04 September, 2009


Governor Writes Speaker Agreeing to House of Assembly Debate on Motion to Borrow. The Speaker read out a letter from the Governor indicating that he did not object to the debate on the motions to borrow some $60 million, but that it was still up to London whether they agreed. The debate today went ahead. No constitutional crisis there, and the speeches went ahead along predictable lines.

It would appear that what some persons have been saying all along may be right. The British have no objection to Anguilla borrowing money to get us over the present financial crisis. Nor do they have any objection to Cayman Islands increasing its borrowing. They only object to us going to London completely unprepared to explain how we are going to pay back any borrowing. Especially, when we are giving away large chunks of existing revenue.

The big crisis the Chief Minister and Minister of Finance told us to expect at the press conference on Tuesday appears to be a non-issue. This is what the Chief said then, among other things:

If when we go to the House of Assembly on Friday to borrow the EC$49 million... we have asked the Governor to send this to London immediately. If London comes back and say no... that is when the showdown will come. I told the Governor if they (British government) says no to it tell them to come for their country... because how are we going to pay civil servants at the end of October, where are we going to get money from?" Fleming said.

The government leader said if there is no approval by the British government, once his administration can find an institution that will give us the money "we borrow the money, let them do what they want to do, they can arrest us, no problem."

It was all apparently a smoke screen to cover up our incompetence in having gone to London last month completely unprepared, resulting in an embarrassing British refusal to permit us to increase our borrowing. What I draw from the debate in the House of Assembly today is that the planned borrowing is necessary to get us through the year. It is not likely the British would have disagreed with that conclusion. It was just that, when we made the application to change the borrowing guidelines, we had no convincing explanation how we intended to pay off any additional borrowing.

All the posturing by our Ministers was just for show. Hopefully, they have spent the time preparing to make a proper presentation. Expect to hear about new travel plans in the next couple of weeks at the latest. If I am wrong and, despite all the last-minute preparation and improved presentation, our application to borrow more is refused, at least we will get to blame the evil British for all the consequences.

Both the Chief Minister and the Minister of Finance complained that the Opposition made no substantial suggestions during the debate for correcting the present deficit in income over expenditure. With humility, these are some personal suggestions for increasing Anguilla’s revenue in this time of financial crisis:

- Collect property tax from all the 1,000’s of householders who refuse to pay it;

- Disconnect the 100's - or maybe 1,000's - of illegal water connections;

- Hire an animal control officer, enforce dog licenses;

- Ticket every driver with no car-seat for child;

double for child in front seat;

triple for child standing on front seat;

and four times for kid sitting on driver’s lap steering the car!

- On the spot fines for speeding – or car gets towed;

ditto littering (if no car, impound something else);

ditto untethered goats and other farm animals;

- Enact and enforce seatbelt laws;

ditto use of cellphones while driving;

- Enforce noise and environmental pollution fines;

- Legalise marijuana use [preferred by all Anguillian youths above the age of 13], and tax it like cigarettes.

Maybe now, after having had a further month to prepare ourselves properly, and including the above suggestions, we will go back to London with a more professional presentation.

Once we have such a clearly thought out plan to repay any borrowing, I do not expect any objections from London.

One last immortal thought:

"It's like a blocked toilet. You have to flush all the shit out to get it working properly again." --Gary Lightbourne, Michael Misick's former bodyguard


  1. What? You need a dog *license*?

    There goes The LIbertarian Paradise.

    Seriously, Don, two words for you to reflect on when you crash after your apoplexy binge: Laffer Curve.

    And now, at a time like this, The Sage of Baltiore, H.L. Mencken, is particularly appropriate:

    "...every election is a sort of advance auction of stolen goods."

    "All government is, in its essence, organized exploitation, and in
    virtually all of its existing forms it is the implacable enemy of every
    industrious and well-disposed man."

    "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want
    and deserve to get it good and hard."

    And, finally, for all Nanny Statists everywhere:

    "The New Deal began, like the Salvation Army, by promising to save humanity. It ended, again like the Salvation Army, by running flophouses and disturbing the peace."

  2. Ditto for road safety and enforce it.
    Add to it inspections, with headlights adjusted from right hand drive to left hand drive. Fine drivers with high beams on, tailgater's, speeders, drunks.

  3. Former president of Brazil says hardline war on drugs 'has failed'

    Fernando Henrique Cardoso urges global decriminalisation of cannabis use

    • Gaby Hinsliff, political editor
    • The Observer, Sunday 6 September 2009

    The war on drugs has failed and should make way for a global shift towards decriminalising cannabis use and promoting harm reduction, says the former president of Brazil, writing today in the Observer. Fernando Henrique Cardoso argues that the hardline approach has brought "disastrous" consequences for Latin America, which has been the frontline in the war on drug cultivation for decades, while failing to change the continent's position as the largest exporter of cocaine and marijuana.

    His intervention, which will reignite growing debate in Europe about how to tackle drugs, was welcomed yesterday by campaigners for drug law reform who increasingly see the impact on developing countries where drugs are produced as critical to the argument.

    "After decades of overflights, interdictions, spraying and raids on jungle drug factories, Latin America remains the world's largest exporter of cocaine and marijuana," Cardoso writes. "It is producing more and more opium and heroin. It is developing the capacity to mass produce synthetic drugs. Continuing the drugs war with more of the same is ludicrous."

    Cardoso, a sociologist, said Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador had all now taken steps towards drug law liberalisation and that change was "imminent" in Brazil. The way forward worldwide would involve a "strategy of reaching out, patiently and persistently, to the users and not the continued waging of a misguided and counterproductive war that makes the users, rather than the drug lords, the primary victims," he added.

    The article

  4. Chief Minister Osbourne Fleming has announced that he will be convening a meeting to discuss the nation's financial and economic status in light of the current global financial crisis.

    The meeting will be held at the Teachers' resource center today, Tuesday 6th September starting at 5:00pm.

    Fleming said the entire business community, members of the House of Assembly, political party leaders and members, and all concerned citizens , are invited to attend and participate in the discussions.

    The Chief Minister said he and his colleagues are encouraging a high level of participation as they strive to keep an open channel with the private sector.


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