eddie is a lazy boy, he couldn't run a ministry and spent all his time "frolicking at Herbert's".

  8. The Anguillian:

    “The other matters the Anguillian delegation will discuss include the following: aviation arrangements between Anguilla, French and Dutch Territories; extending the contracts of the UK Policemen on the island as well as securing additional assistance in fighting crime; and assessing information and procedures for Anguillians applying to UK colleges and universities under the new admissions policy.”

    … what childishness. This is disappointing, meaningless and shameful! Do you think that the British Government really has wasted-time to discuss issues which are already in placed? It’s time that the Government of Anguilla stop wasting the hard working tax payers money on retreats in London and Slough.

  9. Things such as university admission procedures could easily be handled by staff, using email. Thinking people know you don't need to go all the way to London and take up some Minister's valuable time with administrative trivia.

    But since the Ministers and their public relations officer don't seem willing or able to tell us what our government is doing, perhaps they think this is the only way to get attention.

    They have reduced themselves to the level of Eddie, who could get the answers to simple questions by making a local phone call, but feels the need to exhibit peacock behaviour in the House of Assembly by asking his questions where all can see and hear.

    Our level of governance reminds me of the high school project they have in some US cities where for one day a year, children trade places with city officials and pretend to decide new policies.

    It is embarrassing.


    21 November 2006

    Higher Education Minister, Bill Rammell was today delighted to announce proposals to enable students from the British Overseas Territories to be treated as home students for fee purposes at institutions in England. Bill Rammell and Foreign Office Minister Lord Triesman have worked hard on behalf of the Overseas territories to bring this change to fruition. DFID Minister, Gareth Thomas welcomed this announcement.

    The proposal means that from 2007/08, students from specified territories will be charged the home fee rate for their Further Education and undergraduate degree courses at colleges and universities in England.

    Bill Rammell said:

    "This is a long awaited change for the Overseas Territories, which do not have their own higher education provision. It is a move that will help them to improve their self sufficiency."

    Lord Triesman added:

    “This change will have long-term benefits in terms of self-sufficiency of the Overseas Territories and it fits well with the commitments we gave in the 1999 White Paper on the Overseas Territories.”

    Gareth Thomas said:

    “This is a significant decision for the future of Overseas Territories. It will help increase the educational options for students from Britain’s remaining overseas territories, and in turn help to boost the long term prosperity of the Territories.”

    The change will be implemented through amendments to the Education (Fees and Awards) and the Education (Qualifying Courses and Persons) Regulations and implemented in time for the 2007/08 academic year.

    Editor's Notes
    This press notice relates to 'England'

    1. The UK has an obligation under the United Nations Charter to promote the well-being of the inhabitants of its Overseas Territories and we are committed under the White paper “partnership for Progress and Prosperity - Britain and the Overseas Territories” to ensuring their social and economic development.

    2. Ministers in DfES received representations from the British Overseas Territories through the FCO and the DfID about the fees charged to their residents whilst studying in the UK. Because some of the overseas territories of EU countries are themselves in the EU, students from there qualify for the home fee rates, but students from Britain’s Overseas Territories are treated as international students and are charged higher fees. Gibraltar is the only British Overseas Territory whose students currently qualify for the home fee rates. This proposed change will mean that students in the overseas territories of EU Member States will be treated equally.

    3. This change reflects the close and long-standing links between the Overseas Territories and the UK. It also reflects the changed citizenship status of the territories. Under the 2002 British Overseas Territories Act British citizenship was extended to all people in the British Overseas Territories who qualified for it on the basis that they were British Overseas Territories citizens (BOTCs) from particular territories. In practice not all, but the majority of British Overseas Territories Citizens automatically became British Citizens on 21 May 2002 when the Act came into force. The exception was those deriving their BOTC status from the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus. Children born after 21 May 2002 to those British Overseas Territories citizens that became British citizens become British citizens themselves.

    4. The specified territories to which the change will apply are

    British Overseas Territories

    British Antarctic Territory
    British Indian Ocean Territory
    British Virgin Islands
    Cayman Islands
    Falkland Islands
    Pitcairn Islands
    South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands
    St Helena & its Dependencies
    Turks & Caicos Islands

    Overseas territories of other EU member states

    Greenland & Faeroe Isles (Denmark)
    Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St Eustatius and St Marten) and Aruba (Netherlands)
    French possessions:-
    New Caledonia
    French Polynesia
    Wallis and Futuna
    St Pierre et Miquelon
    French Southern and Antarctic Territories

    ... and still our leading illiterates continued belittling our intelligence… and then blame the British intelligence... about doing nothing.

  11. You stated, "As every Anguillian schoolchild knows, section 23 of the 1982 Constitution of Anguilla says that ExCo consists of the Chief Minister and “not less than three other Ministers”. It is in the Constitution! The Constitution limits the maximum number of Ministers to four.

    Since when does "not less than three other ministers" mean that there can't be four other ministers. The last time I checked, four was not less than three.

  12. You're right, of course. I've corrected it to "not more than . . ." Careless of me!


  13. The Ministers are back from the UK, were they able to get the fifth Minister?

  14. .... the fifth minister went with them... that's eddie baird

  15. Maing Eddie a Minister is just another stupid rumour being spread by The Light. The purpose of this cheap political rumour seems to be to depict Eddie as weak, confused and dishonest about his loyalties.

    FCO Minister Megg Munn told the Anguilla delegation that it would be nonsense for us to have 7 elected members and for 5 of them to be Ministers. In his press conference yesterday the CM backed down from that stupidness.

    They also presented Dame Bernice's silly proposal for full internal self government and Mrs. Munn said, in effect, "Great, let's go for it. Please present your timetable for independence." In his press conference yesterday, the CM backed down from that stupidness too.

    He's also backed down from saying he doubts if we can finish the constitutional review process before the 2010 election. He's now saying that serious progress will be resumed in January. I actually feel sorry for him, forced to sit there and listen to Dame Bernice's interminable and repetative preaching, which is not confined to the Sabbath.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.