12 September, 2008


Questions for the Hon Chief Minister. Elkin has announced that the Hon Chief Minister will be on his radio talk-show, To the Point, on Monday. He may want a few back-up questions for the Chief. Looking again at the last published political manifesto of the ruling United Front political party, which the Chief Minister heads, some possible questions spring to mind. They include:

1. One of the first promises made in the document was to:

c) Re-establish good governance and excellence in the operations of the various institutions of the Government”.

Can you tell us what your government has done specifically to re-establish good governance and excellence in the various institutions of government?

Is it true that you as Minister of Immigration regularly intervene personally when the Immigration Department has ordered a foreigner who has overstayed to leave the island to change the decision?

Is it true that you as Minister of Lands intervene personally when the Land Development Control Committee and the Planning Department have made a planning decision to overrule the decision?

Does that mean that some people get a break based on their political connections, while others have to follow the rules?

Would good governance not be better provided if the rules were applied by an independent public service equally to all? Should these matters not be removed from political influence? Could you not change the law to create an independent Planning Appeals Board and an Immigration Appeals Tribunal to handle such matters?

2. Another promise was to:

f) Increase the degree of transparency, openness and accountability to the people of Anguilla’.

Can you show us how there is more transparency now than under the previous Hubert Hughes Administration?

In what way is government more open now?

What steps have you taken to increase accountability to the people of Anguilla?

We who live in Anguilla believe that government continues, as it has always been, to have its foundations in secrecy. Our system of government is based on who is related to whom, and who owes whom a favour. Anguilla is a classic example of having a government of men, not of law. Anguilla falls politically and sociologically into the class of “frontier society”. That is the polite way of saying that we are a typical “third-world" country. No high standards of governance are expected from the leadership of such a country.

So, it would be interesting to hear if the Chief Minister can point to any improvement his administration has made to our long-standing system of poor government.

Or, is it just that I am being naive in expecting better from the United Front government, and that everyone knows that manifestos are designed and published to help win an election, and they are not intended to make any meaningful or serious promises?


  1. I think this the same manifesto in which they promised us they would focus on:

    "1. Keeping the price of electricity affordable."


    "2. Promotion of alternative energy solutions to Anguilla's energy needs"

    But now they're telling us that Anglec is a private company so they got nuttin to do wid dat. So how come they made these promises?


    "We who live in Anguilla believe that government continues, as it always have , to have its foundations in secrecy". - (3rd paragraph from the end of original post).

    This comment is misleading and therefore needs clarification.

    The alleged "secrecy" is conducted in the Executive Council. The Chairman of the Executive Council is an Englishman appointed from England by the British Government/Foreign Office to represent Her Majesty The Queen. Seated next to the Governor are the British appointed Deputy Governor and the British appointed Attorney-General. The Chief Minister and three other elected representatives from the ruling political party complete the Executive Council. It is therefore obvious, that there are no "secrets" at all. This is the system of Government which the British gave to Anguilla. We did not write the Constitution.

    It is clear (when the truth is told) , that what Anguilla is and has always been is a "frontier" for "first world" democracy. But Mr. Mitchell would not know that, he is a relative newcomer who is not familiar with the real history of the bravery, the struggles against all odds, the sheer grit and determination of Anguillians and our love for the “rock” we call home.

    That is one of the reasons why Anguillians want full internal self-government. . Then we will know who is REALLY to blame for any "bad governance" in Anguilla and whether it is the Chairman of the Executive Council, the British foreign office manderins or our own competent or incompetent elected representatives who are responsible for any blunders (or willful stumbling blocks) in Anguilla’s march to freedom , self-determination and nationhood. The saying is correct- too many cooks spoil the broth. Anguillians believe that the British are putting too much “ salt” (and God knows what else) when they should be putting “sugar” in “the soup”. Mr. Mitchell wants to put more “pepper” in “the soup”.

    WE have a nation to build and a country to mould and as you say, “we” live in Anguilla.. We would like to continue living in a society of freedom, fairness, justice and equality for all, and that will not be achieved by you and the Chief Minister bashing each other over the heads. When elephants fight the grass suffers and the dog runs away with the bone.

    Get over yourself Mr. Mitchell.
    Anguilla is bigger than you, and the Chief Minister.
    WE need to tighten a few nuts and bolts here and there, to increase transparency and strengthen our democracy, but Anguilla is truly a wonderful place to live and Anguillians are a uniquely blessed people. Let us move forward in unity to build a better Anguilla for ALL . We can only do this with one love, one hope, one destiny!

    Signed : An Annoyed Friend

  3. The alleged secrecy is conducted almost everywhere in government, not just in ExCo. It may have started as a British idea but nobody forced it on us or makes us continue. It continues today because of the arrogance of our own Anguillian elected leaders, and I don't like it.

    Calling for people to work together is like another tiresome Nat Hodge editorial. Unfortunately, it's more complex than everyone saying, "Oh, goodness, what a nice idea--let's all work together!" This is Anguilla, not some fairy tale, and the devil is in the details. How do two people work together when, for example, one thinks the other is dishonest?

    You can't put a fowl and a cat in the same roost.

  4. I have read your post. My question is dont you think that all govermnents work this way (who you know)only that Anguilla is small and it is more noticed here?

  5. Yes, all governments everywhere work on the basis of who you know. And to a certain degree, it's not all bad. Let's say I know Mechanic A and he does good work. I've heard of Mechanic B and he's a thief. Who should I hire to fix my car?

    Other aspects of "who you know," of course, are simply corruption. I hire Mechanic B because he adds 10% to his bill and gives it back to me in cash.

    The system has its faults but all the other systems in other countries are even worse, so the real questions is how we can make the best of it.

    The United Front already knows how to do it. On page 2 of their 2005 Manifesto, they say they are committed to and guided by the need for 12 guiding values. Number 2 reads, in all caps:


    Remember, this is the same Chief Minister who told Elkin we don't need Freedom of Information legislation because you and I can say anything we want on the radio.

  6. So now you are blaming the Chief Minister for not passing laws? I suppose you also expect him to draft it?

    The Attorney General is the "Minister of Legal Affairs". He is also the Law Commissioner. Have a talk with him and the Governor.

  7. Mitch has a point.

    A chief minister does not pass laws. He tells the AG or one of his ministers to take the law to the HOuse of Assembly. They pass the law.

    A chief minister does not draft laws. He tells his attorney general to draft it. I never heard of an attorney general who drafted politiclally important laws without being told to do so.

  8. Maybe that is why the Attorney General should not not also be THE LAW COMMISSIONER and why there should be a LAW COMMISSION .


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