09 February, 2008


What Does Full Internal Self-Government Really Mean? There are those who believe that it has to do with replacing the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with our elected ministers. Those of you who read the blog regularly will know that I do not subscribe to such a simplistic theory. If that is what the meaning is, then I want to have nothing to do with it. Those British live far from us, and do not impinge on our liberties. At least, they do not do it much and they do not do it every day. Our elected officials are charged with charting our course and setting policies and programmes for the safe and controlled growth of our country in the future. They have their weaknesses and their faults. We see it every day. They live right here in our back yards. Every little weakness and fault immediately impacts on us. We well know the disaster that awaits us when we give them the discretion to issue licences and permits of every kind to whoever influences them the most. This is not just the dolphin circus. It includes dealing with some very unsavory characters over the years.

So, it was with much satisfaction that I read this comment sent to me by a correspondent, graphics included, a few minutes ago.

Full internal self-government does not only mean excluding the Governor from Cabinet. It also means:

1. Ministers having to expose their workings more to the people;

2. an independent Civil Service Commission, and Police Service Commission taking the place of the Governor’s discretion;

3. having a Freedom of Information Act so people can find out more easily what is going on;

4. putting in place anti-corruption and integrity legislation and institutions;

5. having an Ombudsman to help the people get justice when the administration behaves improperly;

6. making Cabinet meetings generally open to the public;

7. prohibiting sale of government land without a resolution of the House of Assembly;

8. making the Planning Committee independent of Ministerial over-rule, but with provisions for the citizen to appeal unreasonable decisions to an appeal tribunal and to the court;

9. entrenching the grant of work permits and Belonger certificates in professional boards and tribunals, and not subject to political influence.

I could not agree more, so far as they go. But, I believe we could add a whole litany of other essential constitutional ingredients if we are to live freely and prosperously with full internal self-government. The Chief Minister’s committee meets this Friday coming to discuss the way forward in dealing with the British government. Though he has sued me, I assume I am still a member of the committee. Until he dismisses me from his committee, I shall stay there, attending all meetings, and urging that these essentials be included in any new Constitutional proposals that we negotiate with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


  1. I just hope and pray that your voice of truth is not censored.
    You have been the best thing that ever happened to Anguilla.
    Sadly, I am afraid not enough Anguillians appreciate your efforts.
    Rest assured there are plenty of us out there who do.
    Best of luck to you,

  2. Thank you for the kudos, Pepper. But, can I ask that it stops there. No more, please.

    I want to hear from Anguillians what we think "full internal self-government" means to us. What do we want from the new Constitution?


  3. I want a government that is just and fair to all of us. This is more important to me than where the people who make the decisions were born or what colour they are. These are matters of pride. Pride is nice, but I believe justice is of greater importance.

    I'm pleased that an Anguillian is running the public service. I believe Stanley Reid is a man of integrity. But he won't live forever, and I am concerned about who may come after him and what the people will be able to do if his successor is a person of less integrity.

    In St. Helena the Deputy Governor is called the Chief Secretary. A new one was appointed in October. His arrogance and superior attitude made him immediately unpopular. He was fired last week. The FCO usually supports their man. It takes a whole lot to get fired from a post. The Saints were lucky this time. He did a lot of damage in three months but he could have been there for three years. And their constitution allows them absolutely no say when something like that happens. They would be victims of their own constitution. I don't want Anguillians to be victims of this new constitution the CM's committee is considering. And I look to you, Don, to protect us.

    And so the constitution and the laws and the regulations that today are a whole pile of really tiresome stuff may be very important to us next year or in the next generation.

    Sometimes we need a neutral person who doesn't have any cousins in Anguilla to make certain decisions. In some cases, a Governor is the perfect person for that. I am reluctant to change such things unless you, Don, can assure us that they will result in an Anguilla that is more fair and more just.

  4. The constituiton is a serious matter,but it is obvous that not alot pf emphasis is placed on it, except a few persevering person who wants to make a difference.One thing for sure is that I am very sad for Anguilla.SAD SAD SAD.

  5. Unfortunately even the Governor, under the present Constitution, is not "the perfect person". The crucial need is to have a Constitution with every one of the protections so well summarised on this blog. Any attempts by the Government to assume yet more powers without accountability or checks and balances should be resisted to the last ditch.

    Don is indeed THE voice crying in the wilderness. Let us pray that more and more Anguillians will recognise the wisdom of what he is fighting for and make their voices heard.

  6. "The perfect person" was crucified 2000 years ago and unless he reach back soon we may have to make some compromises in our revised constitution.

  7. I would vote without hesitation for any politician who could show a realistic detailed plan of how they would put into effect a new constitution using the points made in your blog.

    Course I would also like a governemtn that cares more about our children and the environment.

    Thats not a lot to ask...is it?

  8. Revisions, of any constitution, are to be carefully thought out before we embark on these changes.

    We, here in Anguilla, are too complacent in our attitudes and daily lives, such that we seem not to invest the time needed into actively participating in such a critical process as constitutional amendment. We lament and becry the antics of the Gov't and its ministers but shun the opportunity to assist in creating or drafting policy that would regulate or control their actions. Mr Mitchell, God bless his soul, is a vigorous advocate of such change but despite his valliant efforts, we as a people are so absorbed in our own personal affairs that we are allowing this golden opportunity to pass.

    What would be the advantages of having full internal self gov't if our constitution is deficient in terms of critical regulation? We will be no better off than we are now. Our cry, for this change of status, is premature at best if we can not work together responsibly draft to the necessary and critical policy within our very own constitution. Such safeguards are essential to the presevation of our rights and liberties.

    It is therefore imperative that we embark on a vigorous campaign to educate all Anguillians of this important issue, utilizing all media outlets available. It is only with full public awareness can we hope to enlighten our people who are suffering from ignorance and nonchalance. Our people are allowing themselves to remain enslaved to a corrupt political system because they are reluctant to get involved or read the current issues being proposed or debated.

  9. Planning and Work Permits are part of Governmental Policy and must be administered by the Government. they are after all, anwerable to the people.


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