27 January, 2008


Illegal Exploitation by Anguillians of Cheap Foreign Labour. So, what’s the latest scam in Anguilla? Come on! If you do not give me the information, I cannot be expected to go and ferret it all out by myself. There must be lots of interesting scams going on in Anguilla right now.

I mean, in addition to the contractors who go down to West End every Sunday before dawn and fill their pick-up vans with Chinese labourers from the Ashtrom project. The activity is done out in the open, even if admittedly a little early in the morning. No one from Immigration does a thing to stop them. You don’t believe me that any Anguillian contractor could be so greedy and careless? Why not do like I did? Stand at the intersection of the road to Great House Hotel and the South Hill Main Road for half an hour early on a Sunday morning. I was on my exercise walk at about 7:00 am. You don’t have to torture yourself like me. Just stand there for a half hour. I saw seven contractors’ pick-ups pass me filled with Chinese. They seemed to be in a hurry. The Chinese were laughing and looking around them. Some even made a feeble attempt to hide behind the doors of the pick-up. That was difficult to manage with six of them squeezed in the cabin. Mostly, they just looked happy. Happy to be out and about and earning some real money.

I checked with one of my contractor friends. This illegal practice has been going on for months now. The Chinese are paid US$60.00 for the one day’s work. The contractor charges the owner of the house he is building the usual US$100.00 to US$150.00 per worker per day for supplying such expert labour, and on a Sunday. And, they are expert labour. I am told that they do in that one day, Sunday, working from dawn to dusk, as much work as the average West Indian worker would do in a week. I feel bad about writing this. They are so earnest and so hard working, and so deserving of their pay. Working four Sundays a month they take home as much as they earn working for Ashtrom six days a week for the entire month.

But, should our sympathy for the plight of the Chinese allow this illegal activity to continue? Should we allow these contractors to flout the law with impunity? These Chinese may be here in Anguilla legally to work for Ashtrom. But, they are not permitted to work on outside jobs. If we say nothing, when the next contractor starts importing cheap illegal labour to be able to compete, what are we going to tell him? When you and I start employing our own personal illegal cheap labour, who will be the first to get prosecuted? Is it that we don’t care if we turn into another St Maarten development madhouse?

Has somebody been paid off?

Where are the ethics in all this confusion? Who is in charge here? Do our laws mean nothing? Come on, tell me what is going on!


  1. Is there a fine for employing an illegal worker?

    Is there a fine levied againstthe company that imports labourers en masse and then turns a blind eye to them working elsewhere?

    Does the worker get sent home because he broke the conditions of his permit?

    What does the Labour Office say about this??

    Enquiring minds want to know!

  2. I don't think anyone is being paid off, Don, you have too much of a conspiratorial mind. You give politicians too much credit. If you check where they work you will find them building a wall at an immigration officials home, that is the simple explanation. It will be across the board anyhow, as there aren't enough qualified Anguillians now in most sectors. The other day I wen't to lunch at a restaurant and there weren't even any belongers working there.
    It is how things will get, and a necessity in a country where labor is in short supply, and where many Anguillans work 2-3 jobs.

  3. OK, let's all attack these evil foreigners for coming here and taking our jobs away from us. For example, two recent posts on another forum:

    "Its true, everywhere you go all you can hear is all these different accents in your ears in it just getting worst everyday yuh seeing a new spanird in the quarter r a new dominican talking in dem own language anguilla is for anguillians all these aliens coming into 'our' land and running it down...."

    'Jamaicans are the worst. I really can't stand those people around me; very sneaky and untrustworthy - not all but most "

  4. Does anyone know what happen to the immigration officer they caught asking sex and groceries in exchange for residence stamps in passports for Chinese grocery workers last year? I know they stretched at the department, and need to keep all the officers they can.

    Did he get fire, or is it like the good friend of the commissioner caught taking groceries from the shop without paying at Christmas? The owners said they did not want to prosecute. So, she is still at force headquarters smiling and talking good.

  5. In response to the person above who referred to attacking "illegal foreigners", I would have to concur to an extent, immigrants should be treated with respect, but they should also work within the bounds of the law - As a nation we have the right to determine what foreigners are allowed to do in our country, and while we should be fair, we cannot compromise on our position. If they want to work outside of Astrom, they will simply have to file for work permits like everybody else.

  6. Well, well I see everyone is in an uproar about the foreigners here in Anguilla but we seem to conveniently forget that we were once illegals in other people's countries before we became the expanding and booming country that we are. Remember the days of evading the immigration in St. Thomas or overstaying there? We were not different than they are now, trying to make a living under difficult conditions. While it is true what they are doing is against the law, are we so prejudiced that we cannot empathize with them? Most people I know have a side hustle and sometimes it is not always ethical or legal. In that instance then, should we begin to prosecute and arrest them all? We should not discriminate against them because of the origins nor be so hypocritical.

    What needs to be done is to alert the proper authorities and let them enforce the laws fairly. In reference to the business persons who employ them without the necessary documentation then it is the governmental agency’s duty to investigate and enforce whatever laws or regulations are violated.

    Whenever there is rapid growth or development in any relatively small populated region there will be a mass migration of people to that area to meet the increased demand for a greater labour force. Small communities such as Anguilla cannot supply the labour force necessary to meet the sudden demand, thus the importation of labour. When this happens it creates a sense of resentment where the locals perceive these outsiders as responsible for taking jobs that they might well have gotten. However, this is not true because if it were not for their help our economic boom would be non exsistent. We are no different than any other country where the people are overwhelmed by the rapid growth and have not quite adjusted to the ramifications of it all. All in all, we will be okay once we realise that the foreigners are here to help our situation not create one. Our only recourse is to better equip our youth and people with the necessary knowledge and skills to compete.

  7. Contractors are allowed to get away with nonesense like loaning out over-worked and underpaid employees on Sundays because the GOA allows developers to hire those contractors who engage in that sort of activity. This occurs all over the Caribbean and it is less than amusing to watch in Anguilla. The only way to mend this issue is to tighten regulations on developers with respect to contract award via the MOA language. In addition, business licenses of contractors allowing this activity to go on should be pulled and asked to discontinue operations immediately, or, at least a simple warning/punishment system should be implemented. In the current world market there are many experienced and resource heavy contractors that can perform large projects and can cooperate with local guidlines and regulations. These contractors cost more money because they bring more exerienced people to the table. It is these experienced people that will facilitate resourcing local and foreign labour sources and comply with the dynamic needs of a developing country like Anguilla. Contractors of this size don't make their money by loaning out labour on Sundays and are served by preventing such a pratice. However, the obstacle is clearly forcing a developer to accept 45% on his investment instead of 55%.

    All of this can be done to promote good order, and the contractors will acutally be able to complete the work in a timely manner all while maintaining the claimed Anguillian standards of luxury which are not currently being met on any large project.

  8. As I have said before Anguilla is in a state of constant change and as such we desperately need to formulate policy and regulations to deal effectively with these changes.Ofcourse we cannot foresee or predict every contingency but at least we can implement safe guards to prohibit or restrict this abhorent behaviour.It is rules and standards that create order in society and despite our protests they need to be there.Anguilla has gone for too long with its people doing whatever they please and hwneever they please.There will be a great oppositoin to any change that disrupts this apparent normal behaviour,however, we have to make this adjustment and learn to deal with it.In this day and age our freedom have to be curtailed and not allowed to run rampant as it did in the old glory days.Responsibilty and civility is what is required nowadays and not irresponsibility and chaos.
    It is then therefore essential that we correct this and we can only accomplish by amending our constitution and our laws or statutes.We need to tap into our legal scholars and involve them into drafting appropriate legislation and assist in amending our constitution to keep up to date with our ever changing situation.

  9. A friend recently went to Grenada. The Gov't there, under pressure to be ready for the Cricket World Cup, signed a deal with the Chinese Gov't who provided considerable funding and/or labour for building the stadium etc. So far, so good for Grenada.

    Now, long time after World Cup finish, the Chinese workers are still there and still working. Maybe it was an unspoken understanding between the Chinese and Grenada Gov'ts that theirs would be a one-way ticket. They are underbidding local contractors with the result that there is a lot of resentment from less-than-fully-employed labourers, masons, etc.

    Is this going to happen to Anguilla?

  10. My point exactly thats why we need to establish our policies and regulations to prevent the samething from happening here.Without regulations in place these corporations and businesses will exploit us because they employ savy lawyers who take advantage of every loop hole in the law to benefit them.We are in a unique situation in that we are in a position to observe and learn from the mistakes other countries have made ,however,it seems as if we are not taking advantage of their experiences.
    What is the matter with us?

  11. After they have finished working on the current projects, we should not be surprised if the next stream of construction (Conch Bay, Rendezvous, Shoal Bay) hires these Asian workers; then the next stream of hotels after them; etc.

    It could well be that they will still be here and applying for belongership in 15 years' time.

  12. I've been trying to find out more info on the Anguilla Fair Labour Standards Act. Does anybody have a link to it online? If not, where can one find a copy? Thank you.

  13. the local tradesmen should start a trades school and teach the local younger men and women how to build
    and design buildings and then organize a trade union or vice a versa. then as a group they can vote io or out of office the people that do not conform to the islands standerdsand also that they negotiate with the contractors and government for wages and benifits knowledge is power organize organize organize
    do it for your families and their future www.aflcio.com


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