26 June, 2008

Free Cars

Free Cars. I have heard it on the radio. I have heard it on the television news. Government has given the Hon Hubert Hughes the keys to a brand new Toyota car purchased with public funds. According to the news, the Hon Edison Baird opted for the money instead as he already had a car.

I heard the debate in the House of Assembly a couple of months ago. It was said then that the government had decided that when any minister chose to go home and not to run in general elections again, he would be allowed to keep his official government car. That would be a free car purchased out of our taxes for every member of the governing party! No one in the House objected.

I understand there was a lot of disquiet on the street about this suggestion.

I am pleased to see the courageous and spirited way in which Haydn Hughes and other young persons are debating the propriety of this gift on the thread on Anguilla Talk titled "Vehicle for Mr Hubert Hughes".

I checked the Financial Audit and Administration Act. It seems to me that the Accountant General could only authorise these payments if they are sanctioned by an Appropriation Act.

Will public criticism of government ministers giving themselves private vehicles purchased with our tax dollars be stilled and calmed by their first giving all the members of the Loyal Opposition brand new cars, or their value?

Will someone tell me under what authority the Governor in Council can transfer ownership of any public property, including a government car, to a Minister?

Under what law can the government authorise the use of public funds to purchase a car for all members of the Opposition?

Can the House of Assembly ever authorise the giving away of government property without the overriding sanction of a law?

And, if they pass a law to approve a questionable transaction, does that make it any more ethical and acceptable?

It is probably the intention to introduce into the House of Assembly at some later date a Supplementary Appropriation Bill to authorise this payment from public funds. It will be interesting to see who, if anyone, in the House speaks and votes against it.


  1. What????????? They were given money if they already had a car? Wow, don't see anything wrong with this scenario! (sarcasm) Sign me up - Scotty

  2. One free car at the price given in the news would cover the replacement of the windows at Campus B, or the purchase of a heavy duty photocopier for Campus A. I d wonder about the government's priorities.

  3. Is this the same Hubert Hughes who commented, not long ago, that sheep could run Anguilla better than our present leaders?

  4. I believe this is the same Hubert Hughes who said on KOOL-FM on 19 June 2004:

    ANA is a privilege organization.
    You cannot find worse human beings.
    They are the worst people in the Caribbean.
    These are people who don't preach ethics.
    These are people who don't preach morals.
    These are people who don't preach community.

  5. It appears that we owe Hubert an apology. Today in the House of Assembly he cleared the issue up. Contrary to what the news said, he was not given a car. He was given the use of a government owned car in lieu of the travel allowance. One might object to that, but it is an entirely different matter than being given title to a car bought with public funds, which is how I had interpreted the story on the news.

    It was not only I who misunderstood. Those who have been following the story on AnguillaTalk will be aware that even Haydn misunderstood.



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