17 January, 2008

Crime Solved

Ditherers and Platitudes. I am sure we all remember with pride and a sense of accomplishment the news from April 2007. The Hon Chief Minister, in response to near panic in the community at the rise in the numbers of burglaries, rapes, murders, and youthful drug-fuelled mayhem, set up a Multidisciplinary Committee on Crime. The purpose of the committee was to “design a strategy and the development of an action plan to facilitate the prevention and correction of crime on Anguilla”. If you want, you can read all about it here on the government public relations website. In case you are overwhelmed by a sense of the futility of reading press releases and would prefer not to visit the website, I extract the important part of the press release here:

"As part of the efforts to address the recent upsurge in the incidents of crime, the Honourable Osbourne Fleming, Chief Minister convened an emergency meeting at his offices on Wednesday, April 11, 2007.

In addition to members of the government and opposition member the Hon Hubert Hughes, present at the meeting were Dame Bernice Lake, QC, Commissioner of Police, Keithley Benjamin and Sergeant Rudolph Proctor, Superintendent Minister of the Methodist Church, the Rev. Dr. Clifton Niles, Chief Education Officer, Mrs. Rhonda Connor, Commissioner of Social Development, Mr. Stanford Richardson, Director of Tourism, Mrs. Amelia Vanterpool-Kubisch, Chief Immigration Officer Ms. Laureen Bryan, Executive Directors of the Anguilla Hotel Association and the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as other representatives from the Department of Education and the Anguilla Hotel & Tourism Association.

[Zealous puffery about what we all "must do" omitted.]

The purpose of the committee established by the Government of Anguilla is to therefore assist with the designing of a strategy and the development of an action plan to facilitate the prevention and correction of crime on Anguilla."

I am sure the families of Stacy Ann Brooks-Laurent, shot to death on 3 August as she sat in her car, and of Randy Audain, shot in the head on 10 August, must be reassured to know that this committee was established. All Anguillians expected much from it.

The meeting appointing the committee was well publicised.

The Anguillian Newspaper did a story on it in its 13 April 2007 issue.

In an article published in Anguilla Guide entitled “Reclaiming Our Paradise”, the anonymous author showered high accolades on government for setting up this committee. This article was written after the famous 16 August “Day of Mourning, Repentance and Prayer”. The author wrote then, “What I would say, though, is that if it is business as usual after all the mourning, repenting and praying, then the “Day of Mourning, Repentance and Prayer” would have been in vain.” This was to be prophetic.

I have checked with three people in Education, Social Services and the private sector who are working directly and effectively with young people. Not the young people who want to become dentists, accountants and proctologists but the boys we are all concerned about. Like me, all of them heard of this important initiative in April of last year. And none of us has heard a word about it since then.

What has it accomplished? Has it met once since it was set up?

Did it ever design a strategy? Did it ever come up with the promised action plan?

And, how many young Anguillian men have been shot, stabbed or murdered since April 2007?

How do we put up with such ditherers and their platitudes?


  1. According to the US Justice Department, 80 percent of the incarcerated violent criminal population is illiterate or nearly so (as are 67 percent of ALL criminals locked up). There seems to be a direct connection between the humiliation poor readers experience and the life of angry criminals. A growing body of documentation ties illiteracy causally to violent crime. A study by Dennis Hogenson titled "Reading Failure and Juvenile Delinquency" attempted to correlate teenage aggression with age, family size, number of parents present in home, rural versus urban environment, socio-economic status, minority group membership, and religious reference. None of these factors produced a significant correlation. But one did. As the author reports, "Only reading failure was found to correlate with aggression in both populations of delinquent boys."

  2. This government - if it can be dignified with that description - spends more time on creating superficial appearances than on following through with substantive action, except in one area - that of taking precipitate decisions designed to generate wealth for the few as quickly as possible, without regard for the wider consequences.

    The Honourable Minister of Finance, in his 2008 budget speech, spoke with pride of the foresight and wisdom of the government in embarking on a two-year Tourism Sector Development Project under which an Economic Social Impact Analysis would be undertaken. What he sought to obscure by trumpeting this triumph of wisdom on the part of the government was that the fatal decisions which will change the face of Anguilla for ever have already, tragically, been taken, so that, like the vast majority of expert advice which the government pretend to take, the teeth of the study have been drawn before the project has even begun.

    The same is true of the Multidisciplinary Committee on Crime. The government first created the problem; then they set up a committee to create the impression that they cared; then they sat on their hands and did next to nothing or, possibly, nothing at all. Of course it would be a miracle if they were willing to tell us what they have or haven't done, but that would be an unrealistic expectation.

    The real underlying problem is that the people of Anguilla are faced with such massive evidence of bad government that they are in denial that this could possibly be happening to them. They should stop being apathetic. A real opposition and a real press are needed. Is there noone who cares enough about their country to take the initiative?

    This blog is absolutely invaluable, but it cannot accomplish the change that is needed if the people of Anguilla stand idly by and do nothing of any real substance to provide alternative leadership with integrity.

  3. I certainly agree about "alternative leadership with integrity." Unfortunately, those who care don't matter and those who matter don't care.

  4. We've seen a whole load of people come forward as leadership wannabes. They are mostly of two types:

    The first group come prepared with a long list of problems and an equally long list of promises. But it's like my saying every student must be provided with a computer, every dirt road must be paved and every conceivable medical treatment must be provided on island. If I have no way to get from here to there, these are dreams, not real solutions.

    The other groupare so desperate for power that they will say anything and tell any lie to overcome their lack of support. They often claim to have been sent to us by God.

    It is obvious to any intelligent voter that no one in either group has any integrity, so we are left to choose among unethical candidates. In a group of liars, braggarts, egomaniacs and religious zealots, we might as well go for experience.

    And we do.

  5. Poor readers experience humiliation. The opposite of that is pride. How do we instill pride in our young people when Hubert's teaching them they're victims?

  6. It is like the anonymous poster said,there are two types but why sttle on experience when they arte the one who are scrwing up the damn place in the first place.
    In instituting ploitical change,candidates have to have plans ,dreams and promises.How else can they convince or intice voters to view them as the candidates of choice?Do we just say I am the better man and sit back and hope that they vote for us in an election?
    The poster highlights a basic problem in Anguilla and that is,we are afraid to adopt and institute a changing mentality.It been 20plus years with the same system why not give change a chance.
    If prospective candidates do not get elected,they cannot effect the change that they envisioned.We tend to settle for crapy government yet still complain about their ethics and productivity.Experience can never take presidence over honesty and integrity and that is our basic dilema that we have created for ourselves here in Anguilla.
    We the people ,arethe ones who elect these officials and we still have the power to replace them or have we forgotten that?Old political systems are sometimes difficult to replace because of the familiarity with those in power and we feel obligated to have them remain their,however,this reluctance to act in that respect is what they thrive on.These officials do not precieve that they are doing anything wrong because it has become commonplace or habitual.We they people who are affected by the misdeeds have a responsibility to ket them know of our displeasure by replacing them with other viable candidates.Thats how the democratic system should work but obviously not so on the rock.We take the easy road and re-elect those ineffective idiots woh plunder and steal our country's wealth and resourceses.

  7. Illiteracy is a key factor in the incidence of criminal behaviour. However, there is another critical factor that I have come to realise and that is the catalysis. There always seems to be someone influencing these unfortunates in our community with the idea of disenfranchisement. Usually this person or persons are eloquent speakers and spread this hate filled propaganda that is readily incorporated into the psychological make up of the individuals affected. If you can’t read how can you fully comprehend the degree of manipulation being employed against you? Once the cycle is started it is very hard to reverse. I have dealt with hundreds of delinquents who exhibit these symptoms and whose literacy level is at the bottom of the scale. Most of these individuals are incarcerated, actively involved in criminal activity or involved in gangs. In speaking with them their inability to have rational thought becomes readily apparent. Their concepts, views and opinions are formed and influenced by those of others in their circle, and they are easily manipulated. It is a vicious and pitiful system and creates a tremendous strain on the resources of any society.

    We have to strive to properly educate our society and establish effective measures to prevent the decay of our young minds.

  8. It seems we have an increasing number of candidates who can't spel, won't identify themselves and whine that we don't trust them.

  9. Excellent contribution about hate filled propaganda.

    While I agree that education is the best treatment for ignorance, we cling to the traditional Anguillian concept of forcing young people to sit in classes five days a week and learn to pass examinations. For too many of them, this old way is no longer working, and they come out of school hating education, authority, and those who did this to them.

    Not everyone dreams of being a bank teller or a money launderer or a Soldier for Christ. For the others, we need a next kind of school where learning is fun and dreams can come true.

    It will be expensive. But so will having hundreds of boys playing "Village Warlord" while we try to promote Feeling Is Believing.

  10. It seems we have an increasing number of candidates who can't spel, won't identify themselves and whine that we don't trust them,

    So states this anonymous poster but isn’t his spelling suspect too? Because a word is mispelled does not indicated that the author can't spell, it is merely a typo. It is ironic that such people lash out at spelling defects and not at the real issues at hand. This pettyness is what’s keeping Anguilla back, my brother. Instead of ridiculing others for mispelled words why not focus that energy on finding viable solutions to our current problems? Your cynicism and negativity is not needed even though you are entitled to your own opinions, you are yet to contribute anything worthwhile to this blog. Perhaps you are someone who is content in your station and are financially secure with whatever gov’t concessions you receive. This is about dialogue and discussions geared at improving life on our island and not a forum to criticize and disect a person's ability to type adequately.

    Government has a responsibility to us to establish programs that are beneficial and facilitate the sustained growth of this country. If this is not reflected in its programs then they have failed us miserably. Why is so much emphasis places on development and little is geared on the establishment of trade schools where our children ,who are not pursuing schools of higher learning, can learn a trade beneficial to them and enable them to obtain work here on the rock.

    Govt’s lack of insight to remedy this is an area of growing concern for all Anguillians including myself. If you can address that and other issues facing us it would be more useful then attacking others who are trying to contribute to an intelligent discussion.

    You will no doubt retalliate with a charade of 'whatevers' but that is to be expected.

    In this day an age it is not necessary or mandatory to expose or reveal one’s identity in order to contribute to these discussions. What is important is the ideas and information that are given. We are not in a court of law but merely in an open forum of discussion where our opinions and views are posted and where no actual retaliation can be made against us because of those views.


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